tragedy of the commons love

tragedy of the commons


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun economics, politics, social criticism A situation or type of situation in which a shared resource that has no owner (such as the atmosphere or an ocean) is used in an unmanaged way by a number of participants, resulting in the unintended ruin or total consumption of that resource; the theory that situations of this type are a serious social problem.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Reportedly coined in 1968 by U.S. ecologist Garrett Hardin.


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  • A concept popularized in recent years by a great 1968 essay in Science. An excerpt:

    "The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy."

    The full article is available here and well worth reading.

    October 22, 2007

  • A good argument for libertarianism. :-)

    October 23, 2007

  • U, don't you consider the back of a cereal box a good argument for libertarianism? ;-)

    October 23, 2007

  • Yes. Uh, yes indeed. You caught me. :-P

    October 23, 2007

  • You took the words right out of my fingers, John. ;-)

    October 23, 2007