Garrett Hardin

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pages: 243 words: 66,908

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Meadows. Donella, Diana Wright

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, clean water, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, game design, Garrett Hardin, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, peak oil, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Stanford prison experiment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Tragedy of the Commons, Whole Earth Review

I express my admiration and gratitude to all its members. I also have drawn from thinkers in a variety of disciplines, who, as far as I know, never used a computer to simulate a system, but who are natural systems thinkers. They include Gregory Bateson, Kenneth Boulding, Herman Daly, Albert Einstein, Garrett Hardin, Václav Havel, Lewis Mumford, Gunnar Myrdal, E.F. Schumacher, a number of modern corporate executives, and many anonymous sources of ancient wisdom, from Native Americans to the Sufis of the Middle East. Strange bedfellows, but systems thinking transcends disciplines and cultures and, when it is done right, it overarches history as well.

This phrase means roughly “effects which I hadn’t foreseen or don’t want to think about.”. . . Side-effects no more deserve the adjective “side” than does the “principal” effect. It is hard to think in terms of systems, and we eagerly warp our language to protect ourselves from the necessity of doing so. —Garrett Hardin,5 ecologist Remember the clouds in the structural diagrams of Chapters One and Two? Beware of clouds! They are prime sources of system surprises. Clouds stand for the beginnings and ends of flows. They are stocks—sources and sinks—that are being ignored at the moment for the purposes of simplifying the present discussion.

The Tragedy of the Commons Leaders of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s coalition, led by the Christian Democratic Union, agreed last week with the opposition Social Democrats, after months of bickering, to turn back a flood of economic migrants by tightening conditions for claiming asylum. —International Herald Tribune, 19925 The trap called the tragedy of the commons comes about when there is escalation, or just simple growth, in a commonly shared, erodable environment. Ecologist Garrett Hardin described the commons system in a classic article in 1968. Hardin used as his opening example a common grazing land: Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. . . . Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?”.


pages: 207 words: 52,716

Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons by Peter Barnes

Albert Einstein, car-free, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, Garrett Hardin, hypertext link, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, jitney, money market fund, new economy, patent troll, profit maximization, Ronald Coase, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra

Appendix Key Features of Corporate, State, and Commons Sectors CORPORATIONS STATE COMMONS Key functions Making things; seeking shortterm profit Defining, assigning, balancing rights Sharing gifts and preserving them for future generations Key institutions Corporations; labor unions Legislature Executive Judiciary Ecosystem trusts, permanent funds, open access commons, intergenerational pacts, community commons Key human actors Directors Politicians Trustees Accountable to Share owners Voters (donors) Future generations, living citizens equally, nonhuman species, communities Algorithms Maximize profit; distribute earnings to existing shareholders Win most votes (raise most money) Preserve asset; live off income, not principal; follow the precautionary principle; the more beneficiaries the better Time horizon Next quarter Next election Next generation Ownership regime One dollar, one share One person, one vote (one dollar, one vote) One person, one share Transferable ownership Yes Voting rights: No Property: Yes Beneficial rights: No Usage rights: Yes From each according to . . . Voluntary purchases Taxes Voluntary usage To each according to . . . Share ownership Political power Equal ownership Items in parentheses are de facto, not written in law. Notes Notes to Pages x–17 Preface 1x Biologist Garrett Hardin: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, 1968, 162, 1243–1248. See www.sciencemag.org/sciext/sotp/commons.dtl. xii envisioned an economy: E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful (New York: HarperCollins, 1973). Chapter 1: Time to Upgrade 14 endangering human civilizations: Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (New York: Penguin Books, 2005); Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004). 17 “The relational herdsman . . .”: Hardin, “Tragedy of the Commons,” p. 1244.

(Working Assets offers telephone and credit card services which automatically I | ix | x | C A P I TA L I S M 3.0 donate to nonprofit groups working for a better world.) My initial ruminations focused on climate change caused by human emissions of heat-trapping gases. Some analysts saw this as a “tragedy of the commons,” a concept popularized forty years ago by biologist Garrett Hardin. According to Hardin, people will always overuse a commons because it’s in their self-interest to do so. I saw the problem instead as a pair of tragedies: first a tragedy of the market, which has no way of curbing its own excesses, and second a tragedy of government, which fails to protect the atmosphere because polluting corporations are powerful and future generations don’t vote.

It’s small at the moment, but the point of this book is that we should enlarge it. Time to Upgrade | 7 The Tragedy of the Commons Isn’t What You Think If you heard about the commons before you picked up this book, your impressions were probably shaped by a 1968 article called “The Tragedy of the Commons.” In that article, biologist Garrett Hardin used the metaphor of an unmanaged pasture to suggest a root cause of many planetary problems. The rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another. . . . But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons.


pages: 147 words: 39,910

The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts by Shane Parrish

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bitcoin, Black Swan, colonial rule, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, delayed gratification, feminist movement, Garrett Hardin, index fund, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, mandelbrot fractal, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, statistical model, stem cell, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Torches of Freedom, Tragedy of the Commons

If we don’t understand what the map does and doesn’t tell us, it can be useless or even dangerous. — Sidebar: The Tragedy of the Commons The Tragedy of the Commons The Tragedy of the Commons is a parable that illustrates why common resources get used more than is desirable from the standpoint of society as a whole. Garrett Hardin wrote extensively about this concept. “Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land.

Margaret Atwood 2 In an example of second-order thinking deficiency, we have been feeding antibiotics to livestock for decades to make the meat safer and cheaper. Only in recent years have we begun to realize that in doing so we have helped create bacteria that we cannot defend against. In 1963, the UC Santa Barbara ecologist and economist Garrett Hardin proposed his First Law of Ecology: “You can never merely do one thing.”3 We operate in a world of multiple, overlapping connections, like a web, with many significant, yet obscure and unpredictable, relationships. He developed second-order thinking into a tool, showing that if you don’t consider “the effects of the effects,” you can’t really claim to be doing any thinking at all.

A word of caution Second-order thinking, as valuable as it is, must be tempered in one important way: You can’t let it lead to the paralysis of the Slippery Slope Effect, the idea that if we start with action A, everything after is a slippery slope down to hell, with a chain of consequences B, C, D, E, and F. Garrett Hardin smartly addresses this in Filters Against Folly: Those who take the wedge (Slippery Slope) argument with the utmost seriousness act as though they think human beings are completely devoid of practical judgment. Countless examples from everyday life show the pessimists are wrong…If we took the wedge argument seriously, we would pass a law forbidding all vehicles to travel at any speed greater than zero.


The State and the Stork: The Population Debate and Policy Making in US History by Derek S. Hoff

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, back-to-the-land, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, feminist movement, full employment, garden city movement, Garrett Hardin, George Gilder, Gunnar Myrdal, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, New Economic Geography, new economy, old age dependency ratio, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban sprawl, wage slave, War on Poverty, white flight, zero-sum game

Population Index 34 (October–December 1968): 467–74 (his presidential speech to the Population Association of America of April 19, 1968); and Thomas Frejka, “Reflections on the Demographic Conditions Needed to Establish a U.S. Stationary Population Growth,” Population Studies 22 (November 1968): 379–97. 65. Davis, “Zero Population Growth.” 66. Rienow and Rienow, Moment in the Sun, 211–12. 67. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (December 13, 1968): 1243–48. 68. Ibid., 1246. 69. Ibid., 1247. 70. Garrett Hardin, “Living on a Lifeboat,” BioScience 24 (October 1974): 561–68. 71. Hardin wrote that “those who are biologically more fit to be the custodians of property and power should legally inherit more” (“Tragedy of the Commons,” 1247). Still, he rejected the notion that genetics should guide such transfers and never suggested that members of various ethnic groups have different innate abilities.

The old frontier idea of producing armies of offspring to overcome infant mortality and push forward to conquer the continent is as discredited as bundling, witch-burning, and pond-dunking for shrews. Let all lovers of life plead for a new philosophy, a transformed social code, so that this nation and the world may survive.”66 A famous proponent of draconian population control was biologist Garrett Hardin, an enormously polarizing figure whose radicalism encouraged many to view the population movement as nothing more than the old wine of eugenics in new bottles. In “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which appeared in Science in 1968, Hardin called for a “new morality” to solve the population problem.67 He invoked a classic market failure: when land (in his example, a pasture) is owned in common, any one individual has every incentive to work this land as hard as possible because the grass is free.

To be sure, historians of the feminist movement and of abortion politics have noted the general confluence between the family planning movement and the promotion of abortion liberalization.100 It is well known that in 1959, Planned Parenthood helped the American Law Institute draft a model law subsequently used by the few states that liberalized their abortion laws in the 1960s.101 In addition, scholars have recognized that Garrett Hardin and other population activists worked with leaders of the women’s movement to spur the creation of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), founded in 1969.102 Historian Suzanne Staggenborg notes in her study Pro-Choice Movement that the national ZPG organization—initially leery of engaging the abortion issue due to the group’s ecological emphasis and the recognition that the full legalization of abortion, though obviously consistent with the group’s mission, would only marginally affect aggregate population—officially endorsed the repeal of abortion restrictions in 1969.


The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah

Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, Garrett Hardin, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mass immigration, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, open borders, out of africa, Scientific racism, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Steve Bannon, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, urban sprawl

At one point, for example, he referred to the lemming migration as a “rather tragic procession of refugees, with all the obsessed behavior of an unwanted stranger in a populous land.” Elton’s ideas shed “considerable light18 on the way the human population should be regulated,” one well-heeled Elton fan sniffed. Principles such as Gause’s Law “ha[ve] applications in many academic fields of study,” added the University of California ecologist Garrett Hardin. Accepting its premises would bring about “a renaissance of understanding.” By the 1930s, the popularity of eugenics19 had started to diminish in the United States, even as it gained momentum in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Anxieties about newcomers subsided with the closing of the borders, and the Depression dulled enthusiasm for talk of superior races and their automatically superior lives.

Soon local clubs and NGOs started inviting him to speak to their members. Ehrlich’s Stanford offices became a hub for scientific debate over the ecological crisis precipitated by population growth. At weekly seminars and conferences at Stanford, he gathered scientists such as the University of California ecologist Garrett Hardin, the social scientist Kingsley Davis, and others to share notes on the possibility of a human population explosion and its portents for the future. They saw signs of impending Kaibab-like collapse all around, including in California. By 1962, more people lived in California than the state of New York.

In the 1980s and ’90s, elements on both sides of the political spectrum aligned both for and against immigration, with corporate interests and their partisan allies broadly aligned in favor of immigration and labor unions and their partisan allies arguing that immigrants drove down wages and had a negative impact on the environment. Garrett Hardin and Anne Ehrlich served on the board of Tanton’s Federation for American Immigration Reform. Like Ehrlich, who primed his readers and viewers to accept the necessity of authoritarian measures, Tanton gently helped his supporters disregard51 those who might call his antimigrant positions “racist.”


pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), Du Contrat Social (The Social Contract). John Rawls John Rawls (1971), A Theory of Justice, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. In Plato's Republic Plato (c. 427–347 BC), The Republic. Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli (1517), Discourses Upon the First Ten Books of Titus Livy. Garrett Hardin Garrett Hardin (1994). “The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons,” Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 9:199. voting is required Elliot Frankal (4 Jul 2005), “Compulsory Voting Around the World,” The Guardian. marriage rites were informal Stephanie Coontz (2005), Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage, Viking.

Her analysis leads to the decision to overfish. That makes sense, but—of course—if everyone acts according to the same analysis, they'll end up collapsing the fishing stocks and ruining the industry for everyone. This is called a Tragedy of the Commons, and was first described by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968.6 A Tragedy of the Commons occurs whenever a group shares a limited resource: not just fisheries, but grazing lands, water rights, time on a piece of shared exercise equipment at a gym, an unguarded plate of cookies in the kitchen. In a forest, you can cut everything down for maximum short-term profit, or selectively harvest for sustainability.

The social pathologists make a distinction between codified and explicit norms established by the government and non-formal norms agreed upon by the group, but that leaves a large grey area for less-official groups. Still, codifying our reputational pressure into laws was a big step for the development of society, and it allowed larger and more complex social groupings—like cities. Garrett Hardin, who created the phrase “the Tragedy of the Commons,” later wished he'd called it “the tragedy of the unmanaged commons.” The point of his paper was not that defectors will inevitably ruin things for the group, but that unless things are managed properly, they will. He was stressing the need for institutional pressure.


pages: 190 words: 61,970

Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Bear Stearns, Branko Milanovic, Cass Sunstein, clean water, end world poverty, experimental economics, Garrett Hardin, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, microcredit, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Peter Singer: altruism, pre–internet, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Thomas Malthus, ultimatum game, union organizing

By 2050 Nigeria, now with 144 million people, is expected to grow to 282 million and be the world’s sixth most populous nation. By then the Democratic Republic of the Congo, now home to 63 million people, is predicted to have 187 million, and Ethiopia, 77 million today, is expected to have a population of 146 million.31 But to say, as ecologist Garrett Hardin did in the 1970s with countries like Bangladesh and India in mind, that we should not give aid to poor countries with rapidly growing populations ignores the well-established fact that reducing poverty also reduces fertility32 Where many children die and there is no Social Security, parents tend to have large families to ensure that some will survive to look after them in their old age, and, in the case of rural families, to work the land.

“Millennium Villages: A New Approach to Fighting Poverty: FAQ,” www.unmillenniumproject.org/mv/mv_faq.htm; “The Magnificent Seven,” The Economist, April 26, 2006, p. 63. 24. Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1st edition, 1798. 25. Paul Ehrlich, “Paying the Piper,” New Scientist 36:652-55, reprinted in Garrett Hardin, ed., Population, Evolution, and Birth Control, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1969), p. 127. See also Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine, 1968), p. 36. 26. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Agriculture: Towards 201512030, Rome, 2002, p. 1, ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/004/y3557e/y3557e01.pdf 27.

Bertrand, “Multi-trait Prediction of Feed Conversion in Feedlot Cattle,” Proceedings of the 34th Annual Beef Improvement Federation Annual Meeting, Omaha, Nebraska, July 10—13, 2002, www.bifconference.com/bif2002/BIFsymposium_pdfs/Herring_02BIF.pdf, and “Pork Facts, 2001/2002,” National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa. 31. Population Reference Bureau, 2007 World Population Data Sheet, pp. 1, 7, www.prb.org/pdf07/07WPDS_Eng.pdf 32. Garrett Hardin, “Living on a Lifeboat,” Bioscience 24 (1974), pp. 561-68. 33. Population Reference Bureau, 2007 World Population Data Sheet, p. 4, www.prb.org/pdf07/07WPDS_Eng.pdf 34. See Amartya Sen, “Population: Delusion and Reality,” The New York Review of Books 41:15 (September 22, 1994). An updated (2002) version is available at www.asian-affairs.com/issuel7/sen.html. 35.


pages: 196 words: 61,981

Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China's Countryside by Xiaowei Wang

4chan, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, cloud computing, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, global pandemic, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, job automation, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, land reform, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer lending, precision agriculture, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, Tragedy of the Commons, universal basic income, WeWork, Y Combinator

黄哲程, “探索区块链在食品安全领域的运用, 新京报,” Beijing News, November 4, 2019, http://web.archive.org/web/20200317213627/http://www.xinhuanet.com/food/2019-11/04/c_1125189022.htm.   4.  Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Michel Oksenberg, Policy Making in China: Leaders, Structures, and Processes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988).   5.  “Garrett Hardin,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/garrett-hardin.   6.  Similar concepts, like “survival of the fittest,” based on Darwin’s ideas of natural selection, give scientific credence to economic systems like capitalism—with its aggressive emphasis on competition. Survival of the fittest has been similarly disproven.

The idea that life is “nasty, brutish, and short” comes from the political and moral philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, who argued that a strong, authoritarian government is needed to curb the selfish instinct that lives in all of us. A few hundred years later, the “tragedy of the commons” concept would solidify Hobbes’s thinking as scientific. Many crypto and blockchain enthusiasts will cite this concept often and candidly. The concept of the tragedy of the commons was popularized in 1968 by the ecologist Garrett Hardin, who also argued that the overpopulation of the earth would lead to disaster because of finite resources. Hardin’s tragedy of the commons was the condition where individual users, motivated by their own self-interest, ruin a shared resource system for everyone. Hardin gave the example of herders who, caring only about the survival of their own herds, destroyed pastures by overgrazing common land.


pages: 426 words: 118,913

Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet by Roger Scruton

"Robert Solow", barriers to entry, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, corporate social responsibility, demand response, edge city, endowment effect, energy security, Exxon Valdez, failed state, food miles, garden city movement, Garrett Hardin, ghettoisation, happiness index / gross national happiness, Herbert Marcuse, Howard Zinn, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, market friction, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Such problems are not specific to environmental issues, and arise in connection with both radical and conservative policies. When considering the environment, however, one such problem is of particular importance, and that is the failure of collective rationality commented upon by Aristotle in the Politics and known, following an acclaimed article by Garrett Hardin, as ‘the tragedy of the commons’.151 Many of the earth’s resources are either unowned or owned in common by some particular community – the fish in a lake, the grazing on common land, the air that we breathe, and so on. If we all have access to such commons, and if they are easily depleted by our use of them, then the situation can easily arise in which it is in the interest of each person to take as much as he can before others deprive him of the chance.

Such economies are often caught in a vicious circle of population growth, environmental degradation and natural resource depletion that ultimately can destabilize the social and political order.’ Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, p. 118, www.arab-hdr.org/publications/other/ahdr/ahdr2009e.pdf. 16 On the theory of ‘rent seeking’, see Chapters 3 and 4. 17 Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 162.1, 1968, pp. 243 –8. 18 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651; John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971, 2005. 19 Edmund Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution, 1790; G. W. F. Hegel, Outlines of the Philosophy of Right, 1820; Joseph de Maistre, Le Principe Générateur des Constitutions, 1809. 20 I return to them in Chapters 7 and 8. 21 And whose antics are thoroughly discredited by Adam Zamoyski in Holy Madness: Compatriots, Patriots and Revolutionaries, 1776–1871, London and New York, 2001. 22 George Monbiot, The Age of Consent, London, 2003. 23 For an eloquent assessment of the adverse effects of globalization on the identity, and therefore the environment, of the English nation, see Paul Kingsnorth, Real England, London, 2008. 24 See Roger Scruton, The Need for Nations, London, 2004. 25 Criticisms of these institutions from the left are assembled on the websites of the Global Justice Center and the Global Justice Ecology Center.

Merton, ‘The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action’, American Sociological Review, 1.6, 1936, pp. 894–904. 148 Peltzman, op. cit. 149 Adams, op. cit.; Gerald J. S. Wilde, Target Risk, Toronto, 1994. The point is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Peltzman effect’, since Peltzman was the first to hit on the idea. 150 Adams, op. cit. 151 See 1261b in Aristotle, The Politics, Oxford, 1994; Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 162, 13 December 1968, pp. 1243–8. Hardin’s original response to the tragedy was to call for government intervention to protect ‘public assets’; he later moved in the direction of favouring privatization. 152 The tragedy is described by Zac Goldsmith in The Constant Economy, London, 2009.


pages: 411 words: 80,925

What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, global village, hedonic treadmill, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, the strength of weak ties, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

Brown: Landshare Explained,” Guardian (June 2009), www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gardeningblog/2009/jun/05/landshare-hugh-fearnley-whittingstall. 17. “Commons Sense,” Economist (July 31, 2008), www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/d.quercia/others/commons.pdf. 18. “The Tragedy of the Commons” is an influential article written by Garrett Hardin. First published in Science 162, no. 3859 (December 13, 1968): 1243–1248. 19. The idea of traffic congestion and “The Tragedy of the Commons” is documented in Garrett Hardin, Living Within Means (Oxford University Press, 1993). It is also well described in a blog post on Seed, www.seed.slb.com/subcontent.aspx?id=4110. 20. David Bollier, “Elinor Ostrom and the Digital Commons,” Forbes (October 13, 2009), www.forbes.com/2009/10/13/open-source-net-neutrality-elinor-ostrom-nobel-opinions-contributors-david-bollier.html. 21.

The concept of private property and enclosures accelerated across Europe and America throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Privatization was justified by the rationale that shared resources were subject to overuse and misuse by individuals, who will always act in their own short-term self-interests, a scenario popularized by microbiologist Garrett Hardin centuries later in a 1968 Science article, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Hardin drew on the parable of a field used for grazing cattle. “Picture a pasture open to all,” he wrote. “A herdsman grazing his animals on the land will have an incentive to “add another animal to his herd. And another; and another. . . .


pages: 494 words: 142,285

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig

AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, Bill Atkinson, business process, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Erik Brynjolfsson, Garrett Hardin, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Larry Wall, Leonard Kleinrock, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game

With a rivalrous resource, I must still worry that I will reap enough benefit to make it worth it to sow. But I must worry as well that others not deplete the resource that I've produced. If a rivalrous resource is open to all, there is a risk that it will be depleted by the consumption of all. This depletion of a rivalrous resource is the dynamic that biologist Garrett Hardin famously termed “the tragedy of the commons.”7 “Picture a pasture open to all,” Hardin writes, and consider the expected behavior of “herdsmen” who roam that pasture. Each herdsman must decide whether to add one more animal to his herd. In making a decision to do so, Hardin writes, the herdsman reaps a benefit, while everyone else suffers.

When it benefits the ends to restrict access, when it benefits the ends to discriminate, then the ends will restrict and discriminate regardless of the effect on others. Here, then, we have the beginnings of a classic “tragedy of the commons.”46 For if keeping the network as a commons provides a benefit to all, yet closing individual links in the network provides a benefit to individuals, then by the logic that Garrett Hardin describes in chapter 2 above, we should expect the network “naturally” to slide from dot.commons to dot.control. We should expect these private incentives for control to displace the public benefit of neutrality.47 The closing of the network by the cable companies at the code layer is one example of this slide.

Not all liability rule cases will eliminate this core of discretion. But the system is structured to avoid it. 6 Virgil, Virgil in English Rhythm, 2nd ed., Robert Corbet Singleton, trans. (London: Bell and Daldy [imprint], 1871), iii-iv (“There is a common of language to which both poetry and prose have the freest access.”). 7 Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1243. The idea of congestion externalities of course predates Hardin. See Posner, “Economic Analysis of Law,” 32-34, citing Frank H. Knight, “Some Fallacies in the Interpretation of Social Cost,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 38 (1924): 582. 8 Hardin, 1244 (emphasis added). 9 Ostrom, ch. 3; Robert C.


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Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin

AltaVista, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Graeber, Debian, disinformation, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Garrett Hardin, GnuPG, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Ida Tarbell, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, medical residency, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, prediction markets, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, RFID, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, security theater, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, Steven Levy, Tragedy of the Commons, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

even a few freshwater mussels: Michael Scott, “Freshwater Mussels Found in Cuyahoga River, Indicating Improved Water Quality,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 22, 2009, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2009/08/freshwater_mussels_found_in_cu.html. To understand the links: Dennis Hirsch, in discussion with author, July 26, 2011. as portrayed in Garrett Hardin’s: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (December 13, 1968): 1423–48, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full. “The risk here is that eventually”: Dennis Hirsch, in discussion with author, July 26, 2011. This is the argument put forth: David Brin, The Transparent Society (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

To understand the links between privacy and pollution, I called Dennis Hirsch, a professor of environmental law at the Capital University Law School in Ohio, who has been studying privacy and environmental law for a decade. Hirsch compared institutions that mine individuals’ personal data to ranchers who overgraze their cattle on commonly owned grasslands, as portrayed in Garrett Hardin’s seminal 1968 essay in Science magazine, “Tragedy of the Commons.” Hardin described how each rancher seeks to increase profits by adding cattle to his herd, even though too many cattle will overgraze and ruin the pasture for all. “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all,” Hardin wrote. Hirsch described excessive data mining as a similar tragedy of the commons.


Bulletproof Problem Solving by Charles Conn, Robert McLean

active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset allocation, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, future of work, Garrett Hardin, Hyperloop, Innovator's Dilemma, inventory management, iterative process, loss aversion, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, nudge unit, Occam's razor, pattern recognition, pets.com, prediction markets, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, stem cell, sunk-cost fallacy, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, time value of money, Tragedy of the Commons, transfer pricing, Vilfredo Pareto, walkable city, WikiLeaks

But this work shows a large number of promising avenues to fight obesity that have a strong evidence base, and reasonable costs relative to the economic burdens this epidemic imposes on society. Overfishing: The Quintessential Wicked Problem Environmental degradation is one of the most pervasive wicked problems. The famous article by Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” written in 1968,10 influenced many to reach the view that so‐called common‐pool resources, such as public land, water, or fisheries, required either government intervention or private ownership to avoid overuse. Elinor Ostrom, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, showed that there are solutions available to the problems of the commons, some of which are long‐standing arrangements among resource users that have elements of community management via norms, and elements that mimic private ownership via certain kinds of harvest rights.11 Let's look at an example of fisheries reform that employed clever problem solving to achieve much better outcomes.

., “Risk of Childhood Overweight or Obesity Associated with Excessive Weight Gain During Pregnancy: A Meta‐Analysis,” Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics 289, no. 2 (2014): 247–257. 7  US data source provided by Professor Desiree Silva, the ORIGINS project at Joondalup Health Campus, Western Australia. 8  Submission 10 to Senate Select Enquiry into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia, July 2018. 9  Walk Economy, The Place Report (2016), 7. 10  Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science (December 13, 1968). 11  Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons (Cambridge University Press, 1990). 12  Oral communications, Chuck Cook and Charles Conn, August–October, 2017. 13  Mark Tercek and Jonathan Adams, Nature's Fortune (Island Press, 2015). 14  Morro Bay Commercial Fisheries. 2015 Economic Impact Report Working Waterfront Edition. 15  Morro Bay Commercial Fisheries. 2015 Economic Impact Report Working Waterfront Edition.


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Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Garrett Hardin, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Money creation, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, salary depends on his not understanding it, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

The household supplies labour and capital to the market, but there’s no need to lift the roof and ask what goes on within its four walls: wives and daughters kindly take care of domestic affairs and they belong in the home, as does this matter. THE COMMONS, which are tragic – so sell them off. In the 1960s, Garrett Hardin described ‘the tragedy of the commons’ in which shared resources – such as grazing land and fish stocks – tend to be over-exploited by individual users and so are depleted for all.12 Managing such resources sustainably therefore calls for government regulation or, better still, private ownership.

Natural commons have traditionally emerged in communities seeking to steward Earth’s ‘common pool’ resources, such as grazing land, fisheries, watersheds and forests. Cultural commons serve to keep alive a community’s language, heritage and rituals, myths and music, traditional knowledge and practice. And the fast-growing digital commons are stewarded collaboratively online, co-creating open-source software, social networks, information and knowledge. Garrett Hardin’s description of the commons as ‘tragic’ – which fitted so neatly into the neoliberal script – arose from his belief that, if left as open access to all, then pastures, forests and fishing grounds would inevitably be overused and depleted. He was most probably right about that, but ‘open access’ is far from how successful commons are actually governed.

In case after case, investors’ promises to create new jobs, enrich community infrastructure and skill-up local farmers have come to nothing: instead many communities have found themselves dispossessed, dispersed and impoverished.41 Adam Smith’s celebration of the self-organising market underpinned the justification given for turning land into private property, a justification that was later reinforced by Garrett Hardin’s claim that the commons are inherently tragic. But, as we saw in Chapter 2, Elinor Ostrom challenged that belief when she started drawing attention to the equally powerful alternative of self-organising in the commons, and proved Hardin wrong. Gathering a rich array of case studies of ‘common-pool’ resource users, from Southern India to Southern California, she and her colleagues analysed how diverse communities had, sometimes for generations, successfully collaborated in harvesting, stewarding, and sustaining forests, fishing grounds and waterways.42 Many of those communities, in fact, managed their land and its common-pool resources better than markets did, and better than comparable state-run schemes.


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Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Broken windows theory, call centre, David Graeber, domesticated silver fox, Donald Trump, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Garrett Hardin, Hans Rosling, invention of writing, invisible hand, knowledge economy, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, placebo effect, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, surveillance capitalism, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, universal basic income, World Values Survey

But for advertising you’re allowed to deface public space and economists will call it ‘growth’. The concept of the commons gained currency with a piece published in the journal Science by American biologist Garrett Hardin. This was 1968, a time of revolution. Millions of demonstrators around the world took to the streets in protest, rallying to the cry: ‘Be realistic. Demand the impossible.’ But not the conservative Garrett Hardin. His six-page paper made short work of hippie idealism. Title? ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’. ‘Picture a pasture open to all,’ Hardin wrote. ‘It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons.’

Since common property was tragically doomed to fail, we needed either the visible hand of the state to do its salutary work, or the invisible hand of the market to save us. It seemed these two flavours – the Kremlin or Wall Street – were the only options available. Then, after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, only one remained. Capitalism had won, and we became Homo economicus. 4 To be fair, at least one person was never swayed by Garrett Hardin’s arguments. Elinor Ostrom was an ambitious political economist and researcher at a time when universities didn’t exactly welcome women. And, unlike Hardin, Ostrom had little interest in theoretical models. She wanted to see how real people behave in the real world. It didn’t take her long to realise there was one crucial detail Hardin’s paper had overlooked.


pages: 377 words: 89,000

Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All by Paul A. Offit M.D.

Albert Einstein, Garrett Hardin, germ theory of disease, longitudinal study, Ronald Reagan, Tragedy of the Commons

So why are more and more parents choosing not to vaccinate their children? The answer can be found in part in the writings of a professor of biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara who has explained why, under certain circumstances, a choice not to get a vaccine is far more rational than a choice to get one. In 1968, Garrett Hardin published an essay in the journal Science called “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Hardin was interested in the problem of population control, but his observations can easily be applied to the problem of vaccine refusal. “Picture a pasture open to all,” he wrote. “It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons.

., “Parental Refusal of Pertussis Vaccination Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Pertussis Infection in Children,” Pediatrics 123 (2009): 1446-1451. 144 International impact of anti-vaccine activism: E. J. Gangarosa, A. M. Galazka, C. R. Wolfe, et al., “Impact of Anti-Vaccine Movements on Pertussis Control: The Untold Story,” The Lancet 351 (1998): 356- 361. 144 Garrett Hardin essay: G. Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1243-1248. All Hardin quotes are from this essay. 146 Stephanie Tatel: S. Tatel, “A Pox on You,” http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2232977. All Tatel quotes are from this essay. 147 Hardin’s second essay: G.


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Garrett Hardin, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Conference 1984, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption,” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 26(1) (2012), http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publica tions/2012/unlicensed_wireless_v_licensed_spectrum (accessed October 23, 2013). 51. “Auctions,” U.S. Federal Communications Commission, http://www.fcc.gov/topic/auctions (accessed June 4, 2013). Chapter 10 1. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162(3859) (December 13, 1968): 1244. 2. Ibid., 1243–48. 3. Garrett Hardin, “Political Requirements for Preserving Our Common Heritage,” in Wildlife and America, ed. Howard P. Brokaw (Washington, DC: Council on Environmental Quality, 1978), 310–17. 4. Carol Rose, “The Comedy of the Commons,” University of Chicago Law Review 53(3) (1986): 720. 5.

Unfortunately, in modern times, its reputation has been tarnished, first by Enlightenment philosophers and, more recently, by conventional economists committed to replacing it with a ubiquitous private property regime and market exchange model. Likely the most well-known contemporary depiction of the Commons—albeit a thoroughly negative one—is Garrett Hardin’s essay entitled “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which appeared in the journal Science in 1968. A professor of ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hardin posed the hypothetical situation of a pasture “open to all.” Each herder benefits from grazing as many cows on the pasture as he can.


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Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Andrew Keen, Andy Carvin, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, c2.com, Charles Lindbergh, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Garrett Hardin, hiring and firing, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Kuiper Belt, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Merlin Mann, Metcalfe’s law, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, Picturephone, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, prediction markets, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Yochai Benkler, Yogi Berra

In historical terms, a potluck dinner or a barn raising is collaborative production (the members work together to create something), while a union or a government engages in collective action, action that is undertaken in the name of the members meant to change something out in the world, often in opposition to other groups committed to different outcomes. The commonest collective action problem is described as the “Tragedy of the Commons,” biologist Garrett Hardin’s phrase for situations wherein individuals have an incentive to damage the collective good. The Tragedy of the Commons is a simple pattern to explain, and once you understand it, you come to see it everywhere. The standard illustration of the problem uses sheep. Imagine you are one of a group of shepherds who graze their sheep on a commonly owned pasture.

Howard Rheingold, whose The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier, Basic Books (1993) was a critical early work on online community, is working on a multiyear study of cooperation in collaboration (www.cooperationcommons.com) with the Institute for the Future. Page 51: “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (3859), December 13, 1968, pp. 682-83. Garrett Hardin was a biologist, and the tragedy of the commons formulation often appears in discussions about natural resources. (There’s an online version at www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html ). A more mathematically rigorous view of the same problem appears in Mancur Olson’s The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Harvard University Press (1965).


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The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Garrett Hardin, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Herbert Marcuse, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

When President Lyndon Johnson’s adviser Joseph Califano suggested that an increase in famine relief should be announced before a visit by Indira Gandhi to the United States, Johnson supposedly replied that he was not going to ‘piss away foreign aid in nations where they refuse to deal with their own population problems’. Garrett Hardin, in his famous essay ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ (remembered these days as being about collective action, but actually a long argument for coerced population control), found ‘freedom to breed intolerable’, coercion ‘a necessity’ and that ‘the only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon.’

Human beings are a species that stops its own population expansions once the division of labour reaches the point at which individuals are all trading goods and services with each other, rather than trying to be self-sufficient. The more interdependent and well-off we all become, the more population will stabilise well within the resources of the planet. As Ron Bailey puts it, in complete contradiction of Garrett Hardin: ‘There is no need to impose coercive population control measures; economic freedom actually generates a benign invisible hand of population control.’ Most economists are now more worried about the effects of imploding populations than they are about exploding ones. Countries with very low birth rates have rapidly ageing workforces.

p. 200 ‘On average a merchant in Britain who left £1,000 in his will had four surviving children, while a labourer who left £10 had only two’. Clark, G. 2007. A Farewell to Alms. Princeton University Press. p. 203 ‘Johnson supposedly replied’. Epstein, H. 2008. The strange history of birth control. New York Review of Books, 18 August 2008. p. 203 ‘Garrett Hardin, in his famous essay’. Hardin, G. 1968. The tragedy of the commons. Science 162:1243–8. p. 203 ‘Hardin’s view was nearly universal’. An exception was Barry Commoner, who argued at the UN conference on population in Stockholm in 1972 that the demographic transition would solve population growth without coercion.


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Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies by Charles de Ganahl Koch

Albert Einstein, big-box store, British Empire, business process, commoditize, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Garrett Hardin, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, oil shale / tar sands, personalized medicine, principal–agent problem, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, transfer pricing

Even if an upstanding renter (ahem) wanted to dispose of his garbage properly, there was no way to walk through that alley, because of the trash pileup. None of us owned this alley or had the power to stop others from trashing it. So none of us took care of it. This is an example of what is called the “tragedy of the commons.” Ecologist Garrett Hardin coined that phrase to describe what happens when herdsmen graze animals on shared grazing land, referred to as the commons.2 A rational herdsman will add as many animals as he can graze, because he receives all the proceeds when the additional animals are fed, and later sold, but he bears almost none of the cost of grazing—until the commons is depleted.

Michael Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors (New York: The Free Press, 1998), p. xiv. 6. Peter Drucker, “What Executives Should Remember,” Harvard Business Review 84, no. 2 (February 2006). 7. Thorpe, How to Think Like Einstein, p. 35. Chapter 9: DECISION RIGHTS 1. Aristotle’s Politics, 1261b. 2. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (December 1968), pp. 1243–48. 3. http://blog.chron.com​/newswatchenergy​/2010/04/​bp-ceo-on-gulf-rig-disaster-how-the-hell-could-this-happen. (The date of the CEO’s remarks is April 28, 2010.) 4. Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (Chicago: Regnery Co., 1963), p. 311.


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Exponential: How Accelerating Technology Is Leaving Us Behind and What to Do About It by Azeem Azhar

23andMe, 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, digital map, disinformation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Garrett Hardin, gender pay gap, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, hiring and firing, hockey-stick growth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, independent contractor, industrial robot, intangible asset, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, price anchoring, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software as a service, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, subscription business, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing machine, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, winner-take-all economy, Yom Kippur War

In the Friedmanite world view, the state is usually an incompetent, bloated actor. Even on the left, though, the basic logic of the market/state binary is accepted – progressives just have a more optimistic view of government. The trouble is, this dichotomy is flawed. It conceals other, often more productive, ways of organising our lives. One contemporary of Friedman’s, Garrett Hardin, became famous for a 1968 essay called ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, which mournfully argues that any resource that is freely available will be overused.41 The commons are the things that are shared communally – the fish in international waters, or a forest that is shared between a community.

i=1000510469428> [accessed 5 April 2021]. 39 will.i.am, ‘We Need to Own Our Data as a Human Right—and Be Compensated for It’, The Economist, 21 January 2019 <https://www.economist.com/open-future/2019/01/21/we-need-to-own-our-data-as-a-human-right-and-be-compensated-for-it> [accessed 18 October 2020]. 40 Martin Tisné, ‘It’s Time for a Bill of Data Rights’, MIT Technology Review, 14 December 2018 <https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/12/14/138615/its-time-for-a-bill-of-data-rights/> [accessed 8 October 2020]. 41 Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 162(3859), 1968, pp. 1243–1248 <https://doi.org/10.1126/science.162.3859.1243>. 42 For a good discussion of Hardin and Ostrom’s relative contributions to this debate, see Brett Frischmann, Alain Marciano and Giovanni Battista Ramello, ‘Retrospectives: Tragedy of the Commons after 50 Years’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33(4), 2019, pp. 211–228 <https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.33.4.211>. 43 Carol Rose, ‘The Comedy of the Commons: Custom, Commerce, and Inherently Public Property’, The University of Chicago Law Review, 53(3), 1986.


Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Garrett Hardin, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, one-state solution, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population

Environmental constraints threaten to deprive the company of future profits, a crime that can be punished under the rules of the investor-rights regime mislabeled as “free trade.”8 And this is only a tiny sample of struggles underway over much of the world, some involving extreme violence, as in the eastern Congo, where millions have been killed in recent years to ensure an ample supply of minerals for cell phones and other uses, and, of course, ample profits.9 The rise of capitalist practice and morality brought with it a radical revision of how the commons are treated, and also how they are conceived of. The prevailing view today is captured by Garrett Hardin’s influential argument that “freedom in a commons brings ruin to us all,” the famous “tragedy of the commons”: what is not owned will be destroyed by individual avarice.10 An international counterpart was the concept of terra nullius, employed to justify the expulsion of indigenous populations in the settler-colonial societies of the Anglosphere, or their “extermination,” as the founding fathers of the American republic described what they were doing, sometimes with remorse, after the fact.

Emily Achtenberg, “From Water Wars to Water Scarcity: Bolivia’s Cautionary Tale,” NACLA Report on the Americas, 6 June 2013, https://nacla.org/blog/2013/6/5/water-wars-water-scarcity-bolivia%E2%80%99s-cautionary-tale.   8. Randal C. Archibold, “El Salvador: Canadian Lawsuit over Mine Allowed to Proceed,” New York Times, 5 June 2012.   9. Erin Banco, “Is Your Cell Phone Fueling Civil War in Congo?,” Atlantic, July 11, 2011. 10. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 13 December 1968, 1243–48. 11. See Paul Corcoran, “John Locke on the Possession of Land: Native Title vs. the ‘Principle’ of Vacuum domicilium.” Paper presented at the Australian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, September 2007, https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/44958/1/hdl_44958.pdf. 12.


pages: 463 words: 105,197

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society by Eric Posner, E. Weyl

3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, feminist movement, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, global supply chain, guest worker program, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, market bubble, market design, market friction, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, negative equity, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, Pareto efficiency, passive investing, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Rory Sutherland, Second Machine Age, second-price auction, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, telepresence, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, Zipcar

At the time, investment inefficiency for land was not considered a problem, because people thought that land did not need maintenance and the only value that could be added to land was through above-ground structures like houses. But these assumptions ignored environmental damage. As ecologist Garrett Hardin observed many years later, land without a single owner often becomes overgrazed, eroded, and polluted in what he labeled the “tragedy of the commons.”19 George’s scheme ran into even greater problems with natural resources that can be depleted, like metal from mines or oil from wells. If all the value of land is taxed away, the possessor of such a resource will remove the oil or ore as quickly as possible, leading to waste.

We will see more about Lange’s ideas below. 14. Walras, Studies in Social Economics, 234. 15. George, Progress and Poverty, 223. 16. George, Progress and Poverty, 244. 17. http://landlordsgame.info/. 18. George R. Geiger, The Philosophy of Henry George. Introduction by John Dewey xxii (MacMillan Co., 1933). 19. Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons, 162 Science 1243 (1968). 20. Harold Schiffrin, Sun Yat-sen’s Early Land Policy: The Origin and Meaning of “Equalization of Land Rights,” 16 Journal of Asian Studies 549, 555 (1957). 21. Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (Harper & Brothers, 1942). 22.


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The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disinformation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Garrett Hardin, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game

It encapsulates the idea that we can embed into these “programmable” forms of money a way to steer communities toward desired common outcomes. Tokens might help us solve the Tragedy of the Commons. In other words, they could be a big deal. The Tragedy of the Commons concept stems from a 1968 essay by the ecologist Garrett Hardin. Hardin tells the story of nineteenth-century farmers over-grazing the public land they shared because none of them could trust their counterparts not to let their livestock eat more than their fair share. It has long been used as a cautionary tale about the need for government to regulate access to a public resource—in the farmers’ case, land.

Perhaps inevitably, consumers are turning to ad-blocking software: “Basic Asset Token (BAT): Blockchain Based Digital Advertising,” May 29, 2017, p. 9, https://basicattentiontoken.org/BasicAttentionTokenWhitePaper-4.pdf. The idea is to create price signals: ibid. The Tragedy of the Commons concept stems from a 1968 essay: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, December 13, 1968, 162 (3859): pp. 1243–1248. The Economist described as a twenty-first-century resource: “The World’s Most Valuable Resource Is No Longer Oil, But Data,” The Economist, May 6, 2017, https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21721656-data-economy-demands-new-approach-antitrust-rules-worlds-most-valuable-resource.


pages: 505 words: 142,118

A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp

3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Bear Stearns, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy and hold, buy low sell high, caloric restriction, caloric restriction, carried interest, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Edward Thorp, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, Garrett Hardin, George Santayana, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, High speed trading, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, Mason jar, merger arbitrage, Murray Gell-Mann, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Norbert Wiener, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical arbitrage, stem cell, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, tail risk, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the rule of 72, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, Works Progress Administration

The notion is of limited use, because most markets are not as Smith assumed. Take computer chips: 99.8 percent of them, worldwide, are made by just two US companies, and the smaller one is fighting to survive. An opposite concept to the magic of the invisible hand is “the tragedy of the commons,” as explained in 1968 by Garrett Hardin. Imagine a natural resource that anyone can freely use, such as—once upon a time—catching fish in the ocean. In the eighteenth century, schools of cod were so vast that Benjamin Franklin was amazed when his ship plowed through them for days at a time. Now, after two centuries of overfishing, this population has collapsed.

Wall Street Journal (as reprinted in The Orange County Register, May 11, 2014, Business, page 3) says a study by the Economic Policy Institute found that for the 350 companies with the largest sales, CEOs received 18 times the pay of their workers in 1965 but were compensated 201 times as much, on average, in 2012. as Moshe Adler Adler, Moshe, “Overthrowing the Overpaid,” Los Angeles Times Opinion, page A15, January 4, 2010. CHAPTER 30 Garrett Hardin Hardin, Garrett, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, Vol. 162, No. 3859 December 13, 1968, pp. 1243–48. protects my neighbors Vaccination is a positive externality as it protects others from contracting a disease from the recipient. collection of insights Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T.


pages: 692 words: 167,950

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Prud'Homme

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, carbon footprint, clean water, commoditize, corporate raider, Deep Water Horizon, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Garrett Hardin, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Joan Didion, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, megacity, oil shale / tar sands, oil-for-food scandal, peak oil, renewable energy credits, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, urban sprawl, William Langewiesche

See also Campana, “The Human Right to Water.” 357 240,000 water pipes burst every year: “Aging Water Infrastructure,” US Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs /600f07015/600f07015.pdf. 357 650 water mains break every day: “ITT’s Value of Water Survey Reveals That Americans Are Ready to Fix Our Nation’s Crumbling Water Infrastructure,” October 27, 2010. 357 made of wood: Michael Cooper, “Aging of Water Mains Is Becoming Hard to Ignore,” New York Times, April 17, 2009. 357 “dawn of the replacement era”: “Water infrastructure at a turning point,” American Water Works Association, 2010. 357 America’s water systems cost $1 trillion a year: “FAQ,” American Water.com. 357 will require a $334 billion investment: Mae Wu, “More money to improve drinking water,” Natural Resources Defense Council, May 12, 2010. 357 the US Conference of Mayors: Bob Herbert, “The Corrosion of America,” New York Times, October 26, 2010. 358 Garrett Hardin: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, December 13, 1968. 358 Bob Hirsch: http://water.usgs.gov/dispatch/2008/podcast/wolman-lecture-transcript.html. 358 Stephen Ambrose’s writings: Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996). 359 “The Nation’s Rivers”: M.

THE AGE OF RESTORATION The greatest threat to freshwater supplies is human indifference. It has allowed disease, poverty, conflict, and environmental destruction to proliferate. Some fear that humans have already passed the world’s hydrologic tipping point. In an influential 1968 article in Science, titled “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Garrett Hardin, a leading American ecologist, wrote of “the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment” and described the pattern by which people acting in their own self-interest destroy shared resources. The hypothetical example he used focused on medieval farmers who shared a field, “the commons,” and allowed their cattle to graze indiscriminately.


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This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, Garrett Hardin, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Many problems that challenge us today can be traced back to a profound tension between what is good and desirable for society as a whole and what is good and desirable for an individual. That conflict can be found in global problems such as climate change, pollution, resource depletion, poverty, hunger, and overpopulation. As once argued by the American ecologist Garrett Hardin, the biggest issues of all—saving the planet and maximizing the collective lifetime of the species Homo sapiens—cannot be solved by technology alone. If we are to win the struggle for existence and avoid a precipitous fall, there’s no choice but to harness this extraordinary creative force. It is down to all of us to refine and extend our ability to cooperate.

A good rule of thumb, then, when confronting the apparent magic of the world of life and mind is: Look for the cycles that are doing all the hard work. Keystone Consumers Jennifer Jacquet Postdoctoral researcher in environmental economics, University of British Columbia When it comes to common resources, a failure to cooperate is a failure to control consumption. In Garrett Hardin’s classic tragedy, everyone overconsumes and equally contributes to the detriment of the commons. But a relative few can also ruin a resource for the rest of us. Biologists are familiar with the term “keystone species,” coined in 1969 after Robert Paine’s intertidal exclusion experiments. Paine found that by removing the few five-limbed carnivores—the purple sea star, Pisaster ochraceus—from the seashore, he could cause an overabundance of its prey, mussels, and a sharp decline in diversity.


pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, disinformation, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Garrett Hardin, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, Tragedy of the Commons, two and twenty, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

A swelling population is blotting up the earth’s food.” They confidently added, “Our technology will be unable to increase food production in time to avert the deaths of tens of millions people by starvation.” In his famous 1968 essay “The Tragedy of the Commons,” published in the journal Science, ecologist Garrett Hardin flatly declared, “The freedom to breed is intolerable.” To illustrate the harms of the freedom to breed, he conjures up the arresting example of a pasture open to all people in a village. Each herdsman, seeking to maximize his individual gain, puts as many cattle on the pasture as possible, leading eventually to its destruction from overgrazing.

During that time, female literacy rose to 90 percent; 50 percent of the workforce is now female; and fertility fell from 6 children per woman in the 1960s to 1.5 today. Although Thailand is classified as only moderately free on the economic freedom index, its gross domestic product (GDP) grew in terms of purchasing power parity from just over $1,000 per capita in 1960 to over $8,500 per capita in 2012. Back in 1968, Garrett Hardin declared, “There is no prosperous population in the world today that has, and has had for some time, a growth rate of zero.” That’s no longer true. Japan is now experiencing a fall in its population due largely to reduced fertility, as are Germany, Russia, Italy, Poland, and some 20 other countries and territories.


Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold

A Pattern Language, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business climate, citizen journalism, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, disinformation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, experimental economics, experimental subject, Extropian, Garrett Hardin, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hockey-stick growth, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telephone, inventory management, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, more computing power than Apollo, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, pez dispenser, planetary scale, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, slashdot, social intelligence, spectrum auction, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, web of trust, Whole Earth Review, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game

The land can support a limited number of grazing animals. The temptation to graze more than one’s share is a rational strategy for an individual herder. But if everyone succumbs to the same temptation, the grass ceases to grow, and the value of the pasture disappears.” I recognized this as the situation Garrett Hardin named in a much-debated article titled “The Tragedy of the Commons,” in which Hardin concluded: “Therein is the tragedy. 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 in the freedom of the commons.

Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1993). 3. Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959).Cooperation 4. Matt Ridley, The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of (London: Penguin, 1996). 5. Ibid. 6. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (13 December 1968): 12431248. 7. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Richard E. Flathman and David Johnston (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997). 8. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952). 9. Mancur Olson Jr., The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Group (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965). 10.


pages: 416 words: 112,268

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic bias, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Garrett Hardin, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, robotic process automation, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, surveillance capitalism, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game

It’s just one of many approaches that game theorists have tried in their efforts to obtain less depressing solutions to the prisoner’s dilemma.27 Another famous example of an undesirable equilibrium is the tragedy of the commons, first analyzed in 1833 by the English economist William Lloyd28 but named, and brought to global attention, by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968.29 The tragedy arises when several people can consume a shared resource—such as common grazing land or fish stocks—that replenishes itself slowly. Absent any social or legal constraints, the only Nash equilibrium among selfish (non-altruistic) agents is for each to consume as much as possible, leading to rapid collapse of the resource.

For an interesting trust-based solution to the prisoner’s dilemma and other games, see Joshua Letchford, Vincent Conitzer, and Kamal Jain, “An ‘ethical’ game-theoretic solution concept for two-player perfect-information games,” in Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Web and Internet Economics, ed. Christos Papadimitriou and Shuzhong Zhang (Springer, 2008). 28. Origin of the tragedy of the commons: William Forster Lloyd, Two Lectures on the Checks to Population (Oxford University, 1833). 29. Modern revival of the topic in the context of global ecology: Garrett Hardin, “The tragedy of the commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1243–48. 30. It’s quite possible that even if we had tried to build intelligent machines from chemical reactions or biological cells, those assemblages would have turned out to be implementations of Turing machines in nontraditional materials.


Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, Chelsea Manning, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Garrett Hardin, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Slavoj Žižek, Stanislav Petrov, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

This is only one example of struggles under way over much of the world, some with extreme violence, as in resource-rich eastern Congo, where millions have been killed in recent years to ensure an ample supply of minerals for cellphones and other uses, and of course ample profits. The dismantling of the Charter of the Forest brought with it a radical revision of how the commons are conceived, captured by Garrett Hardin’s influential thesis in 1968 that “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to us all,” the famous “tragedy of the commons”: What is not privately owned will be destroyed by individual avarice. The doctrine is not without challenge. Elinor Olstrom won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009 for her work showing the superiority of user-managed commons.


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The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, Garrett Hardin, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yochai Benkler, young professional

The first is the most basic—why on earth would people or institutions give up ownership or control of their valuable practical expertise and willingly share it with others in the commons? For the reasons just discussed, would they not want to maintain exclusivity? Would this not be to forgo an opportunity for profit? The second misgiving is that the practical expertise, if held in a commons, might be overused. Garrett Hardin, an ecologist, called this phenomenon the ‘tragedy of the commons’. In a widely cited article in Science in 1968, Hardin invited readers to imagine a group of shepherds who share a pasture, where each shepherd must decide how many sheep to put out to graze. If shepherds act out of self-interest alone, the result would be a ‘tragedy’—each shepherd would enjoy the full benefit of putting each extra sheep out to graze (plumper and healthier sheep), but only suffer part of the cost of doing so (more arid and slightly less verdant pasture, the full cost of which would be borne by all the shepherds, and not just by one).

An updated version of their thinking is found in ‘Dancing with Robots’ (2013), at <http://content.thirdway.org/publications/714/Dancing-With-Robots.pdf> (accessed 25 March 2015). 36 What we say here is consistent with the observation by Frey and Osborne, in a much-discussed paper, that ‘Computer capital can now equally substitute for a wide range of tasks commonly defined as non-routine.’ See Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, ‘The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation’, 17 Sept. 2013 <http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf> (accessed 23 March 2015). 37 Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 162: 3859 (1968), 1243–8. 38 Jeremy Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014). 39 Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks (2006), 153. 40 Benkler, The Wealth of Networks, 221–2. 41 Carol Rose, ‘The Comedy of the Commons: Commerce, Custom, and Inherently Public Property’, University of Chicago Law Review, 53: 3 (1986), 711–81.


pages: 379 words: 114,807

The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce

activist lawyer, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, British Empire, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate raider, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, Garrett Hardin, index fund, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nelson Mandela, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, smart cities, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, undersea cable, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks

Pastoralism’s PR is dreadful. Stories of overgrazing and “desertification” spread around the world, often told by farmers who want the pastoralists’ land. Pastoralists are seen as the big villains in the environmentalists’ narrative of the “tragedy of the commons,” in which the American ecologist Garrett Hardin posited that sharing the environment doesn’t work. According to Hardin, when there are common pastures, those with the most animals will make the most profit, while everyone, however many or few animals they have, will share in the suffering as the pasture is overgrazed. The only rational response is therefore to graze as many animals as you can till the pasture turns to dust.

Zwarts’s hydrology is discussed in more detail in “The Niger, a Lifeline,” http://www.altwym.nl (2005), and “Will the Inner Niger Delta Shrivel Up Due to Climate Change and Water Use Downstream?” http://www.wetlands.org (2009). Chapter 26: Badia, Jordan I visited the Jordanian Badia in 1995 and wrote about the journey in “Shepherds Wise Men,” http://www.newscientist.com. Garrett Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons,” is at http://www.sciencemag.org (1968). IUCN reports are discussed in “Global Review of the Economics of Pastoralism,” cmsdata.iucn.org (2006). Further details about Oromia are provided in “Putting Pastoralists on the Policy Agenda: Land Alienation in Southern Ethiopia,” http://pubs.iied.org (2010); “Pastoralists in Southern Ethiopia,” http://www.drylands-group.org (2008); and “Indian Company Given Oromia Land Twice the Size of Singapore,” http://www.jimmatimes.com (2011).


pages: 196 words: 53,627

Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders by Jason L. Riley

affirmative action, business cycle, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Garrett Hardin, guest worker program, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, mass immigration, open borders, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Silicon Valley, trade liberalization, War on Poverty, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

Tanton is a retired ophthalmologist who lives in the tiny northern Michigan town of Petoskey (population 6,000), which is about as far from the front lines of the immigration brouhaha as you can get. A longtime environmentalist and member of the Sierra Club and Audubon Society, he turned his attention to population control in the 1960s after becoming familiar with the works of antinatal zealots like Paul Ehrlich and the late ecologist Garrett Hardin. If you think zealot is too strong a word, know that Ehrlich has said all U.S. aid to developing nations should be conditioned on the sterilization of Third World fathers with more than two children. And Hardin once asserted that “the freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” Hardin also believed that “either there must be a relatively painless weeding out before birth or a more painful and wasteful elimination of individuals after birth.”


pages: 421 words: 125,417

Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey Sachs

agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, energy security, failed state, Garrett Hardin, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, Haber-Bosch Process, impact investing, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, mass immigration, microcredit, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, peak oil, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, unemployed young men, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population

The rate of harvesting (fishing, logging, or grazing) can dramatically exceed the natural regrowth rate of the natural population of fish, trees, or grasses. In this case, the commons will be depleted. This recognition that an open-access resource will give rise to rapid depletion was famously termed the “tragedy of the commons” by Garrett Hardin in 1968. Just as with pollution control, there are many mechanisms to limit the rate of harvesting to a sustainable level. One method is to introduce tradable permits for harvesting, akin to the tradable permits for pollution emissions. The most efficient fishing fleets, which stand to make the highest profits on fishing, will buy more permits.

Holdren, “One-Dimensional Ecology,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 1972, pp. 16–27. 34 innovations systems: My colleague Richard Nelson has been the world’s leading scholar on mapping the structure and performance of these innovation systems in many parts of the world. For further reading see: Richard Nelson, ed., National Innovation Systems: A Comparative Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). 38 “tragedy of the commons”: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1243–48. 38 variety of quota systems: J. R. Beddington et al., “Current Problems in the Management of Fisheries,” Science 316 (June 22, 2007): 1713–16. 39 Community-based management: See Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Economics of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) and Partha Dasgupta, “Common Property Resources: Economic Analytics,” in N.


pages: 653 words: 155,847

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, California gold rush, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Copley Medal, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Dmitri Mendeleev, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, flex fuel, Garrett Hardin, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, nuclear winter, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Simon Kuznets, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Vanguard fund, working poor, young professional

Since the mill owner didn’t own the underground water except as it filled his well, the court awarded him no relief when his well went dry.32 As with water, so with petroleum. The surface of the earth belonged to those who held title, but the oil under the surface belonged to no one until it was found and taken, and whoever took it first made it his property. This common-law principle, called the rule of capture, establishes a condition that the biologist Garrett Hardin, in a historic 1968 paper in the journal Science, called “The Tragedy of the Commons.”33 The tragedy of the commons—of any resource held in common by a community—is that each user is motivated to use as much of the resource as possible without regard for its depletion or despoiling. With petroleum, the tragedy of the commons meant that each well owner was motivated to pump as much oil as possible as quickly as possible, before other wells drained away the common supply.

Quoted in Joseph W. Dellapenna, “A Primer on Groundwater Law,” Idaho Law Review 49 (2012): 272, from Westmoreland Cambria Nat. Gas Co. v. Dewitt, 18 A. 724, 725 (Pa. 1889). 32. Acton v. Blundell, (1843) 152 Eng. Re1223 (Exch. Chamber). The English Reports: Exchequer, ed. W. Green, 1915, 1233. 33. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (December 13, 1968): 1243–48. 34. Ibid., 1244. 35. Ida M. Tarbell, All in the Day’s Work: An Autobiography (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985; first published 1939 by Macmillan), 9. 36. Oil production in 1870: Giddens, Birth of the Oil Industry, 192–93.


pages: 319 words: 108,797

Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town by Lamorna Ash

Garrett Hardin, hive mind, invisible hand, Joan Didion, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Tragedy of the Commons, Year of Magical Thinking

The seas were mapped out and politicised, leading to terms of ownership like ‘Our Waters’ (as in ‘Get Our Waters Back’ the much-touted slogan of the Brexit Vote Leave campaign); and yet, though the sea is a site of damage, loss and corruption, it is also synonymous with life, generation and the flow of ideas between diverse places. It is all these things at once, every contradiction and inconsistency. In 1968 the biologist and ecologist Garrett Hardin published a paper called ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, in which he argued that individuals are motivated by their own self-interest to overuse common property. If the seas are left unchecked as a communal resource, Hardin explains, each man will ensure he spends as much time and effort at sea as to be certain no one else can take his share.

When the sea-faring peoples of Oceania consider their world, he writes, they do not think only of the islands, but ‘the surrounding ocean as far as they could traverse and exploit it, the underworld with its fire-controlling and earth-shaking denizens and the heavens above with their hierarchies of powerful gods and named stars and constellations that people could count on to guide their way across the seas’ – a sea of islands. Though Cornwall is a county in the UK and not a continent, I found Hau’Ofa’s image of a land that does not end with the land but extends out into the waters a powerful tool with which to consider Newlyn and Cornwall more generally. For Garrett Hardin, see ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, in Science, Vol. 162, no. 2859 (1968). For Elizabeth Bishop, see ‘The Fish’, in The Complete Poems. For Joseph Conrad, see The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’. CAREWORN For Dylan Thomas, see ‘Quite Early One Morning’, in Collected Stories (New York: New Directions, 1945, 1967, and London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2014).


pages: 505 words: 133,661

Who Owns England?: How We Lost Our Green and Pleasant Land, and How to Take It Back by Guy Shrubsole

back-to-the-land, Beeching cuts, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, congestion charging, deindustrialization, digital map, do-ocracy, Downton Abbey, financial deregulation, fixed income, Garrett Hardin, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, housing crisis, James Dyson, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, linked data, loadsamoney, mega-rich, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, openstreetmap, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Stewart Brand, the built environment, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, web of trust, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Appallingly, some commons have fallen into the hands of banks, chemical manufacturers and mining companies: one common in Surrey, for instance, is part-owned by the Worms Heath Gravel Company, and the site ‘appears to have been used partially as landfill’. The pillage of the commons by private owners and corporations gives the lie to the modern myth about the ‘tragedy of the commons’. This slander, that common land was a free-for-all where self-interested commoners depleted a shared resource, was propagated by the right-wing ecologist Garrett Hardin as a reason for extending private property rights. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Commons were closely regulated by local communities – a fact that can still be glimpsed in the modern registers of ownership, where occasional references to archaic commons officials open windows onto a forgotten world.

Three of the largest For a discussion of some of the complexities around common land registration and the New Forest, see the website of the New Forest Verderers (commoners), http://www.verderers.org­.uk/rights.html­ A fascinating survey https://data.gov­.uk/dataset/05c61ecc­-efa9­-4b7f­-8fe6­-9911afb44e1a/database-of-registered-common-land-in-england – see spreadsheet labelled ‘Commons register England, 2000’, from which I have drawn the examples cited, including that of Worms Heath common at Tandridge in Surrey, part-owned by the Worms Heath Gravel Company. appears to have been Aitchison et al., ‘The Common Lands of England’. This slander Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science 162: 3859 (13 December 1968), pp. 1243–8. One of the many critiques of Hardin’s ‘tragedy of the commons’ is Simon Fairlie, ‘A Short History of Enclosure in Britain’, The Land 7 (Summer 2009), http://www.thelandmagazine.org­.uk/articles/short­-history­-enclosure­-britain­ Piecemaster of Atherstone The commons officials listed here all appear in the ownership column in the Common Register of England (2000), https://data.gov­.uk/dataset/05c61ecc­-efa9­-4b7f­-8fe6­-9911afb44e1a/database-of-registered-common-land-in-england.


pages: 545 words: 137,789

How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities by John Cassidy

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Bear Stearns, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, different worldview, diversification, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, incomplete markets, index fund, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Network effects, Nick Leeson, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, Northern Rock, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, tail risk, Tax Reform Act of 1986, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, zero-sum game

With just two people playing the game, it is difficult to sustain a cooperative outcome. When there are ten, or twenty, or a hundred players, it is virtually impossible—a fact highly germane to the overexploitation of natural resources, such as tropical rain forests, the fish in the sea, and the sub-Saharan plains. In 1968, Garrett Hardin, a Texan ecologist who died in 2003, tackled this problem in a famous article, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” The example Hardin used was that of a pasture shared by local herders. The pasture is limited in size, and all the herders know that overgrazing will render it useless for everybody. At the same time, though, the herders’ incomes are determined by the size of their herds, which gives them an incentive to add more animals to the pasture.

THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA AND RATIONAL IRRATIONALITY 143 Flood’s babysitting experiment: See William Poundstone, The Prisoner’s Dilemma: John Von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 103. 143 Non-cooperative pair experiment: Ibid., 106–107. 145 “Both Flood and Dresher . . .”: Ibid., 122. 147 90 percent of the players choose: Ken Binmore, Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 21. 149 “Adding together the component . . .”: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1244. 150 “Game theorists get . . .”: Binmore, Game Theory, 67. 12. HIDDEN INFORMATION AND THE MARKET FOR LEMONS 151 “I belonged to . . .”: From George Akerlof’s Nobel autobiography, available at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2001/akerlof-autobio.html. 152 “a major reason as to why . . .”: George Akerlof, “Writing ‘The Market for Lemons’: A Personal and Interpretive Essay,” available at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/articles/akerlof/index.html. 153 “[M]ost cars traded . . .”: George Akerlof, “The Market for ‘Lemons’: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 84 (1970): 489. 154 “was potentially an issue . . .”: Akerlof, “Writing ‘The Market for Lemons.’ ” 155 “marginally attached”: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Issues in Labor Statistics, Summary 90–04 (April 2009): 1. 156 “it is quite possible . . .”: Akerlof, “The Market for ‘Lemons,’ ” 494. 157 2006 health care spending: “National Health Spending in 2006: A Year of Change for Prescription Drugs,” Health Affairs 27, no. 1 (2008): 14. 158 “The most obvious . . .”: Kenneth J.


The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain by Brett Christophers

Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Corn Laws, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, Diane Coyle, estate planning, Garrett Hardin, ghettoisation, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, late capitalism, market clearing, Martin Wolf, New Journalism, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, price stability, profit motive, Right to Buy, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, urban sprawl, wealth creators

I could have made this observation at more or less any point in this section, but this seems as good a place as any: our use of the land for enjoyment, as well as economic production, has ecological implications. Landownership always intermediates these effects. That it does so is, in fact, the central claim of one of the most famous interventions in the literature on environmental management, Garrett Hardin’s famous ‘tragedy of the commons’ thesis.3 Hardin claimed that holding land communally tends to have tragic ecological consequences because individuals lack incentives to use the land sustainably. I will say no more here about that thesis, or counter-arguments to it. It resurfaces in Chapter 3.

‘We believe’, said the enquiry team that in 1983 accused NHS property managers of a ‘casual’ attitude towards their assets, ‘that this attitude derives largely from the fact that property in the NHS is a “free good”’.2 A free good is a good that is, by definition, not scarce, the consumption or use of which therefore incurs no opportunity cost; thus there is, in essence, no incentive to ration one’s usage or not to use the good ‘casually’. Why, after all, would one be parsimonious in using land if no cost is incurred through not doing so? This argument can be thought of as a version of Garrett Hardin’s famous ‘tragedy of the commons’ thesis.3 Hardin argued that communally owned environmental resources are used inefficiently, and are ultimately degraded, because in such a context individuals lack the incentives necessary to encourage sustainable use. Critics of public landownership make much the same case: it is the nature of the system of ownership, and the attendant misalignment of incentives, that engenders inefficiency.


Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, disinformation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Garrett Hardin, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K

After all, Johnson had suggested economic growth was still possible “in a world where the Malthusian specter, more terrible than Malthus ever conceived, is so near to being a reality,” editorialized the Times.70 That same year, the journal Science published an article, “Tragedy of the Commons,” by University of California at Santa Barbara biologist Garrett Hardin, which argued that environmental collapse was inevitable because of uncontrolled breeding, and that the only way to avoid the tragedy was “mutual coercion,” in which everybody agreed to similar sacrifices.71 Many conservation leaders embraced Malthusianism. In 1968, Sierra Club executive director David Brower conceived and edited a book, The Population Bomb, by Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, which claimed the world was on the brink of mass starvation.

Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books, 1969), xi. 73. Ibid., 15–16. 74. Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, “The Population Bomb Revisited,” The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1, no. 3 (2009), https://www.populationmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Population-Bomb-Revisited-Paul-Ehrlich-20096.pdf. 75. Garrett Hardin, “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor,” Psychology Today, September 1974. 76. Peter Passell, Marc Roberts, and Leonard Ross, “The Limits to Growth,” [review] New York Times, April 2, 1972, https://www.nytimes.com. 77. Barry Commoner, Crossroads: Environmental Priorities for the Future (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1988), 146. 78.


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, disinformation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Garrett Hardin, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, Tragedy of the Commons, University of East Anglia

As in war there could be the rapid application of new technology to climate and survival problems. I hope that it will work, but I do not think humans as a species are yet clever enough to handle the coming environmental crisis and I fear they will spend their efforts trying to combat global heating instead of trying to adapt and survive in the new hot world. So let us prove Garrett Hardin wrong when gloomily he said in 1968 that our condition is truly tragic; for in tragedy there is no escape. We can prove him wrong by surviving. Because I am old I often think of Gaia as if she were an old lady of about my age. I can already hear Pecksniffian colleagues complaining, ‘You are doing it again – anthropomorphizing the Earth, talking of it as alive.’


pages: 473 words: 154,182

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn

carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, disinformation, Exxon Valdez, Filipino sailors, Garrett Hardin, Google Earth, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, intermodal, Isaac Newton, means of production, microbiome, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, post-Panamax, profit motive, Skype, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, traveling salesman

“One picture is worth a thousand words,” said an ancient Chinese; but it may take 10,000 words to validate it. It is as tempting to ecologists as it is to reformers in general to try to persuade others by way of the photographic shortcut. But the essence of an argument cannot be photographed: it must be presented rationally—in words. —Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons Mark, how when sailors in a dead calm bathe in the open sea—mark how closely they hug their ship and only coast along her sides. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick SOUTH POINT The southernmost edge of Hawaii is also the southernmost edge of the United States of America and feels like the southernmost edge of the world.

In theory, every region in the country could follow suit, but already cash-strapped governments in Southern California are complaining that these “zero-trash TMDLs” are too costly and ambitious to implement. Moore, meanwhile, has collected data showing that even full-capture systems would allow tens of thousands of plastic particles to escape the Los Angeles River every day. Forty years ago, Science published an essay called “The Tragedy of the Commons” in which the ecologist Garrett Hardin challenged what might be called the American Comedy of Progress—the cherished notion that with time, technology, entrepreneurialism, and, if need be, activism, all problems can be solved. In America, even prophets of environmental doom subscribe to the Comedy of Progress. Thus, at the end of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore follows his alarming forecast with an uplifting recipe for salvation.


Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism by Quinn Slobodian

Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, central bank independence, collective bargaining, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, full employment, Garrett Hardin, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, liberal world order, Mahbub ul Haq, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mercator projection, Mont Pelerin Society, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Pearl River Delta, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, quantitative easing, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, statistical model, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

He describes his own proj­ect frankly as one of “constitutional design” in the first pages of his 1970s trilogy.114 Though the top layer of rules may be thin, Hayek viewed it as the only place where h ­ umans can actually intervene: “Our main interest w ­ ill then be t­ hose rules which, ­because we can deliberately alter them, become the chief instrument whereby we can affect the resulting order, namely the rules of law.”115 It is helpful h ­ ere to return to a distinction between planning and design offered by the phi­los­o­pher Garrett Hardin in a 1969 article cited by Hayek in his Hong Kong paper. Hardin defined planning as “the making of rather detailed, rather rigid plans.” By designing, he meant “much looser, less detailed, specification of a cybernetic system which includes negative feedbacks, self-­correcting controls.” He added that “the classical market economy is such a design.”116 W ­ hether or not Hayek was inspired by Hardin directly on this point, the distinction helps clarify his writings.

Streit, “Economic Order, Private Law and Public Policy: The Freiburg School of Law and Economics in Perspective,” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) / Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft 148, no. 4 (1992): 680. 114. Hayek, Rules and Order, 4. 115. Ibid., 45; emphasis added. 116. Garrett Hardin, “The Cybernetics of Competition: A Biologist’s View of Society,” in The Subversive Science: Essays t­ oward an Ecol­ogy of Man, ed. Paul Shepard and Daniel McKinley (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969), 295. 117. Hayek, Rules and Order, 46. 118. Hayek, The Po­liti­cal Order of a ­Free ­People, 149; emphasis in the original. 119.


pages: 170 words: 42,196

Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

collective bargaining, Garrett Hardin, iterative process, pets.com, Silicon Valley, Tragedy of the Commons, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

It’s a perfect example of the tragedy of the commons.9 The premise is simple: Any shared resource (a “commons”) will inevitably be destroyed by overuse. 9 The concept, originated by nineteenth-century amateur mathematician William Forster Lloyd, was popularized in a classic essay on overpopulation by biologist Garrett Hardin (“The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, December 1968). Take a town pasture, for example. For each animal a herdsman adds to the common pasture, he receives all proceeds from the sale of the animal—a positive benefit of +1. But the negative impact of adding an animal—its contribution to overgrazing—is shared by all, so the impact on the individual herdsman is less than –1.


pages: 400 words: 129,320

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer, Jim Mason

agricultural Revolution, air freight, clean water, collective bargaining, dumpster diving, food miles, Garrett Hardin, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, means of production, rent control, Tragedy of the Commons, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review

In U.S. fisheries, the bycatch is 22 percent, or 1.1 million tons, which according to Dalhousie University Professor Ransom Myers is enough to fill every bathtub in a city of 1.5 million people.2 The problem with commercial fishing, from an environmental perspective, is that each fishery in international waters is a commons, and in a world of self-interested independent agents, as Garrett Hardin argued in a celebrated article published in 1968, the tragic economic logic of the commons rules. I Imagine a village that owns some common land on which, traditionally, every family in the village has the right to graze their cows. In the olden days, every family in the village had just one cow, because one cow would provide the family with plenty of milk, butter, and cheese.

The 17 billion estimate is from www.fishinghurts.com/fishingl01.asp, calculated by dividing the total weight of seafood consumed by an estimated average weight per creature. 2 "Challenge to Fishing: Keep Unwanted Species Out of Its Huge Nets," Otto Pohl, The New York Times, July 29, 2003 www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/science/29BYCA.html. 3 Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons," Science, 162 (1968) pp. 1243-48. 4 "A Run on the Banks: How 'Factory Fishing' Decimated Newfoundland Cod," Colin Woodward, E Magazine, March/April, 2001. www.emagazine.com/view/?507. 5 Information from Tim Fitzgerald, Environmental Defense Trust, Oceans Program, 257 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010, and James lanelli, Alaska Fish.


pages: 170 words: 45,121

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

collective bargaining, game design, Garrett Hardin, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Tragedy of the Commons

The section that’s being promoted gets a huge gain in traffic, while the overall loss in effectiveness of the Home page as it gets more cluttered is shared by all sections. It’s a perfect example of the tragedy of the commons.4 The premise is simple: 4 The concept, originated by nineteenth-century amateur mathematician William Forster Lloyd, was popularized in a classic essay on overpopulation by biologist Garrett Hardin (“The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, December 1968). Any shared resource (a “commons”) will inevitably be destroyed by overuse. Take a town pasture, for example. For each animal a herdsman adds to the common pasture, he receives all proceeds from the sale of the animal—a positive benefit of +1.


Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action by Elinor Ostrom

agricultural Revolution, clean water, Garrett Hardin, Gödel, Escher, Bach, land tenure, Pareto efficiency, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, RAND corporation, The Nature of the Firm, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs

Chapel Hill: University of North 260 261 References References Carolina Press. Ostrom, E. 1965. Public Enterpreneurship: A Case Study in Ground Water Man­ agement. Ph.D. dis!iertation, University of California at Los Angeles. Ostrom, E. 1985a. Are Successful Efforts to Manage Common-Pool Problems a Challenge to the Theories of Garrett Hardin and Mancur Olson? Working paper, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University. Ostrom, E. 1985b. The Rudiments of a Revised Theory of the Origins, Survival, and Performance of Institutions for Collective Action. Working paper, Work­ shop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University.


pages: 206 words: 9,776

Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution by David Harvey

Bretton Woods, business cycle, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, David Graeber, deindustrialization, financial innovation, Garrett Hardin, Guggenheim Bilbao, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, Ponzi scheme, precariat, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Savings and loan crisis, special economic zone, the built environment, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, transcontinental railway, urban planning, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche, Works Progress Administration

Keith Bradsher, "High-Speed Rail Poised to Alter China, but Costs and Fares Draw Criticism;' New York Times, June 23, 20 1 1 . 52. Peter Martin and David Cohen, "Socialism 3.0 in China:' the-diplomat. com; Anderlini, "Fate of Real Estate is Global Concern:' C H A PT E R T H R E E : TH E C R EAT I O N O F T H E U R BAN CO M M O N S I . Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy o f the Commons:' Science 1 62 ( 1 968): I ,243- 8; B. McCay and J. Acheson, eds, The Question of the Co mmons: The Culture and Ecology of Communal Resources, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1 987. 2. It is astonishing how many left analysts get Hardin totally wrong on this point.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Garrett Hardin, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Herbert Marcuse, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Tragedy of the Commons, Whole Earth Catalog, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

Available from http:// www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek 16 Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Chicago, IL/London: University of Chicago Press, 2006) 17 Patrice Flichy, The Internet Imaginaire (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007) 18 Charles Leadbeater, ‘The DIY State’, Prospect 130, January 2007 19 Fred Turner, op. cit. 20 John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (Penguin, 2006) 21 Patrice Flichy, The Internet Imaginaire (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007) 22 Jonathan Lethem, ‘The Ecstasy of Influence’, Harper’s Magazine, February 2007 23 Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science 162 (1968), pp. 1243–48 24 Elenor Ostrom, Governing the Commons (Cambridge University Press, 1990) 25 Lawrence Lessig, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1999) and Free Culture (New York, NY: Penguin Press, 2004) 26 Melvyn Bragg, The Routes of English (BBC Factual and Learning, 2000); Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2003) 27 Jonathan Lethem, ‘The Ecstasy of Influence’, Harper’s Magazine, February 2007 28 Cory Doctorow et al., ‘On “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” By Jaron Lanier’, Edge (2006). http://www.edge.org/discourse/digital_ maoism.html 29 Paul A.


pages: 573 words: 115,489

Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow by Tim Jackson

"Robert Solow", bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, critique of consumerism, David Graeber, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Garrett Hardin, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, impact investing, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, meta-analysis, Money creation, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, Philip Mirowski, Post-Keynesian economics, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, secular stagnation, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, universal basic income, Works Progress Administration, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Since many ecological resources (including the climate) can be classed as ‘common pool resources’, her work is of particular interest to the aims of this book.9 Working as a political scientist in the US, Ostrom had for some years been studying how small communities managed local resources when she happened to attend a lecture by the ecologist Garrett Hardin. It was 1968 – the same year in which Hardin published his landmark ‘Tragedy of the commons’. Hardin’s primary interest was in the problem of unchecked population growth. Like Malthus before him, he became convinced that the earth could not continue to provide resources at the same rate that the population was growing.10 Somewhere along the way, Hardin came across a couple of lectures first published in 1833 by the Victorian economist William Forster Lloyd.


pages: 215 words: 56,215

The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches by Marshall Brain

Amazon Web Services, basic income, clean water, cloud computing, computer vision, digital map, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, Garrett Hardin, income inequality, job automation, knowledge worker, low earth orbit, mutually assured destruction, Occupy movement, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, Tragedy of the Commons, working poor

If there is any economic advantage to be gained by killing and/or harvesting another species, humans will as a general rule kill it or harvest it without any remorse, all the way to extinction if given the chance. As a species we will often do this even if it is not in our own best interest as a group, a fact succinctly captured in the essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” [1] by Garrett Hardin in 1968, and first explored by William Forster Lloyd in 1833. The natural system on earth can be appalling, and human beings as a product of this process can be shockingly appalling – the fact that we are sentient often makes us more appalling rather than less. This fact is made obvious if we imagine the arrival of a hypothetical extraterrestrial species to planet earth.


pages: 1,336 words: 415,037

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Garrett Hardin, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index fund, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, moral hazard, NetJets, new economy, New Journalism, North Sea oil, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, transcontinental railway, two and twenty, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

Wade.47 Charlie Munger took up this case with a passion; the firm had chosen it out of concern over the way young women were being maimed and killed through illegal abortions. Buffett and Munger sponsored a “church” called the Ecumenical Fellowship, which became part of the country’s abortion underground railroad.48 Buffett had been especially moved by the logic of Garrett Hardin, whose 1968 article “The Tragedy of the Commons” laid out the way that people who have no ownership stake in common goods—the air, the seas—overuse and destroy them.49 While Buffett adopted many principles conceived by Hardin, a leader of the “population control” movement, he rejected solutions favored by Hardin, who espoused authoritarian ideas and took a eugenicist approach.

“I wouldn’t in any way limit a woman’s right to bear children even if the world were extremely overpopulated, and I wouldn’t ban the right to choose even if there were only two people on the planet and fertility was critical. I think the world should be limited to wanted people first. I don’t think that the numbers should determine how many people are wanted. Even if everybody had seven children, I wouldn’t do as Garrett Hardin said and link the right to the numbers.” So the Buffett Foundation supported reproductive rights. Increasingly, the complexities and nuances of reproductive rights, civil rights, and population control had all gotten lost in the controversy over abortion. Buffett’s giving ultimately was based on what he called the Ovarian Lottery.56 He had passed the idea along to a group called Responsible Wealth.

Buffett says he has never seen Munger “so fired up,” the most unconventional thing he has ever seen Munger do. 48. Buffett said Munger tempted him into running a church by offering him the job of sexton, until he found out the job description was not what he thought. “We held mock debates over who got to be the preacher.” 49. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, Vol. 162, No. 3859, December 13, 1968. Hardin’s theory was essentially a restatement of the “prisoner’s dilemma,” which also addresses cooperation and “cheating” as covered in references on that subject. In the 1970s it was assumed that economic progress would accelerate population growth, that population growth would prevent economic growth.


pages: 740 words: 217,139

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, endogenous growth, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Garrett Hardin, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, invention of agriculture, invention of the printing press, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, means of production, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), spice trade, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Grazing fields in traditional English villages were collectively owned by the village’s inhabitants; since no one could be excluded from access to these fields, whose resources were depletable, they were overused and made worthless. The solution to the risk of depletion was to turn the commons into private property, whose owners would then have a strong incentive to invest in its upkeep and exploit its resources on a long-term, sustainable basis. In an influential article, Garrett Hardin argued that the tragedy of the commons exists with respect to many global resources, such as clean air, fisheries, and the like, and that in the absence of private ownership or strong regulation they would be overexploited and made useless.3 In many contemporary ahistorical discussions of property rights, one often gets the impression that in the absence of modern individual property rights, human beings always faced some version of the tragedy of the commons in which communal ownership undermined incentives to use property efficiently.4 The emergence of modern property rights was then postulated to be a matter of economic rationality, in which individuals bargained among themselves to divide up the communal property, much like Hobbes’s account of the emergence of the Leviathan out of the state of nature.

See David Sloan Wilson and Elliott Sober, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); and David Sloan Wilson, “The Group Selection Controversy: History and Current Status,” Annual Review of Ecological Systems 14 (1983): 159–87. 4: TRIBAL SOCIETIES: PROPERTY, JUSTICE, WAR 1 “The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.” Madison, Federalist No. 10. 2 Douglass C. North and Robert P. Thomas, The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 1–2. 3 Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1243–48. See also Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom (New York: Knopf, 1999), p. 89. 4 See, for example, Yoram Barzel, Economic Analysis of Property Rights (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989). 5 Such rights were said to have spontaneously emerged during the California gold rush of 1849–1850, when miners peacefully negotiated among themselves an allocation of the claims they had staked out.


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, independent contractor, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

So common lands will supposedly get overgrazed, and common fisheries will run out of fish. Never mind that there’s no evidence of either happening in the maintained commons of England. The supposed tragedy became an accepted truth taught in basic economics courses, and as easy to prove as the condition of most public restrooms in the United States. As recently as 1968, ecologist Garrett Hardin convinced the remaining holdouts of the tragedy of the commons by arguing that Darwinian selection favors privatization by the strong, and that if the world’s land is not privatized, the results would be “horrifying.” In his words, “injustice is preferable to total ruin.”77 The false assumption is that people are incapable of recognizing the value of their shared resources and then organizing to protect them—and in doing so, create great value for everyone involved.


pages: 372 words: 94,153

More From Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources – and What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee

back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Garrett Hardin, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, humanitarian revolution, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Landlord’s Game, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Tragedy of the Commons, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, World Values Survey

As Jesse Ausubel points out, “Fish biomass in intensively exploited fisheries appears to be about one-tenth the level of the fish in those seas a few decades… ago.” Ocean overfishing is a classic example of the “tragedy of the commons,” an unhappy phenomenon named in a 1968 Science article by the ecologist Garrett Hardin. Hardin defined a commons as a shared resource, such as a pasture or a body of water, that is available to many but owned by none. That open access sounds great but has a big problem: everyone has ample incentive to exploit the commons (by grazing cows on the pasture or taking fish from the water), but because no one owns it, no one has the incentive to protect or sustain it.


pages: 187 words: 62,861

The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs Over Self-Interest by Yochai Benkler

business process, California gold rush, citizen journalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, East Village, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, experimental subject, framing effect, Garrett Hardin, informal economy, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, peer-to-peer, prediction markets, Richard Stallman, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, Toyota Production System, Tragedy of the Commons, twin studies, ultimatum game, Washington Consensus, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Particularly pressing for politicians, lawmakers, and social scientists is the question of how much intervention is needed to successfully regulate common property or resources—shared public spaces, municipal stores of water, and so on. The question at the heart of this debate is one that we’ve seen in some form or another many times before: Can humans be trusted, in the absence of strict rules and limits, to share a common resource in a way that is fair to everyone? In 1968 biologist turned ecologist Garrett Hardin published his famous parable, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” the story of a village that had in its center a piece of land that was shared by all the village farmers. The problem was, there was a finite amount of grass on that commons and no laws or limits on how many cattle each farmer could allow on the land to graze.


pages: 202 words: 62,901

The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations Are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski

Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carbon footprint, central bank independence, Colonization of Mars, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, corporate raider, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Elon Musk, G4S, Garrett Hardin, Georg Cantor, germ theory of disease, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, independent contractor, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linear programming, liquidity trap, mass immigration, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, post scarcity, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, surveillance capitalism, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing

In response to any mention of durable human cooperation that is not mediated by markets, in particular by the undisguised incentives provided by the labor market—at their most basic, work or starve—defenders of the market system often bring up the notion of the “tragedy of the commons.” The phrase, coined by ecologist Garrett Hardin in a 1968 article in the journal Science, refers to a shared resource inevitably depleted through overuse by individuals acting in their self-interest. The prototypical commons employed to illustrate this tragedy is a plot of open, shared pastureland in a village. If farmers only look out for the cows that are theirs, rather than the entire pasture, each will allow their cows to overgraze, and the land shared in common will quickly turn to dust.


pages: 199 words: 61,648

Having and Being Had by Eula Biss

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, David Graeber, Donald Trump, Garrett Hardin, glass ceiling, Haight Ashbury, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job satisfaction, Landlord’s Game, means of production, moral hazard, new economy, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, precariat, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, wage slave, wages for housework

Parkwood, Sony, Roc Nation, 2018. The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault. 1818–1819. The Massacre at Chios, Eugène Delacroix. 1824. Venus de Milo, Alexandros of Antioch. 101 BC. “Art and Property Now,” John Berger. Landscapes: John Berger on Art. Verso, 2016. BLOOD “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Garrett Hardin. Science, December 13, 1968. BICYCLE MANIFESTO “Interview with Cauleen Smith and Brandon Breaux,” Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Cauleen Smith, Brandon Breaux. Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Alison Cuddy. Terra Foundation for American Art, 2019. “What Driving Can Teach Us about Living,” Rachel Cusk.


pages: 512 words: 165,704

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, call centre, cellular automata, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, congestion charging, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, DARPA: Urban Challenge, endowment effect, extreme commuting, fundamental attribution error, Garrett Hardin, Google Earth, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, Induced demand, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, megacity, Milgram experiment, Nash equilibrium, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, statistical model, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, traffic fines, Tragedy of the Commons, ultimatum game, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor

Studies in Leeds, England, for example, found that economically disadvantaged areas had higher levels of nitrogen dioxide. See G. Parkhurst, G. Dudley, G. Lyons, E. Avineri, K. Chatterjee, and D. Holley, “Understanding the Distributional Impacts of Road Pricing,” Department of Transport, United Kingdom, 2006. by Garrett Hardin: See Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons.” Science, December 13, 1968. oft-invoked “tragedy”: Shi-Ling Hsu, “What Is a Tragedy of the Commons? Overfishing and the Campaign Spending Problem,” February 21, 2005, bepress Legal Series, Working Paper 463; http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/463. any traffic engineer: Gary Toth, a planner with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, told me in a conversation in early 2007: “We ran a calculation this week for the twenty congestion-related projects that I have in my division.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, independent contractor, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Money creation, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

All are threatened by erosion, enclosure and conversion into sources of rental income. And all are more important for the precariat than for those above them in the class spectrum. For that reason, as suggested later, the precariat has the most interest in recovering the commons from rent seekers. Ironically, the neo-liberal era has brought about the realisation of Garrett Hardin’s ‘tragedy of the commons’. In a famous article in 1968, Hardin claimed that the commons was doomed to depletion because every user had an incentive to maximise what they could take out of it. Although the argument had been made before, it was seized upon by neo-liberal economists to justify privatisation.


pages: 364 words: 101,193

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Biosphere 2, Climatic Research Unit, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, Garrett Hardin, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Live Aid, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, price stability, South China Sea, supervolcano, Tragedy of the Commons

Even environmentalists can be tempted by displacement: the vilification of George Bush-indefensible though his stance might be-is easier for most of us than having to face more tricky challenges closer to home. Climate change is a classic ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem, where behaviour which makes sense at an individual level ultimately proves disastrous to society when repeated by everyone. The concept's originator, Garrett Hardin, gives the example of cattle herders using a shared pasture to illustrate the problem. Each herder stands to gain individually by adding another cow to the common-he gets more milk and beef. But if all herders act the same way, the result is overgrazing and the destruction of the shared resource.


The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us by Robert H. Frank, Philip J. Cook

accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Alvin Roth, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, business cycle, compensation consultant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Garrett Hardin, global village, haute couture, income inequality, independent contractor, invisible hand, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, positional goods, prisoner's dilemma, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Shoshana Zuboff, Stephen Hawking, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy

Thus we have ($1 ,000,000 - M)/99 > $ 10,000, which implies M < $ 10,000. So if contestants enter up to the point where their expected income equals the potter's wage, entry \vill pro­ ceed past the income-maximizing point. For a more general demonstra­ tion of this result, see Frank and Cook, 1993. 17. The paper in which the phrase was coined is by Garrett Hardin, 1 968. 18. In ordinary markets as well, the entry of a new supplier may cause harm to existing suppliers by driving the price of the product down. But every dollar suppliers lose because of a price reduction is a dollar gained by those who buy the product. There is no similar compensation, however, for the loss suffered by contestants in a winner-take-all market when a new person enters. 19.


pages: 375 words: 105,586

A Small Farm Future: Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity and a Shared Earth by Chris Smaje

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative consumption, Corn Laws, Covid-19, COVID-19, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, energy transition, European colonialism, failed state, financial deregulation, financial independence, Food sovereignty, future of work, garden city movement, Garrett Hardin, global pandemic, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, land reform, mass immigration, megacity, Naomi Klein, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, post-industrial society, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, rent-seeking, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

They involve different and often incompatible social logics around issues like the deployment of capital and labour, the concentration of state power, and more philosophical questions like humanity’s place in the universe, of a kind that puts horse-powered agriculture and nuclear power on diverging conceptual tracks. But given our exceptional capabilities in the modern world it’s worth pondering why climate change seems to pose such an unsolvable problem. In an influential though widely criticised paper, the controversial ecologist Garrett Hardin discussed what he called the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ in which a resource open to all, like a common pasture, might be depleted if its users each pursued their own self-interest without regard to the wider common interest.28 His critics correctly pointed out that this isn’t how a commons actually works, although private property or state control have generally been favoured over common resource management in modern times anyway.


pages: 523 words: 143,139

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, algorithmic bias, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, constrained optimization, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, diversification, Donald Knuth, double helix, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, first-price auction, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Henri Poincaré, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Lao Tzu, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, martingale, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert X Cringely, Sam Altman, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, traveling salesman, Turing machine, urban planning, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

A high price of anarchy, on the other hand, means that things have the potential to turn out fine if they’re carefully coordinated—but that without some form of intervention, we are courting disaster. The prisoner’s dilemma is clearly of this latter type. Unfortunately, so are many of the most critical games the world must play. The Tragedy of the Commons In 1968, the ecologist Garrett Hardin took the two-player prisoner’s dilemma and imagined scaling it up to involve all the members of a farming village. Hardin invited his readers to picture a “commons” of public lawn—available to be grazed by everyone’s livestock, but with finite capacity. In theory, all the villagers should graze only as many animals as would leave some grass for everyone.


pages: 263 words: 79,016

The Sport and Prey of Capitalists by Linda McQuaig

anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, carbon footprint, clean water, diversification, Donald Trump, energy transition, financial innovation, Garrett Hardin, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, Money creation, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, payday loans, profit motive, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, Tragedy of the Commons, union organizing

Nikiforuk has succinctly described Alberta’s situation today: “The low fruit has been picked and nobody saved anything for the future.”27 Surely, in any fair-minded contest between the merits of Alberta’s free-market model of oil development and Norway’s public ownership approach, Norway wins. It’s not even close. Eight The Triumph of the Commons In 1968 U.S. ecologist Garrett Hardin penned what became a highly influential academic article entitled “The Tragedy of the Commons.” He argued that, since humans are self-interested, they will inevitably take more than their share when resources are communally available. A similar argument had been expounded in an 1833 pamphlet by an English economist who speculated about the danger of cows overgrazing in the commonly shared fields.


pages: 524 words: 120,182

Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Garrett Hardin, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, Paul Erdős, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, scientific worldview, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing machine

This is the paradox of the Prisoner’s Dilemma—in the words of political scientist Robert Axelrod, “The pursuit of self-interest by each leads to a poor outcome for all.” This paradox also applies to the all too familiar case of a group of individuals who, by selfishly pursuing their own interests, collectively bring harm to all members of the group (global warming is a quintessential example). The economist Garrett Hardin has famously called such scenarios “the tragedy of the commons.” The Prisoner’s Dilemma and variants of it have long been studied as idea models that embody the essence of the cooperation problem, and results from those studies have influenced how scholars, businesspeople, and governments think about real-world policies ranging from weapons control and responses to terrorism to corporate management and regulation.


pages: 441 words: 113,244

Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity From Politicians by Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, addicted to oil, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Biosphere 2, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Celtic Tiger, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, Dean Kamen, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, financial intermediation, Garrett Hardin, Gini coefficient, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, paypal mafia, peak oil, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Shenzhen special economic zone , Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, stem cell, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, undersea cable, young professional

So you set an island-wide quota, and you set up size limits, and you set aside a reserve area, and it’s all ignored. You open up the lagoon, and it’s just mayhem. People will go and plunder as much as they can. It’s a natural human reaction to the common property resource. As soon as you put a dollar value on a shared resource, all of a sudden all hell breaks loose, and Garrett Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons” comes charging to the fore.” He asks if we’ve read the classic 1968 essay by the famous ecologist elucidating the economic reasons why people care for their private property but ravage public property. “Everybody should read it!” he says. For those who don’t get the economic principle, Neil tells a story that, in retrospect, represents for him his breaking point.


The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina

9 dash line, Airbnb, British Empire, clean water, Costa Concordia, crowdsourcing, disinformation, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Filipino sailors, forensic accounting, Garrett Hardin, global value chain, illegal immigration, independent contractor, invisible hand, John Markoff, Jones Act, Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Maui Hawaii, New Journalism, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, standardized shipping container, statistical arbitrage, Tragedy of the Commons, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche

Lloyd’s lecture inspired the phrase “tragedy of the commons,” which was popularized by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968 and came to refer to the notion that when everyone owns something, no one does, resulting in misuse and neglect. International law identifies four global commons: the High Seas; the Atmosphere; Antarctica; and Outer Space. Historically, access to the resources found within the global commons has been difficult. The advancement of science and technology in recent decades, however, has changed that. See Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, Dec. 13, 1968. But in practice, flags: There are thirty-five countries that the International Transport Workers’ Federation deems “flags of convenience.”


pages: 261 words: 86,905

How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say--And What It Really Means by John Lanchester

asset allocation, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, forward guidance, Garrett Hardin, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, high net worth, High speed trading, hindsight bias, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kodak vs Instagram, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, loss aversion, margin call, McJob, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, two and twenty, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, yield curve

The divisions and mutual incomprehension between the different tribes and their different activities is one of the things that make the big banks resemble, in the words of the Manchester anthropologist Karel Williams, “loose federations of money-making franchises.” 76 “The Tragedy of the Commons” A highly influential 1968 essay by the economist Garrett Hardin, on the subject of how to share common land, when it’s in everybody’s interest to maximize his or her own use of the land at the expense of everybody else. His central insight was that when a resouce is communally shared, individuals have no reason to protect other people’s interests in the resource, and every reason to maximize their own use of it.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

That model of tragedy is based on the long-term futility of rational self-interest in certain poorly designed circumstances, and so bears a similarity to the problem of Siren Servers. The Sirenic Age is more a tragedy of the commotion, more mania than myopia. Information technology can cause things to move so fast that there’s a rush, a thrill that distracts. Garrett Hardin’s classic 1968 paper “The Tragedy of the Commons” explained how cows were allowed to overgraze on common property, while private property was well maintained. The cows that overgrazed at least grazed. In our present idea about an information economy, cows get no free grass, but a token few might get famous.


pages: 469 words: 142,230

The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Elon Musk, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Garrett Hardin, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kim Stanley Robinson, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, renewable energy transition, Scramble for Africa, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus

‘The crew of spacecraft Earth’ was ‘in virtual mutiny to the order of the universe’, Edgar Mitchell, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14, wrote in the 1970s. Mutiny has penalties, and the Earth would enact them – unless its deputized authorities in the officer class got there first. The influential environmentalist Garrett Hardin used talk of a troubled Spaceship Earth as a way to advocate the suspension of humanistic moral values in favour of ‘lifeboat ethics’ derived from the harsher parts of naval law and practice. Ultimately, the weakness and unpleasantness of the Spaceship Earth metaphor stems from the same problem as that which I see encouraged by the use of Apollo images as environmental icons: it leads people to divorce the physical planet from the human world.


pages: 692 words: 127,032

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, different worldview, disinformation, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, Garrett Hardin, ghettoisation, global pandemic, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

At the center of many of the arguments over proposed solutions to environmental problems associated with increasing population and industrial development are differing views of how individuals and freedom relate to regulation and the commons—the common property of humankind. These questions are central to the relationship between science and democracy itself. THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS In December of 1968, a little-known University of California Santa Barbara biologist named Garrett Hardin published a paper in Science that would change the way we look at economics. The core dilemma it identified, which came to be called “the tragedy of the commons” after the paper’s title, lies at the heart of the unresolved environmental challenges of the twentieth century, among them climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, biodiversity loss, habitat fragmentation, overdevelopment, pollution, exploding population, and unsustainable energy use, to name a few.


pages: 486 words: 139,713

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World by Simon Winchester

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Donald Trump, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, Garrett Hardin, glass ceiling, Haight Ashbury, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, Jones Act, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, Ralph Nader, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, Tragedy of the Commons, white flight, white picket fence

So far as justification is concerned, the official reasons can be inferred from the long title of the enabling act that Parliament passed in 1773, that “inclosure” was a process designed “for the better Cultivation, Improvement, and Regulation of the Common Arable Fields, Waste and Commons of Pasture in this Kingdom.” The unstated reason, however, was suggested by an infamous paper published in Science magazine very much later, in 1968, which had a title that has since become a catchphrase: “The Tragedy of the Commons.” The essay’s author, an American ecologist named Garrett Hardin who was a devout anti-immigrationist and eugenicist and a believer in the dangers of overpopulation, declared that commonly used land would inevitably be badly used land, because people were greedy or careless, wouldn’t cooperate or take care of their land, would push as many of their own cattle to graze on fields that were already overgrazed, would take more than their fair share, and so on—would, in other words, ruin the bounty that God and Nature had so generously offered to them.


The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert H. Frank

carbon footprint, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, congestion charging, corporate governance, deliberate practice, full employment, Garrett Hardin, income inequality, independent contractor, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, smart grid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, winner-take-all economy

Alberto Alesina and Dani Rodrik, “Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 109(2), May 1994: 465–490. 4. http://www.princeton.edu/odoc/faculty/grading/faq/#comp000047219e98000 0000b7278c0. 5. See, for example, Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker, New York: W. W. Norton, 1979. 6. For references to studies that document these and other forms of overconfidence, see Thomas Gilovich, How We Know What Isn’t So, New York: Free Press, 1991, pp. 77–78. 7. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, 1968: 1243–1247. 8. For a more detailed discussion of the incentive problems that lead to superfluous entry into winner-take-all markets, see Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook, The Winner-Take-All Society, New York: Free Press, 1995, chapter 6. 9. Jenny Anderson and Andrew Ross Sorkin, “Bill Is Offered to Increase Tax on Private Equity,” New York Times, June 23, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/23/ business/23tax.html. 10.


pages: 351 words: 93,982

Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Otto Scharmer, Katrin Kaufer

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Fractional reserve banking, Garrett Hardin, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, market bubble, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, peak oil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, Washington Consensus, working poor, Zipcar

(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971). 10. This quote is generally attributed to Einstein, but we could not verify a specific source. 11. Mental models is a term that Peter Senge et al. introduced in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of a Learning Organization (New York: Doubleday, 1990). 12. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (1968): 1243–48. 13. Wolfgang Münchau, “Peer Steinbrück’s grösste Fehleinschätzung,” column, Der Spiegel, October 3, 2011, www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/wolf gang-muenchau-peer-steinbrueck-und-seine-groesste-fehleinschaetzung-a-859295.html (accessed December 8, 2012). 14.


pages: 350 words: 90,898

A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport

Cal Newport, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, computer age, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Garrett Hardin, hive mind, Inbox Zero, interchangeable parts, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Nash equilibrium, passive income, Paul Graham, place-making, remote work: asynchronous communication, remote working, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, the scientific method, Tragedy of the Commons, web application, Y Combinator

Drucker, “Knowledge-Worker Productivity: The Biggest Challenge,” California Management Review 41, no. 2 (Winter 1999): 79–94. Italics in the original. 36. Lloyd didn’t use the phrase “tragedy of the commons.” This label was introduced later in a now famous article that rigorously analyzes the scenario: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (December 1968): 1243–48. Chapter 4: The Attention Capital Principle 1. Joshua B. Freeman, Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (New York: W. W. Norton, 2019), 124. 2. The details of the development of the assembly line, including the specific numbers cited in this discussion, come from two excellent secondary sources: Freeman, Behemoth, 119–26; and Simon Winchester, The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World (New York: Harper, 2018), 159–66. 3.


pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, assortative mating, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Garrett Hardin, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing machine, Turing test

Spencer (1870, p. 396) had offered the following definition: "Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation." The memeology of James' marvelous parody is worth recording. I got the quotation from Garrett Hardin, who informs me that he got it from Sills and Merton (1991, p. 104). They in turn cite James' Lecture Notes 1880-1897 as their source, but Hardin has tracked down some further details. P. G. Tait (1880, p. 80) gives credit to a mathematician named Kirkman for his "exquisite translation" of Spencer, of which James' version — presumably borrowed from Tait — is a mutation.

The latter competes, for instance, with the advice the Pirate King gives to Frederick, the self-styled "slave of duty" in Pirates of Penzance: "Aye me lad, always do your duty — and chance the consequences!" Neither slogan is quite vacuous. 6. A Kantian who presses the charge of practical imponderability against utilitarianism with particular vigor and clarity is Onora O'Neill (1980). She shows how two utilitarians, Garrett Hardin and Peter Singer, armed with the same information, arrive at opposite counsels on the pressing moral dilemma of famine relief: we should take drastic steps to prevent shortsighted efforts to feed famine victims (Hardin), or we should take drastic steps to provide food for today's famine victims (Singer).


pages: 357 words: 100,718

The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

agricultural Revolution, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, financial independence, game design, Garrett Hardin, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), longitudinal study, means of production, new economy, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Tragedy of the Commons, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, "The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2002," wwwfao.org/docrep/005/y7300e/y7300e00.htm. 9. Lester Brown, Eco-Economy (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), 51-55. 10. Fact sheets of the World Wide Fund for Nature Endangered Seas Campaign, 2003, www.panda.org/campaigns/marine/sturgeon. 11. The classic analysis of this phenomenon is Garrett Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons," Science, 162(1968):1243-1248. 12. Audubon (September-October 1991), 34. 13. Dagens Naeringsliv (Norwegain business journal), Oslo (December 9, 2002), 10. 14. Japanese journalist to Paul Ehrlich, in Animal Extinctions: What Everyone Should Know, edited by R. J.


pages: 332 words: 100,245

Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives by Michael A. Heller, James Salzman

23andMe, Airbnb, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collaborative consumption, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, endowment effect, estate planning, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, Hernando de Soto, Internet of things, land tenure, Mason jar, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil rush, planetary scale, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, rent control, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, The future is already here, Tim Cook: Apple, Tragedy of the Commons, you are the product, Zipcar

“It is revolting”: Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Path of the Law,” Harvard Law Review 10 (1897): 469 “protect private property”: Eskenazi, “Great Sucking Sound.” “We’re dealing with”: Ibid. Notice Pate’s strategy here: See, for example, Eugene Volokh, “Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope,” Harvard Law Review 116 (2003): 1026–137. tragedy of the commons: Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (December 1968): 1243–48. “To save our valley”: Boxall, “Overpumping of Central Valley.” When oil was first: Bruce Kramer and Owen Anderson, “The Rule of Capture—an Oil and Gas Perspective,” Environmental Law 35 (2005): 899–954. unitization: Many tools exist to fragment ownership (like subdivision rules for land), but relatively few for re-aggregating them.


pages: 1,132 words: 156,379

The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve by Steve Stewart-Williams

Albert Einstein, battle of ideas, carbon-based life, David Attenborough, European colonialism, feminist movement, financial independence, Garrett Hardin, gender pay gap, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, moral panic, out of africa, Paul Graham, phenotype, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Tragedy of the Commons, twin studies

The tragedy is that both players would do better if they both cooperated: They’d get three points each instead of the one point they end up with when they both defect. Ironically, then, in a one-shot game, the rational pursuit of self-interest makes both parties worse off. This is a hypothetical example of a real-world phenomenon – a phenomenon the ecologist Garrett Hardin called the tragedy of the commons.43 But what if the virtual animals get to encounter each other again and again, like real animals often do? In that case, the best course of action is no longer quite so obvious. And that’s why we need the computer simulations. Back to the main story. After issuing his invitation for programs to compete in his tournament, Axelrod soon had a diverse collection of contestants, each reflecting its creator’s best guess about which strategy would rack up the most points.


pages: 344 words: 104,077

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, independent contractor, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government and a Letter Concerning Toleration (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003); Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. C. B. Macpherson (London: Penguin Books, 1985); Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Basic Political Writings, translated by Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1987); John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971). 4. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3,859 (1968): 1,243–48; Robert L. Trivers, “The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism,” Quarterly Review of Biology 46 (1971): 35–57, doi:10.1086/406755; Christopher Stephens, “Modelling Reciprocal Altruism,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47, no. 4 (1996): 533–51, doi:10.1093/bjps/47.4.533. 5.


pages: 604 words: 161,455

The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life by Robert Wright

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, fault tolerance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Garrett Hardin, George Gilder, global village, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, invention of writing, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, planetary scale, pre–internet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, talking drums, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, your tax dollars at work, zero-sum game

The Northwest Coast Indians’ rudimentary “government” wasn’t only a stand-in for the market. It did things that governments do even in capitalist societies. For example, if fishermen were allowed to compete without restraint, they could deplete the salmon stock, hurting everyone. This is an instance of what the biologist Garrett Hardin famously called the “tragedy of the commons”—a textbook non-zero-sum problem, in which overgrazing of public land by privately owned herds would be ruinous, so all herd owners can benefit by mutual restraint. The Northwest Coast Indians solved the problem by deciding when fishing would begin and end, much as governments today enforce a hunting season so that deer and ducks will live to die another day.


pages: 365 words: 117,713

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

double helix, Garrett Hardin, information retrieval, lateral thinking, Necker cube, pattern recognition, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, zero-sum game

We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators. The Selfish Gene 12. Nice guys finish first. Nice guys finish last. The phrase seems to have originated in the world of baseball, although some authorities claim priority for an alternative connotation. The American biologist Garrett Hardin used it to summarize the message of what may be called 'Sociobiology' or 'selfish genery'. It is easy to see its aptness. If we translate the colloquial meaning of 'nice guy' into its Darwinian equivalent, a nice guy is an individual that assists other members of its species, at its own expense, to pass their genes on to the next generation.


pages: 412 words: 128,042

Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons From the World’s Limits by Richard Davies

agricultural Revolution, air freight, Anton Chekhov, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, clean water, complexity theory, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial innovation, Garrett Hardin, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, large denomination, Livingstone, I presume, Malacca Straits, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, school choice, school vouchers, Scramble for Africa, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, the payments system, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, Travis Kalanick, uranium enrichment, urban planning, wealth creators, white picket fence, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

The conversion of rainforest to farmland and the policies adopted to prevent deforestation are discussed and evaluated in Nelson et al. (2001); maps of the forest cover over time and the impact of logging are provided in Gutierrez (1989); the problem of deforestation and the rise of cattle-ranching are discussed in Arcia (2017) and Belisle (2018). The ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ Ecologist Garrett Hardin coined the term ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ in the 1960s in a discussion of overpopulation and the environment – Hardin (1968). Failures of free markets The example of common ground that is damaged by overuse is set out in the first of William Forster Lloyd’s ‘Two Lectures on the Checks to Population’ delivered in Oxford in 1832.


Making Globalization Work by Joseph E. Stiglitz

affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, capital controls, central bank independence, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, full employment, Garrett Hardin, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, Gunnar Myrdal, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, incomplete markets, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, invisible hand, John Markoff, Jones Act, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, microcredit, moral hazard, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil rush, open borders, open economy, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, reserve currency, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Seymour Hersh, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, statistical model, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, Tragedy of the Commons, trickle-down economics, union organizing, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Somewhat earlier, an independent review of World Bank lending in extractive industries had argued against the Bank lending in countries like Chad, where it was unlikely that the money would help in poverty alleviation. The Bank sent away the review’s recommendations for further study—a polite rejection. Chapter Six 1.The term was popularized by Garrett Hardin in his classic article of that title in Science, vol. 162 (December 13, 1968), pp. 1243–48. There is a fundamental difference between the knowledge commons and the commons being discussed here. In the former, the use of the commons by one does not detract from what is available to others; the enclosure represents an inefficient restriction on usage.


pages: 511 words: 132,682

Competition Overdose: How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us From Citizen Kings to Market Servants by Maurice E. Stucke, Ariel Ezrachi

affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, delayed gratification, disinformation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Chrome, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, income per capita, independent contractor, information asymmetry, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, mortgage debt, Network effects, out of africa, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price anchoring, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, sunk-cost fallacy, surveillance capitalism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, winner-take-all economy, Yochai Benkler

Overall, cooperation was greater in subsequent rounds of the Cooperation Game, contrary to the predictions of people who knew the players very well. 44.Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter, “Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments,” American Economic Review 90, no. 4 (September 2000): 980–94, http://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.90.4.980. 45.Devesh Rustagi, Stefanie Engel, and Michael Kosfeld, “Conditional Cooperation and Costly Monitoring Explain Success in Forest Commons Management,” Science 330, no. 6006 (November 12, 2010): 961, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/961.full. 46.Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, no. 3859 (December 13, 1968): 1243–48, https://science.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full. 47.Forest user groups with a higher percentage of conditional cooperators had more potential crop trees per hectare. A 10 percent increase in the share of free-riders led to an average drop in the forest management outcome by almost seven potential crop trees per hectare. 48.See Michael E.


pages: 1,535 words: 337,071

Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World by David Easley, Jon Kleinberg

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, clean water, conceptual framework, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Douglas Hofstadter, Erdős number, experimental subject, first-price auction, fudge factor, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Gödel, Escher, Bach, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, information retrieval, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, longitudinal study, market clearing, market microstructure, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Pareto efficiency, Paul Erdős, planetary scale, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Simon Singh, slashdot, social web, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, the strength of weak ties, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, two and twenty, ultimatum game, Vannevar Bush, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

As we noted in the smoking example this is not plausible when many individuals are involved in the negotiation. Similarly, in the case of pollution, establishing marketable pollution rights is more likely to minimize transaction costs and lead to socially optimal outcomes. 24.2 The Tragedy of the Commons In a 1968 article in Science, entitled “The Tragedy of the Commons” [204], Garrett Hardin offered a compelling story about the inevitable “tragedy” of commonly shared resources. In his story there is a village commons on which any herdsman can freely graze his cattle.3 Hardin noted that inevitably the commons will be overused to the detriment of all the villagers. He then argued that establishing property rights would solve the problem.

AIDS, 3:807–817, 1989. 814 BIBLIOGRAPHY [202] Werner Güth, Rolf Schmittberger, and Bernd Schwarze. An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 3:367–388, 1982. [203] Frank Harary. On the notion of balance of a signed graph. Michigan Math. Journal, 2(2):143–146, 1953. [204] Garrett Hardin. The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162(3859):1243–1248, 1968. [205] Larry Harris. Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners. Oxford University Press, 2002. [206] John C. Harsanyi. Game with incomplete information played by “Bayesian” players, I–III. Part I: The basic model.


pages: 409 words: 145,128

Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City by Peter D. Norton

clean water, Frederick Winslow Taylor, garden city movement, Garrett Hardin, invisible hand, jitney, new economy, New Urbanism, Ralph Nader, Silicon Valley, smart transportation, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal

In urban transportation history, Los Angeles is the least representative city in America. Nevertheless, Bottles uses transportation in Los Angeles to represent urban transportation in America, as his book’s subtitle and the boldly stated conclusions in his epilogue show. 26. The street, in other words, is an instance of a “commons.” See Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (Dec. 13, 1968), 1243–1248. In medieval England a commons was a place of exceptional economic laws, unlike those that obtain in private property. Like a commons, roads and streets are a shared good; individual users cannot be charged for each use. This sense of the metaphor is clearer in its original formulation; see William Forster Lloyd, “Two Lectures on the Checks to Population,” in Lectures on Population Value, Poor-Laws and Rent (1837; reprint: Augustus M.


pages: 744 words: 142,748

Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley

air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, card file, cuban missile crisis, dumpster diving, Garrett Hardin, Hush-A-Phone, index card, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, John Markoff, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, the new new thing, the scientific method, Tragedy of the Commons, undersea cable, urban renewal, wikimedia commons

A version of this problem also appears in code breaking (if you break your enemy’s codes and then do something with the information you obtain, your enemy is likely to figure out that you’ve broken his codes and will change them, denying you further intelligence) and is explored in Neal Stephenson’s book Cryptonomicon (2002). See Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, December 1968, p. 1243, at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full.pdf. 246 One such phreak in New York: Author interview with a New York–area phone phreak who prefers to remain anonymous, 2012. Two of the books in question were the Distance Dialing Reference Guide and the Traffic Routing Guide, both of which described AT&T’s network routing in excruciating detail.


pages: 898 words: 253,177

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, California gold rush, clean water, Garrett Hardin, Golden Gate Park, hacker house, jitney, Joan Didion, Maui Hawaii, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, trade route, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

As a state legislator he had made a name as an environmentalist, and a rather bold one—he was the leader of the successful effort to keep the lucrative Winter Olympics out of Denver. In 1978, the Almanac of American Politics described him as “far-out.” He flew periodically to Chicago or New York to hobnob with people like Garrett Hardin, the ecologist, and Hazel Henderson, the “futurist,” who served with him on the national board of the Council on Population and Environment. He staffed his administration with left-leaning people in their twenties and thirties—people like Harris Sherman, his resources secretary, who had served as counsel to the Environmental Defense Fund.


Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society by Nicholas A. Christakis

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, assortative mating, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, different worldview, disruptive innovation, domesticated silver fox, double helix, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Garrett Hardin, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, iterative process, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, joint-stock company, land tenure, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, means of production, mental accounting, meta-analysis, microbiome, out of africa, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, replication crisis, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Tragedy of the Commons, twin studies, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

How do people collaborate to protect shared meadows where their livestock roam? Classical models that assume all people are purely self-interested predict that lands will be overgrazed, seas overfished, and air polluted because individual incentives are contrary to what is best for the group. Ecologist Garrett Hardin famously called this the “tragedy of the commons.”76 Individuals act selfishly because the benefits of the acts accrue to them but the costs are divided across the whole group. These types of group-wide interactions and collective efforts cannot easily be addressed with the notions of reciprocity and cooperation we have been considering so far.


pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Garrett Hardin, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

(Carbon Tracker Initiative, 2012), http://www.carbontracker.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev2-1.pdf (accessed February 5, 2017); McKibben, “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math.” 66. Boyd, “Economic Growth”; Peter Victor, “Questioning Economic Growth,” Nature 468 (2010): 370–71. 67. See Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968): 1243–48; Ponting, New Green History, 132–33; Boyd, “Economic Growth”; Royal Society, People and the Planet, 73; Boulding's quote cited in Mark Bittman, “A Banker Bets on Organic Farming,” New York Times, August 28, 2012. 68. McNeill, Something New, locs. 4910–19.


pages: 753 words: 233,306

Collapse by Jared Diamond

Biosphere 2, clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Donner party, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, Garrett Hardin, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, means of production, new economy, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, prisoner's dilemma, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transcontinental railway, unemployed young men

Janis's case studies are of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the American army's crossing of the 38th parallel in Korea in 1950, American's non-preparation for Japan's 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, America's escalation of the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1967, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and America's adoption of the Marshall Plan in 1947. Garrett Hardin's classic and often-cited article "The tragedy of the commons" appeared in Science 162:1243-1248 (1968). Mancur Olson applies the metaphor of stationary bandits and roving bandits to Chinese warlords and other extractive agents in "Dictatorship, democracy, and development" {American Political Science Review 87:567-576 (1993)).


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, Garrett Hardin, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hacker Conference 1984, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Herbert Marcuse, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Mahbub ul Haq, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta-analysis, microaggression, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Bannon, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, Tragedy of the Commons, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The State of Food and Agriculture 1947, cited in Norberg 2016. 8. A definition by the economist Cormac Ó Gráda, cited in Hasell & Roser 2017. 9. Devereux 2000, p. 3. 10. W. Greene, “Triage: Who Shall Be Fed? Who Shall Starve?” New York Times Magazine, Jan. 5, 1975. The term lifeboat ethics had been introduced a year earlier by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in an article in Psychology Today (Sept. 1974) called “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor.” 11. “Service Groups in Dispute on World Food Problems,” New York Times, July 15, 1976; G. Hardin, “Lifeboat Ethics,” Psychology Today, Sept. 1974. 12. McNamara, health care, contraception: N.


pages: 801 words: 242,104

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

Biosphere 2, clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Donner party, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, Garrett Hardin, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, means of production, new economy, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transcontinental railway, unemployed young men

Janis’s case studies are of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the American army’s crossing of the 38th parallel in Korea in 1950, American’s non-preparation for Japan’s 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, America’s escalation of the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1967, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and America’s adoption of the Marshall Plan in 1947. Garrett Hardin’s classic and often-cited article “The tragedy of the commons” appeared in Science 162:1243-1248 (1968). Mancur Olson applies the metaphor of stationary bandits and roving bandits to Chinese warlords and other extractive agents in “Dictatorship, democracy, and development” (American Political Science Review 87:567-576 (1993)).


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, banking crisis, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, compensation consultant, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, end world poverty, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, Garrett Hardin, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, Shai Danziger, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, sunk-cost fallacy, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tragedy of the Commons, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

William Forster Lloyd, “Two Lectures on the Checks to Population, Delivered Before the University of Oxford, in Michaelmas Term,” Oxford Press (1833). Günter Hitsch, Ali Hortaçsu, and Dan Ariely, “Matching and Sorting in Online Dating,” American Economic Review (2010). Günter Hitsch, Ali Hortaçsu, and Dan Ariely, “What Makes You Click?—Mate Preferences in Online Dating,” Working Paper, University of Chicago (2010). RELATED READINGS Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science (1968). Peter Darke and Robin Ritchie, “The Defensive Consumer: Advertising Deception, Defensive Processing, and Distrust,” Journal of Marketing Research (2007). Richard Emerson, “Social Exchange Theory,” Annual Review of Sociology (1976). Ernst Fehr and Simon Gachter, “Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (2000).


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, Garrett Hardin, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Herbert Marcuse, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, sunk-cost fallacy, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tragedy of the Commons, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The best outcome for the group is for everyone to contribute the maximum amount. But the best outcome for an individual is to stint on his own contribution and be a free rider on the profits from everyone else’s. The tragedy is that contributions will dwindle to zero and everyone ends up worse off. (The biologist Garrett Hardin proposed an identical scenario called the Tragedy of the Commons. Each farmer cannot resist grazing his own cow on the town commons, stripping it bare to everyone’s loss. Pollution, overfishing, and carbon emissions are equivalent real-life examples.)190 But if players have the opportunity to punish free riders, as if in revenge for their exploitation of the group, then the players have an incentive to contribute, and everyone profits.


pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Airbnb, Akira Okazaki, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, British Empire, business cycle, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Costa Concordia, creative destruction, critique of consumerism, crony capitalism, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Ferguson, Missouri, fundamental attribution error, Garrett Hardin, Georg Cantor, George Akerlof, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, land reform, liberation theology, lone genius, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, open economy, out of africa, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Philip Mirowski, Pier Paolo Pasolini, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, rent control, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, very high income, wage slave, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yogi Berra

The political scientists Elinor and Vincent Ostrom at Indiana University showed repeatedly that a situation that would in Samuelsonian economics always be assumed to be a hopeless case of free riding and the tragedy of the commons, such as the overexploitation of the Los Angeles aquifer, can often be solved by sustained talk among serious-minded, ethically disciplined people.22 It was true as well in medieval English villages, which in 1968 the ecologist Garrett Hardin supposed were instances of the hopeless case. Ethics undergirds water rights, grazing rights, civil and criminal laws, marriages, friendships, children’s games, adults’ games, clubs, traffic, science, business deals, constitutions—a point that political theorists from Machiavelli and Hobbes through James Buchanan and Martha Nussbaum, in their eagerness to devise a theory mainly out of prudence only, have tended to overlook.23 The working of the U.S. constitution, for example, has always rested on such ethical grounding.


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