Monday, November 03, 2008

The "tragedy" of the commons

The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons:
The author of “The Tragedy of the Commons” was Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor who until then was best known as the author of a biology textbook that argued for “control of breeding” of “genetically defective” people (Hardin 1966: 707). In his 1968 essay he argued that communities that share resources inevitably pave the way for their own destruction; instead of wealth for all, there is wealth for none. ...

Given the subsequent influence of Hardin’s essay, it’s shocking to realise that he provided no evidence at all to support his sweeping conclusions. He claimed that the “tragedy” was inevitable — but he didn’t show that it had happened even once.
Author Ian Angus responds to criticism of the essay.

1 comment:

  1. Jamsine- the Pakistani Heretical Girl11/5/08, 9:21 PM

    These ideas is used to steal land from people who 'can't manage it'.
    i think people who own land communally manage ok, their stuff is eco friendly, they're self sufficient and they support whole populations. It only becomes a 'problem' when outsiders want to steal communally owned land or enclose it, like with beef farming in Amazonia, or what the english done in Scotland mountains- they deported everyone and stole the land for sheep- now there's just ruins there.
    How do they justify this? They use ideas like Hardins.


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