What Is the “Tragedy of the Commons” as Explained by Garrett Hardin?
Generally, the resource of interest is easily available to all individuals; the tragedy of the commons occurs when individuals neglect the well-being of society in the pursuit of personal gain.
Idealists may appeal to individuals caught in such a system, asking them to let the long-term effects govern their actions. But each individual must first survive in the short run. If all decision makers were unselfish and idealistic calculators, a distribution governed by the rule “to each according to his needs” might work. But such is not our world. As James Madison said in 1788, “If men were angels, no Government would be necessary”.
One of the ways is when the rate of consumption is lower than the rate of replacement or renewal (Manning 134). This will ensure that resources are saved for future generations.
Let’s stop championing policies that privilege environmental protection for some human beings at the expense of others. And let’s replace Hardin’s flawed metaphor with an inclusive vision for humanity—one based on democratic governance and cooperation in this time of darkness.
Dauvergne, Peter. Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2005. Print.
Hetzel, Julia. To What Extent is the Tragedy of the Commons Restricting Option When Dealing with a Gloabal Ecological Crisis. Munchen: GRIN Verlag, 2011. Print.
Manning, Robert E. Parks and Carrying Capacity: Commons Without Tragedy. Washington: Island Press, 2007. Print.