Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Tragedy Of The Commons

The Tragedy of the Commons (Garrett Hardin) is that when no one owns a resource the maintenance of that resource is an externality instead of a source of future profits.

Inspired by this article and comments at The Reference Frame.


Anonymous said...

The root of the Tragedy of the Commons is that people think they own anything at all that is derived from the Commons. This leads to prioritizing of things that can be bought and sold until the people themselves are bought and sold, managed, overfed and overbred until their only recourse is to follow the flow of the massive herd into the Maw of Consumption.
Then their basic needs are sold to them: on credit, with interest, indenturing their offspring in perpetuity to the System of Systems.

LarryD said...

anonymous sounds like a postmodern Marxist.

Simon's description is correct, normally the only way out is to breakup the Commons into chunks that are owned (in some sense) by individuals, families, or organizations that will then see them as a resource that needs to be taken care of. Arguably, this is the origin of territoriality in many species, to prevent over exploitation of land (over hunting, over grazing, etc.). In such cases, the maintenance is simply to avoid over exploitation.