March 29, 2011 - Tragedy of the commons April-03-11 4:34 PM...

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Tragedy of the commons (TOC) 1. What is it? A. Still the most cited / influential idea Never defined the TOC but defined in # of ways Garret Hardin introduced the term (1968) - Wikipedia definition Defined as: a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consultin g their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen - 1968 article opens with example of the arms race (where security is the 'resource') - Both sides are confronted by dilemma of increasing military power and decreased national security. There seems to be n solution if both parts look for solution in science and technology only. Overpopulation is also same type of problem Parallels between human economy and natural selection (2 readings: implications for humans / population growth & implications for natural selection) B. Harms the group or population in the long run Benefits some individuals relative to other individuals Both have a tendency to produce over-exploitation of resources (meaning exploitation that is greater than what is optimal for the group of users) --> what is advantageous for individual is NOT advantageous for group - Cooperative behavior in humans Group selection in non-human organisms (could operate on humans as well) Both can avoid these outcomes - What is collapse? Almost all TOCs are 'component' if collapse means extinction Individual are worse of than if they had adopted some other option <-- meaning for 'component tragedy' 'component tragedy' for one which stops before 'collapse' of the population (TOC stops before collapse of the population) Only true in short term (or lower population size) with density dependent population size, fitness is always 0 or 1 (i.e. ZPG level) in the long term TOC 'results in lower overall fitness for all members of a group' Note: flexibility in 'group definition' & problem of Rankin et al. definitions - TOC name comes from medieval land tenure system; herders sharing a common field C. Tragedy of the commons April-03-11 4:34 PM March 29, 2011 Page 1
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Individuals overusing the field gain, while the cost of degradation is born by all (pointed out by William F. Lloyd in 1833) - i.e. air, water, fish stocks, etc. If you are dealing with resource that can be commonly used, it is CPR; interest f individual at some point will conflict with group Is a dilemma for all 'common pool resources' (CPR) - People in the group using the resource will agree on rules and mutually enforce it Criticized in 1800s as common grazing areas worked well for many in England. Hardin: 'mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon' Can be avoided by cooperation; enforced and generally accepted rules; conversion to private property - Common pool resources 2. When do CPRs get exploited prudently by humans?
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This note was uploaded on 06/20/2011 for the course EHJ EHJ351 taught by Professor Peterabrams during the Spring '11 term at University of Toronto.

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March 29, 2011 - Tragedy of the commons April-03-11 4:34 PM...

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