Tragedy of the Commons

Topics: Tragedy of the commons, Overpopulation, World population Pages: 2 (619 words) Published: December 10, 2012
“Tragedy of the Commons”
The theory behind the “tragedy of the commons” is important to understand the destruction of our environment and to avoid this, we, as citizens of this planet, must change our moral values and human ideologies. There is no technical solution to solve this problem. We can avoid “tragedy” only by changing the way we live.

The tragedy of the commons is explained through an example of herdsmen being able to own as much cattle as possible, which results in herdsman wanting to maximize their gain even when there are effects of overgrazing. When each herdsman keeps adding another after another there is a tragedy because as each herdsman become ignorant of the impact of overgrazing and the land that is use to other herdsman declines. Another example is overfishing in the oceans. Fishermen catch fish highly for their own gain each day unaware that they are possibly causing extinction. Hardin also presents that there is a tragedy of the freedom to breed. He explains that it is intolerable because people will continue to have many children for their own interest, causing overpopulation.

Hardin begins the article by stating there are problems that exist but lack technical solutions. He goes on to claim that one example is the “population problem” and that our growing human population, with each individual trying to maximize their gain, is a factor in the destruction of our planet. An example of the tragedy, Hardin describes the situation created by pollution. “The rational man finds that his share of the cost of the wastes he discharges into the commons is less than the cost of purifying his wastes before releasing them.” When put into the context of a very large population, those with a rational mindset know that we are only hurting ourselves and it’s similar to the concept of Darwinism: survival of the fittest. Hardin suggests that human breeding must be limited. He goes on to state that “with appeals to limit breeding, some...
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