Tragedy of the Commons
Have you ever read the Essay, The Tragedy of the Commons, by Garret Hardin? Although it was written in 1968, it is still quite useful today. The main point of Hardin's essay is to show the conflict between the short term interests of individuals in society and the long term effects those interests have on society itself. Hardin hints to this very simply even in his title. The Commons were similar to a giant plot of land that a community shared as a whole. Everyone allowed their animals to graze there, yet no one really took proper care of the land. The farmers put more and more animals on the land(as instinct would tell almost any farmer trying to make a profit). However, this backfired. Soon enough, everyone was putting all their animals on the land. All the animals were eating the grass, and soon, the soil was un - fit for raising any living being . Some of the other commons Hardin addressed in his essay were fish, land, sheep, and earth. Hardin agreed that many of these commons were being taken advantage of. However, he believed that there was no technological solution to this problem, rather, the solution falls into the hands of morality. This would mean the solution is contingent upon the people, and Hardin certainly believed there were enough of those.
In fact, out of all the issues Hardin addressed, population and its rapid growth seems to be one of the most important. Hardin believed that the population was as a whole, selfish. He had a feeling that they would continue to use up their god-given resources, until there were none left. At that point, Hardin believed, society would tragically fall. Hardin did forget to mention the social nature of humans, but in the scheme of things, that does not matter. Sure, we all depend on one another.....but at the same time, we could all stand to be a little more resourceful. The first thing Hardin examines in his essay is the ratio of population to resources. He stated that population...
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