Partelow, Stefan ORCID:, Abson, D.J., Schlüter, Achim ORCID:, Fernandez-Gimenez, M, von Wehrden, H and Collier, N (2019) Privatizing the commons: New approaches need broader evaluative criteria for sustainability. International Journal of the Commons, 13 (1). pp. 747-776. DOI

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Privatization is, since Hardin, often promoted as a solution to many
natural resource management challenges, particularly in common-pool resource
systems. However, novel forms of privatization are being implemented in unexamined
ways. In this article we explore how privatization affects natural resource
management from the perspective of multi-dimensional social-ecological systems.
We critique the notion that privatization is desirable due to its pure efficiency,
and argue that efficiency must be relative to achieving other normative
societal goals, in particular, sustainability. While sustainability outcomes often
cannot be fully actualized, the processes through which privatization attempts to
achieve them are more tangible criteria. First, we draw on (1) distributional and (2) procedural justice as normative societal goals to assess effectiveness of different
forms of privatization. Second, we analyze the broader implications of privatization
for social-ecological system functioning considering (3) path dependency
and (4) spillover effects. We apply these four concepts to examine three different
cases of privatization: eco-certification in fisheries, seed patents in agriculture
and property rights in rangelands. We argue that the evaluative criteria for the
success of privatization are often oversimplified, and highlight how privatization
can influence social-ecological systems and the achievement of normative goals
in largely unexamined ways.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Social Sciences > Institutional and Behavioural Economics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 1875-0281
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 11:54
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:58

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