(Thanks to our reader, Scott, for this article)
John Petersen — Seeking Alpha — October 2012
In a watershed 1968 essay, ecologist Garrett Hardin defined “The Tragedy of the Commons” as the depletion of a shared resource by individuals, acting independently and rationally according to their own self-interest, despite the knowledge that depleting the shared resource is contrary to the best long-term interests of their society.
He began with an example from medieval times when residents of a village frequently had the right to graze their cows on a community pasture. An individual herder pursuing his own best interest would invariably increase the number of cows he grazed in the pasture. But when all herders made the same individually rational decision, the common pasture was depleted or even destroyed by overgrazing.
As a trailblazer and thought leader in the early days of the environmental movement, Mr…
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