What is the tragedy of the commons? – Nicholas Amendolare

What is the tragedy of the commons? – Nicholas Amendolare

Imagine as a thought experiment
that you live in a small village and depend on
the local fish pond for food. You share the pond
with three other villagers. The pond starts off with a dozen fish,
and the fish reproduce. For every two fish, there will be
one baby added each night. So, in order to maximize
your supply of food, how many fish should you catch each day? Take a moment to think about it. Assume baby fish grow
to full size immediately and that the pond begins at full capacity, and ignore factors
like the sex of the fish you catch. The answer? One, and it’s not just you. The best way to maximize
every villager’s food supply is for each fisherman to take
just one fish each day. Here’s how the math works. If each villager takes one fish,
there will be eight fish left over night. Each pair of fish produces one baby, and the next day, the pond
will be fully restocked with twelve fish. If anyone takes more than one,
the number of reproductive pairs drops, and the population
won’t be able to bounce back. Eventually, the fish in the lake
will be gone, leaving all four villagers to starve. This fish pond is just one example
of a classic problem called the tragedy of the commons. The phenomenon was first described
in a pamphlet by economist
William Forster Lloyd in 1833 in a discussion of
the overgrazing of cattle on village common areas. More than 100 years later, ecologist
Garrett Hardin revived the concept to describe what happens
when many individuals all share a limited resource, like grazing land, fishing areas, living space, even clean air. Hardin argued that these situations
pit short-term self-interest against the common good, and they end badly for everyone, resulting in overgrazing, overfishing, overpopulation, pollution, and other social
and environmental problems. The key feature of
a tragedy of the commons is that it provides an opportunity for
an individual to benefit him or herself while spreading out any negative effects
across the larger population. To see what that means,
let’s revisit our fish pond. Each individual fisherman is motivated to take as many fish
as he can for himself. Meanwhile, any decline
in fish reproduction is shared by the entire village. Anxious to avoid
losing out to his neighbors, a fisherman will conclude that it’s in his
best interest to take an extra fish, or two, or three. Unfortunately, this is the same conclusion
reached by the other fisherman, and that’s the tragedy. Optimizing for the self in the short term
isn’t optimal for anyone in the long term. That’s a simplified example,
but the tragedy of the commons plays out in the more complex systems
of real life, too. The overuse of antibiotics has led to
short-term gains in livestock production and in treating common illnesses, but it’s also resulted in the evolution
of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which threaten the entire population. A coal-fired power plant produces
cheap electricity for its customers and profits for its owners. These local benefits are helpful
in the short term, but pollution from mining and burning coal
is spread across the entire atmosphere and sticks around for thousands of years. There are other examples, too. Littering, water shortages, deforestation, traffic jams, even the purchase of bottled water. But human civilization has proven it’s
capable of doing something remarkable. We form social contracts, we make communal agreements, we elect governments, and we pass laws. All this to save our collective selves
from our own individual impulses. It isn’t easy, and we certainly
don’t get it right nearly all of the time. But humans at our best have shown
that we can solve these problems and we can continue to do so
if we remember Hardin’s lesson. When the tragedy of the commons applies, what’s good for all of us
is good for each of us.

100 thoughts on “What is the tragedy of the commons? – Nicholas Amendolare

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  2. Tragedy of the commons warns against collectivism and lack of private property rights not self intrest and capitalism. This speaker completely twists the meaning of tragedy of the commons.

  3. the tragedy of the commons would be absolutely demolished if we had a socialist or communist society instead of a capitalist one. thats facts

  4. Question: Why didn't the fishermen share one fish or two fish per day? That way, they'd be able to maximize fish in the long term.

  5. Just been reading up on this and apparently economic experts see this as a vindication of capitalism since if someone owns the pond, he won't allow anyone to fish in it, thus the pond doesn't get depleted of fish.

    But this is beyond preposterous. You can privatise the pond, but you can't privatise the oceans and the forests, and if you did others would take no notice.

    It is capitalism with the encouragement of the pursuing of one's own interests which is the root of the problem. Encouraging people to be selfish. Portraying the rich to be people to be admired. Designating a person's worth as how successful he has been in accumulating wealth. All this encourages the pursuit of one's self interest at the expense of the resources of the community at large.

    You need community rules — even if only implicit — and a bonding between members of that community not to transgress such rules. It is important they do not admire the wealthy. They need to have a completely different attitude to that which we find in our modern western society towards others. We need a radically different society that is diametrically opposed to how modern western society works and the values it encourages.

  6. I think the world would be better if we just had a new plauge and it just wiped out half the population. Say what you want, but thanos had the right ideals.

  7. 645 republicans disliked this video, they think regulating the fisherman to only be allowed 1 fish is bad and that the "hand of the free market" would save them. They'll also say privatization is the answer, but if that's the answer why are places over fished in the ocean, by private companies? hummmm. Regulation is the only answer that has worked.

  8. just eat something else in 6 days then you can eat 11 fish per day, here is the explain:
    first day, eat meat, then you have 18 fishes the next day (if you don't eat any of them, the number of fish tomorrow will equal the number of fish today plus itself divided by two).
    the third day do exactly like that, the number of fish must be equal to 27 then 40 then 60 then 90.
    since everyone eat 44 fish so after the seventh day, there are 46 fish, It even residual 2 fish left to continue producing 1 more fish.

  9. a french girl is thanking you for helping her passing her final exam of economy while revising her english 🙂

  10. I always say at work If colleagues help each other, will be great for everyone to have the work done e all will go ahead. But some can not help being greed and useless.

  11. that fish pond thingy, i would probably make a make-shift pond in my own house, take two fish and let them mate with each other. so i won’t have to share a pond and leave my house. but idk.

  12. Facilitating your transaction into the Global Commons. https://www.restore.earth/global-commons

  13. "What's good for all of us, is good for each of us."

    This is what people need to realize. No more corruptions and greedy acts, ppl

  14. ✝️ Jesus’ second commandment:
    “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 💛 And, The Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” 🌅 Blessed to be a blessing to others. 😅


  16. Tbh if I was one of villagers, I would collect as many fishes as possible and then have them live in my backyard. They'll reproduce and voila, when the other villagers are in need, I'll share some of mine with them. Hard work for me, but someone's got to do the right thing, right?

  17. This is common sense and sounds clear to all of us
    Still our society wants us to consume much more than we either need or want and if we dont do so, then we face crisis and recession.
    This is the system we have created, the machine needs to go on or everything collapses

  18. But what if each fisherman takes 3 fish for themselves, eat one fish and let the 2 fish reproduce everyday. If they try to eat more than 1 then its their problem, not affecting everyone for the food source.

  19. Times and times again its proven that private property is solution to the problem called tragedy of the commons.

  20. Very instructive. However, it is not actually applicable to the examples you cited beyond the over-grazing and took it in a left direction when the right direction would be Coase and Friedman. The problem is communal ownership instead of private ownership. A private owner would not have wasted the fish pond.

  21. I'd say to go the first day without eating. Then catch one fish a day for a week and skip another day. After that they can each have 2 fish

  22. In Game Theory, this is a form of Prisoners' Dilemma. The solution is privatization. If the pond is owned by one person, then they can license others to fish there, and set catch limits.

  23. I appreciate the lesson here, and I want to share that The Tragedy of the Commons is a debunked concept:


  24. The tragedy of the commons and not a single mention of the privatisation of the commons or the over-exploitation of resources by transnational corporations.

  25. Just a reminder the person who coined “tragedy of the commons” revised it to unmanaged commons, just like the person who coined “alpha male” debunked it himself.

  26. The moral issue involved is
    that every person has an equal birthright in the planet. Yet, (mostly by force
    of arms) we have carved the planet into nation-states and carved the
    nation-states into estates for individuals and private entities to control. Controlling
    any part of the planet is a privilege, demanding compensation be paid into a
    fund to be used to pay for public goods and services and to distribute a
    citizens dividend to all. The amount of this charge must equate to the
    potential annual rental value of whatever parcel or tract of land is
    controlled. This approach to “land reform” will not correct all of the
    injustice of the past, but it will create a better present and a far more just
    future for all. [Edward J. Dodson, Director, School of Cooperative


  28. This isn't completely true. Elinor Ostrom (Noble Prize Winning Economist) suggests that in many such situations, people tend to come together, assess the problem and moderate their usage all by themselves since it is in their best benefit to sustain that resource. This works best when there isn't any outside (industrial or government) interference and the local community is allowed to take care of and make decisions about their local resources themselves.

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