Review: Actual World, Possible Future

I saw a preview of this documentary on the lives and works of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom in 2019. It aired on PBS in 2020 (watch at the link).

The documentary traces their careers from early days (Lin being denied entry into UCLA’s PhD program because she was a woman; Vincent participating in early city planning), to their move to Indiana U, where they set up the Workshop as a means of avoiding disciplinary silos, to Lin’s “discovery” (or recognition) of the commons as an area of effective action, to their joint development of the Institutional Analysis and Design Framework and Policentricity.

I learned a lot about the evolution of their thought in this documentary. I also was charmed by their enduring decency, curiosity and love for each other (they died within three weeks of each other in 2021, after nearly 50 years of marriage).

I strongly recommend this movie. FIVE STARS.


Here are all my reviews.

Author: David Zetland

I'm a political-economist from California who now lives in Amsterdam.

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