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The Tragedy of the Commons Revisited: Sharing as a Means to Avoid Environmental Ruin

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Type: Book
Author: Kägi, Wolfram
Date: 2001
Agency: University of Str. Gallen Institute for Economy and the Environment
Series: IWOE Discussion Paper, no. 91
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5701
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Social Organization
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): tragedy of the commons
common pool resources
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "This paper argues that for many traditional societies, the two property systems, sharing and common property, should be analysed together in order to understand their effects and their role. In some cases one of the property regimes alone might lead to inefficient outcomes, but the coexistence of the two property regimes results, in efficient outcomes. In particular, it is suggested that in many traditional societies the 'tragedy of the commons' is overcome due to the coexistence of common pool resources and a culture of sharing. This paper describes the overall thrust of the economic literature of common property and confronts the existing literature with a case study on Lofanga, an island of the Kingdom of Tonga. Thereafter, the anthropological literature on sharing is analysed. Based on this analysis it is then argued that in a large number of traditional societies the systems of sharing and common pool resource systems are complements and the management of common pool resources often relies on the existence of sharing systems."

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