Literature Study GuidesThe Tragedy Of The Commons

The Tragedy of the Commons | Study Guide

Garrett Hardin

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Garrett Hardin

Year Published



Primary Source


Argument, Nonfiction, Political Science

At a Glance

Written in 1968, Garrett Hardin describes a world where the population is increasing far faster than the rate at which the earth can provide food to support it. Resources, such as clean water, land, oil, and minerals, are limited and are being depleted. The human population is expected to double within the next 50 years. Unless population growth is curbed, Hardin foresees resources will become too scarce to sustain life.

About the Title

In drama the word tragedy refers to the fated downfall and destruction of a character. The term commons is a British term for pastureland shared by a community. The title "The Tragedy of the Commons" refers to the inevitable depletion and destruction of land and shared resources resulting from overpopulation.


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