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Tragedy of the commons Essay

Tragedy of the Commons Essay

❶Another strategic factor is the ability to build up reputations. Much research has focused on when and why people would like to structurally rearrange the commons to prevent a tragedy.

What Shall We Maximize?

Essay: Tragedy of the Commons
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As a result of the mining of oil which at times is done at sea, has spilled to the ocean as a result of negligence. Garrett Hardin did a study of this and he found out that technical solutions to this problems and that the tragedy is inevitable. So he defined a technical solution as one that requires verly little or no change.

That is the only solution is privatizing the activities since if left to the commoners, they will not be able to take control Hardin Milton Friedman and Elinor Ostrom are some of the scholars who opposed the tragedy of the commons by Garrett Hardin by proving that the common people can be responsible of the resources available, other than privatization. In her case Ostrom has documented how various communities manage common resources, irrigation waters, fisheries equitably and sustainably over the long term.

Milton Friedman advocated for unrestricted markets where there is freedom for the common people. These two scholars would offer different solutions to the population problem, instead of trying to fight the increasing population they would embrace it and look for solutions which would even work in future thus saving time which would have been spent to look for further solutions Hardin If the privatization continues, the common people tend to be rebellious to authority and will continually oppose and feel degraded.

First condition involves nature of the resource itself. One must distinguish between a public good and a commons or a common-pool resource CPR.

Knowing the conditions that lead to a tragedy does not ensure that one can avoid it. The nature of a resource is fixed. While one can limit withdrawal of resource units to a sustainable rate for renewable and a repairable rate for those that physically deteriorate, a subtractable resource cannot ne made non-subtractable. Managing access involves complex task of excluding others from using the resource.

Thus, averting a tragedy involves restraining consumption and access. Such restraint poses a significant but not intractable, behavioural challenge. The focus of research shifted from exploring conditions under which a tragedy is likely to occur to understanding the conditions under which resilient resource management emerges.

All users benefit from maintenance of a public resource. To solve environmental problems, we have to find ways to encourage formation of self-organized CPR institutions.

This is a form of muddling that emphasizes not small steps but small experiments. It offers a way of exploring possible solutions thus avoiding sluggishness which plagues one-solution-at-a-time approaches.

People are empowered to apply local knowledge to a situation. Different people applying different knowledge to same situation creates a variety of potential solutions. Enhanced and diverse creativity is needed. Adaptive muddling contains a stability component that not only reduces costs of failure for individuals but also makes improbable any unchecked change and widespread implementation of untested solutions.

However one crafts workable CPR management institutions, urgency of the task is clear. For, while tragedy of the commons is not an inevitable outcome, it is a conceivable risk whenever resources are being consumed. Tragedy of the commons. Accessed September 14, We will write a custom essay sample on Tragedy of the commons specifically for you. Leave your email and we will send you an example after 24 hours If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less.

Fremlin has so wittily shown 4. The arithmetic signs in the analysis are, as it were, reversed; but Bentham's goal is still unobtainable. The optimum population is, then, less than the maximum. The difficulty of defining the optimum is enormous; so far as I know, no one has seriously tackled this problem. Reaching an acceptable and stable solution will surely require more than one generation of hard analytical work--and much persuasion. We want the maximum good per person; but what is good?

To one person it is wilderness, to another it is ski lodges for thousands. To one it is estuaries to nourish ducks for hunters to shoot; to another it is factory land. Comparing one good with another is, we usually say, impossible because goods are incommensurable.

Incommensurables cannot be compared. Theoretically this may be true; but in real life incommensurables are commensurable. Only a criterion of judgment and a system of weighting are needed.

In nature the criterion is survival. Is it better for a species to be small and hideable, or large and powerful? Natural selection commensurates the incommensurables. The compromise achieved depends on a natural weighting of the values of the variables.

Man must imitate this process. There is no doubt that in fact he already does, but unconsciously. It is when the hidden decisions are made explicit that the arguments begin. The problem for the years ahead is to work out an acceptable theory of weighting. Synergistic effects, nonlinear variation, and difficulties in discounting the future make the intellectual problem difficult, but not in principle insoluble. Has any cultural group solved this practical problem at the present time, even on an intuitive level?

One simple fact proves that none has: Any people that has intuitively identified its optimum point will soon reach it, after which its growth rate becomes and remains zero. Of course, a positive growth rate might be taken as evidence that a population is below its optimum.

However, by any reasonable standards, the most rapidly growing populations on earth today are in general the most miserable. This association which need not be invariable casts doubt on the optimistic assumption that the positive growth rate of a population is evidence that it has yet to reach its optimum. We can make little progress in working toward optimum population size until we explicitly exorcize the spirit of Adam Smith in the field of practical demography.

In economic affairs, The Wealth of Nations popularized the "invisible hand," the idea that an individual who "intends only his own gain," is, as it were, "led by an invisible hand to promote.

Adam Smith did not assert that this was invariably true, and perhaps neither did any of his followers. But he contributed to a dominant tendency of thought that has ever since interfered with positive action based on rational analysis, namely, the tendency to assume that decisions reached individually will, in fact, be the best decisions for an entire society. If this assumption is correct it justifies the continuance of our present policy of laissez-faire in reproduction.

If it is correct we can assume that men will control their individual fecundity so as to produce the optimum population. If the assumption is not correct, we need to reexamine our individual freedoms to see which ones are defensible.

The rebuttal to the invisible hand in population control is to be found in a scenario first sketched in a little-known pamphlet 6 in by a mathematical amateur named William Forster Lloyd We may well call it "the tragedy of the commons," using the word "tragedy" as the philosopher Whitehead used it 7: It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things.

For it is only by them that the futility of escape can be made evident in the drama. 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. As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, "What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?

Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of —1. Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons.

Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit--in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons.

Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all. Some would say that this is a platitude. Would that it were! In a sense, it was learned thousands of years ago, but natural selection favors the forces of psychological denial 8. The individual benefits as an individual from his ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, of which he is a part, suffers.

Education can counteract the natural tendency to do the wrong thing, but the inexorable succession of generations requires that the basis for this knowledge be constantly refreshed. A simple incident that occurred a few years ago in Leominster, Massachusetts, shows how perishable the knowledge is.

During the Christmas shopping season the parking meters downtown were covered with plastic bags that bore tags reading: Free parking courtesy of the mayor and city council. Cynically, we suspect that they gained more votes than they lost by this retrogressive act. In an approximate way, the logic of the commons has been understood for a long time, perhaps since the discovery of agriculture or the invention of private property in real estate. But it is understood mostly only in special cases which are not sufficiently generalized.

Even at this late date, cattlemen leasing national land on the western ranges demonstrate no more than an ambivalent understanding, in constantly pressuring federal authorities to increase the head count to the point where overgrazing produces erosion and weed-dominance.

Likewise, the oceans of the world continue to suffer from the survival of the philosophy of the commons. Maritime nations still respond automatically to the shibboleth of the "freedom of the seas. The National Parks present another instance of the working out of the tragedy of the commons.

At present, they are open to all, without limit. The parks themselves are limited in extent--there is only one Yosemite Valley--whereas population seems to grow without limit. The values that visitors seek in the parks are steadily eroded. Plainly, we must soon cease to treat the parks as commons or they will be of no value to anyone. What shall we do? We have several options. We might sell them off as private property. We might keep them as public property, but allocate the right to enter them.

The allocation might be on the basis of wealth, by the use of an auction system. It might be on the basis of merit, as defined by some agreed-upon standards. It might be by lottery. Or it might be on a first-come, first-served basis, administered to long queues. These, I think, are all the reasonable possibilities.

They are all objectionable. But we must choose--or acquiesce in the destruction of the commons that we call our National Parks. In a reverse way, the tragedy of the commons reappears in problems of pollution. Here it is not a question of taking something out of the commons, but of putting something in--sewage, or chemical, radioactive, and heat wastes into water; noxious and dangerous fumes into the air, and distracting and unpleasant advertising signs into the line of sight. The calculations of utility are much the same as before.

The rational man finds that his share of the cost of the wastes he discharges into the commons is less than the cost of purifying his wastes before releasing them. Since this is true for everyone, we are locked into a system of "fouling our own nest," so long as we behave only as independent, rational, free-enterprisers.

The tragedy of the commons as a food basket is averted by private property, or something formally like it. But the air and waters surrounding us cannot readily be fenced, and so the tragedy of the commons as a cesspool must be prevented by different means, by coercive laws or taxing devices that make it cheaper for the polluter to treat his pollutants than to discharge them untreated.

We have not progressed as far with the solution of this problem as we have with the first. Indeed, our particular concept of private property, which deters us from exhausting the positive resources of the earth, favors pollution. The owner of a factory on the bank of a stream--whose property extends to the middle of the stream, often has difficulty seeing why it is not his natural right to muddy the waters flowing past his door.

The law, always behind the times, requires elaborate stitching and fitting to adapt it to this newly perceived aspect of the commons. The pollution problem is a consequence of population. It did not much matter how a lonely American frontiersman disposed of his waste. But as population became denser, the natural chemical and biological recycling processes became overloaded, calling for a redefinition of property rights. Analysis of the pollution problem as a function of population density uncovers a not generally recognized principle of morality, namely: Using the commons as a cesspool does not harm the general public under frontier conditions, because there is no public, the same behavior in a metropolis is unbearable.

A hundred and fifty years ago a plainsman could kill an American bison, cut out only the tongue for his dinner, and discard the rest of the animal. He was not in any important sense being wasteful.

Today, with only a few thousand bison left, we would be appalled at such behavior. In passing, it is worth noting that the morality of an act cannot be determined from a photograph. One does not know whether a man killing an elephant or setting fire to the grassland is harming others until one knows the total system in which his act appears.

It is as tempting to ecologists as it is to reformers in general to try to persuade others by way of the photographic shortcut. But the essense of an argument cannot be photographed: That morality is system-sensitive escaped the attention of most codifiers of ethics in the past. The laws of our society follow the pattern of ancient ethics, and therefore are poorly suited to governing a complex, crowded, changeable world. Our epicyclic solution is to augment statutory law with administrative law.

Since it is practically impossible to spell out all the conditions under which it is safe to burn trash in the back yard or to run an automobile without smog-control, by law we delegate the details to bureaus.

The result is administrative law, which is rightly feared for an ancient reason-- Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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The Tragedy of the Commons and Collective Action Essay Words | 6 Pages. The tragedy of the commons and the problem of collective action are two key concepts in the world of political science. They act under the assumption that man is a rational being who will act in his own self interest.

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The Tragedy of the Commons Author(s): Garrett Hardin Source: Science, New Series, Vol. , No. (Dec. 13, ), pp. Published by: American .

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In a reverse way, the tragedy of the commons reappears in problems of pollution. Sample Essay Words 1, Tragedy of the Commons is a metaphor that was first used by Hardin Harding to describe a dilemma of population and its use of resources in an article of the same name that was published in the journal Science in

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In conclusion the tragedy of the commons should be one issue which is discussed in a wider perspective because it affects all the stakeholders involved and eventually we are the people who suffer the consequences. Our essay writing company provides students with custom essays written by . The tragedy of the commons is an economics theory, according to which individuals, acting independently according to one’s self-interest, behave contrary to whole group’s long-term best interests by depleting a common resource.