Tragedy of the Commons. Hardin

If you’ve never read Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” (1968), let me recommend it as worth having under your belt. (6 pages)

Roughly, Hardin describes how rational individuals acting in their own self interests will deplete a shared resource at the expense of a collective’s interests. Hence a hurdle to collective action problems, of which we have many.

In case you don’t know, though you’ll have probably guessed right, the commons originally referred to land held and managed by communities in common. The community pasture, a pasture where local farmers are free to allow their livestock to graze, is a classic example. The commons have since come to refer to other shared resources, such as fisheries and even culture.

Categories: Thoughtlets

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