List

Hardin, Garrett.  “The Tragedy of the Commons.”  Science.   12/13/1968.  Print.

  • Hardin’s essay centers around issues that have “no technical solution.”  In other words, he wants to address the commons as an issue that must be involved in human values or ideas of human morality.
  • Hardin is pushing back against the “invisible hand” philosophy of Adam Smith in this piece asking whether individuals will – by acting in their own self-interest – also act on behalf of the broader population.
  • Because of social stability, each herdsman on the communal pasture is able to “maximize his gain.”  When this happens, “each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit – in a world that is limited.  Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes I the freedom of the commons.  Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”

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