On the Minimal Recognition of Rights in Holonic Institutions
In one aspect of her study of collective action, Ostrom proposed eight design principles for the supply of institutions for sustainable common-pool resource management. Computational logic has been used to formalise an executable specification of six of these principles for resource allocation in open multi-agent systems and networks. However, the eighth principle, nested enterprises, is structural rather than procedural, and the seventh principle, minimal recognition of rights, concerns a critical relationship between the components of that structure – not just the right to self-organise, but essentially enough (i.e. minimal) rights to self-organise. In previous work, the idea of holonic institutions has been proposed to satisfy the requirement of polycentric self-governance in complex systems of nested enterprises. This paper investigates the axiomatic specification of Ostrom’s seventh principle as a constraint on the holonic structure and sketches a testbed prototype, as a prelude to a more systematic investigation into values, conflict resolution and the trade-off between rights and powers in holonic institutions.
KeywordsElectronic institutions Holonic architectures Self-organisation Rights Powers Conflict resolution
The authors would particularly like to thank Pompeu Casanovas for conversations which have significantly helped to clarify numerous issues in rights and powers, but any persistent misunderstandings are our own. We are also very grateful for the many helpful comments of the anonymous reviewers.
The first author has been partially supported by the UK EPSRC Grand Challenge project No. EP/I031650/1 The Autonomic Power System.
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