chapter  3
Subsidiarity
Pages 12

A greener economy must achieve a balance between social provision and safeguarding the environment. This can be done most effectively by humanscale communities where the give and take required can be brokered face to face. The winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences 2009, Elinor Ostrom (2009), champions this approach in her work on economic governance, particularly with regard to the commons. This logic leads to the principle of subsidiarity, in which the control of human affairs ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. This principle is contained in many constitutions around the world, including the United States Constitution1 and in the founding treaty of the EU. Article 5 of the preamble to the Treaty on European Union (EU 2008a) states that ‘decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity’.