Tragedy of the Commons │ The Problem with Open Access
1. Tragedy of the Commons
The Tragedy of the Commons Explained in One Minute
Garrett Hardin on the Tragedy of the Commons
The tragedy of the commons is a term used in social science to describe a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action. The concept and phrase originated in an essay written in 1833 by the British economist William Forster Lloyd, who used a hypothetical example of the effects of unregulated grazing on common land in the British Isles. The concept became widely known over a century later due to an article was written by the American ecologist and philosopher Garrett Hardin in 1968. In this modern economic context, commons is taken to mean any shared and unregulated resource such as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, or even an office refrigerator.