The scientific side in the essay the tragedy of the commons by garrett hardin

The author is professor of biology, University of California, Santa Barbara. This article is based on a presidential address presented before the meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at Utah State University, Logan, 25 June At the end of a thoughtful article on the future of nuclear war, Wiesner and York 1 concluded that:

The scientific side in the essay the tragedy of the commons by garrett hardin

The term "Tragedy of the Commons" is a phrase which is used to describe why, according to some, commonly owned resources will be destructively overused. The term was first coined by Garret Hardin in December He suggested a scenario in which commonly owned pasture was open to all local herdsmen to feed their cattle on.

Hardin complemented this assumption with the standard ones of neo-classical economics, arguing that each herdsman would try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons to maximise their income.

This would result in overgrazing and environmental destruction as the cost of each feeding additional animals is shouldered by all who use the commons while the benefits accrue to the individual herdsman.

However, what is individually rational becomes collectively irrational when each herdsman, acting in isolation, does the same thing.

His article was used to justify both nationalisation and privatisation of communal resources the former often a precursor for the latter. As state ownership fell out of favour, the lesson of this experiment in logic was as uniform as it was simple: That these resulted in wealth being concentrated in a few hands should come as no surprise.

Most fundamentally, it was a pure thought experiment and, as such, was not informed by historical or current practice. In other words, it did not reflect the reality of the commons as a social institution.

The so-called "Tragedy of the Commons" was no such thing. It is actually an imposition of the "tragedy of the free-for-all" to communally owned resources in this case, land. In reality, commons were never "free for all" resources and while the latter may see overuse and destruction the former managed to survive thousands of years.

So, unfortunately for the supporters of private property who so regularly invoke the "Tragedy of the Commons", they simply show their ignorance of what true commons are. As socialist Allan Engler points out: When property was held in common by tribes, clans and villages, people took no more than their share and respected the rights of others.

They cared for common property and when necessary acted together to protect it against those who would damage it. Under capitalism, there is no common property. Public property is a form of private property, property owned by the government as a corporate person.

Capitalism recognises only private property and free-for-all property. Nobody is responsible for free-for-all property until someone claims it as his own.

He then has a right to do as he pleases with it, a right that is uniquely capitalist. Unlike common or personal property, capitalist property is not valued for itself or for its utility.

It is valued for the revenue it produces for its owner. If the capitalist owner can maximise his revenue by liquidating it, he has the right to do that.This is a book about the biological conquest of the New World.

Taking as a case study the sixteenth century history of a region of highland central Mexico, it shows how the environmental and social changes brought about by the introduction of Old World species aided European expansion. Garrett Hardin Essay Examples.

The scientific side in the essay the tragedy of the commons by garrett hardin

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The scientific side in the essay the tragedy of the commons by garrett hardin

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Updated 13 March, The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin, Published in Science, December 13, For copyright permission, click here.. The author is professor of biology, University of California, Santa Barbara.

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