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The Reality of the Commons: Answering Hardin from Somalia

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Shepherd, Gill
Date: 1988
Agency: Social Forestry Network, Overseas Development Institute, London
Series: Network Paper 6d
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5461
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): social forestry
tragedy of the commons
property rights
core commons
Abstract: "Twenty years ago this year, the biologist Garrett Hardin wrote a now famous paper which has strongly influenced atteqts to understand human use of the environrent. He popularized the sonent phrase ‘the trageay of the cmmns’ in arguing that though society is composed of rational individuals attempting to maximize their own best gcod, this rationality is individual and fundamentally at the expense Of other individuals. Nowadays, it is often forgotten that Hardin was prompted to write not by the misuse of cormmn lands, but by population growth rates. In 1968, the year in which Hardin’s article appeared, hrlich had just published his apocalyptic book, The Population Borrb, and the rapid natural increase of populations in Latin America and Asia was terrifying the world."

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