Tragedy Of The Commons

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The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently and rationally according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource. But there is only a tragedy of an UNREGULATED commons, as history has shown. Regulation is an obvious workable solution. Libertarians frequently claim that the problem can be solved by privatization with clear property title. But removing property from the commons has its own problems; moral, philosophical and economic. See also the Tragedy Of The Anticommons.


Common and Private Concerns [More...]
A seminal paper explaining models in terms of types of resources, property, and management regimes. Explains the problem with the Tragedy Of The Commons model. "The goal is to clarify concepts and raise issues that may contribute to the further development of theory concerning property rights and the performance of natural resource systems."
Local Commons (13 links)
Elinor Ostrom's real-world observed solutions to regulating commons without ownership. These require government protection of community rights to control the commons. This is not libertarian: no private property, and two levels of government.
The Genetic Commons (5 links)
Unregulated markets in antibiotics and pesticides select strongly for resistant genes, resulting in widespread resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. This is a classic tragedy of the commons, requiring regulation. Examples include DDT, MRSA, and resistance to RoundUp.


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