Tragedy of the Commons (and Consciousness)
If you want to listen to something scary and frustrating, Planet Money 640: The Bottom of the Well is the one for you . . . or you could just enjoy my stream of consciousness recap: so there's no water in the well and pistachios and almonds take a shitload of water to grow, a gallon per nut . . . a gallon per nut! . . . but if I drill a very very deep well I can tap the rapidly diminishing aquifer and water my pistachio trees, even though the townsfolk in Porterville can no longer access fresh water from their wells, even though their taps have run dry . . . but that's not my problem, I see the irony, that they have to visit portable showers and sinks at a temporary water station, while they can actually see the lush farmland to the south of them, acres of pistachio and walnut and almond trees, but this is a boon for me, because the demand for pistachios and almonds is through the roof, and the supply is small, because they require so much water and India and China are going to buy them from someone and, honestly, if I don't dig a deep well and suck up that aquifer, then my neighbor is going to do it-- and he's a douche-- or the banks and the hedge funds will do it-- because this is an arbitrage situation, and you've got to take advantage while you can, and the aquifer should last another fifty years or so, and by that time I'll be retired and living in Florida or the Pine Barrens, where there is plenty of water, and you know what, it might start raining at any time, there's no law against it, so no reason for me not to make some money while the making is good, because if it's not me, it's going to be somebody else and then my grandkids can get the hell out of here, before the Mad Max scenario that some scientists envision comes to fruition . . . that would be wild.