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Tragedy of the Commons Group Summary - Winter 2010

Tragedy of the Commons Group Summary - Winter 2010 -...

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Tragedy of the Commons Group Summary Winter 2010 Part 1 Hardin begins the article by stating that there does not exist a technical solution to the population problem. He defines the root of the problem to be that a “finite world can only support a finite population; therefore population growth must eventually equal zero.” Presently, the world’s population grows at an exponential rate, and this is extremely alarming. Consequently, Hardin believes that a solution brought upon only by technology without a change in human values cannot be found. He poses the question, “Can the greatest good for the greatest number be realized?”. The answer is no, as it is impossible to maximize both population and good. If we were to maximize only population, we would need the energy spent doing other things to approach zero. Therefore, Hardin proposes that an optimum value for population and happiness exists below the maximum value. However, the search for that value is difficult, requiring an examination into which freedoms we choose we want to keep and which we can relinquish. Part 2 The "commons" is anything that is a public resource. An example of the tragedy of the commons is a group of herdsmen who let their sheep graze on common grasslands. The can choose to add a sheep to their herd, giving a large personal increase in utility and only a small negative impact in the form of overgrazing shared over all herdsmen. Thus, the shared negative utility to an individual is only a fraction of the benefits gained by adding a sheep. Thus, each herdsmen
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