On Ruining the Commons and the Commoner: The Political Economy of Overfishing

Abstract
"There is now a considerable body of literature on the issues and problems relating to the use and overuse of common property resources--sometimes referred to as "commons." A commons is an economic resource or facility subject to individual use but not to individual possession. Hence all commons face one problem: how best can one coordinate individual uses to attain an optimal rate of production or consumption for the whole community. A very popular and forcefully argued answer to the problem is to grant property or access rights to the users. In developing countries, use of common property resources is closely related to the survival and sustenance of a vast population of persons such as pastoralists, forest dwellers and fisherfolk. As a result, issues pertaining to the use and overuse of these resources are not merely questions that can be resolved solely by resorting to granting of access or property rights to the array of claimants to the resource. They raise more fundamental socio-economic and political issues which can only be understood and addressed in the larger context of the history and dynamics of change that have taken place in relation to the access to, and use of the resource."
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Keywords
fisheries, common pool resources, resource management--economics
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