The Tragedy of Dave Learning About The Tragedy of the Commons

Biologist Garrett Hardin famously used the idea of "the tragedy of the commons" as an environmental principle that explained how individuals will inevitably deplete a shared resource-- such as a common pasture-- because no one owns the particular resource, so no one is invested in protecting it; the simple solution is to allow people to own the land, because then they won't let their animals overgraze-- unless they are stupid-- and the tragedy of the commons explains why public bathrooms are filthy and why it's difficult to get kids to clean up their trash in the school cafeteria and why it's impossible to get nations to subscribe to the Kyoto Protocol, and it is also a wonderful rationalization if you feel like littering in your local park or don't feel like scooping up your dog's excrement or if you stain a library book with chocolate fingerprints or if you feel like tossing some trash out your car window . . . if someone looks at you askance, simply shrug your shoulders and say, "tragedy of the commons, what can you do?"


zman said...

The pit was another tragic common area.

Dave said...

definitely. as were the hallways. every sunday meeting, poor kenny would plead with us to take out the garbage.

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