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Opportunity, Diversity, and Complexity

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ostrom, Vincent
Date: 1985
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/3674
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): Workshop
political science--theory
social organization--theory
Abstract: From pages 1-2: "Any particular joint effort depends upon the ordering of human relationships with reference to rules that apply to discrete individuals with reference to particular time and place variables. Each association is in some sense a polity that orders relationships with reference to mutual understandings that take account of discrete contingencies. Each association is nested into other configurations of associated relationships so that human actions are coordinated through time and space relationships that have reference to societies as larger aggregate structures of social relationships. Hypothetically, it is possible to conceptualize, aggregate, and disaggregate these relationships in many different ways. Some ways of doing so distinguish economic and political relationships. How such relationships might be distinguished turns upon the criteria used. One criterion, commonly used, is to conceptualize the economic realm where relationships are organized by reference to prices expressed in monetary terms where money is used as a medium of exchange. Government, then, comes to be identified with the provision of goods and services that are not subject to exchange relationships. Economic relationships then implicitly refer to market structures where governmental and other forms of organization have reference to nonmarket structures."

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