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Pete Carah pete at altadena.net
Fri Oct 28 01:29:18 UTC 2011

On 10/27/2011 05:38 PM, Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu wrote:
> On Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:17:22 -0000, Brian Johnson said:
>> So... I'm in complete agreement with your statement, but The Wikipedia
reference is not pertinent.
> So I point out the tragedy of the commons, you agree with it, but the
> reference that talks about the same exact thing isn't pertinent? How
does that
> follow? :)
Maybe he is concerned that the Wikipedia article gets into nit-picking
about the ownership of the commons that isn't relevant to our problem,
and also is rather long-winded.  Hardin got into some things at the end
of his paper that probably aren't either (but then, he was a population
biologist and not an economist).  BTW - that paper is a good read and
not too long.  The journal link (reference 1 in the wikipedia article)
actually works openly (AAAS only blocks full access for a while...)

For our purpose, the ownership of the commons in question truly isn't
relevant; the fundamental
statement of the tragedy for us is that a "useful" resource that is
incrementally free (or even cheap enough)
to a large number of participants will get exploited and probably overused.

I'm not aware of any solution to this problem with commons that doesn't
involve a central authority :-(
In feudal practice the landlord could do some enforcement; the spanish
alcaldes were another good example of a semi-central solution to the
commons problem (water rights in their origins, though their authority
grew over time).

Classic economics says that market pricing is the solution, but that
tends to result in another kind of tragedy.

-- Pete

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