Agrarian Trust

The Commons, Legally

David Bollier digs into the commons, and what law students, and all of us should know about our shared properties. From the article:

If you mention “the commons” to someone today, the first idea that usually comes to mind is “the tragedy of the commons.” That idea was launched by biologist Garrett Hardin in the journal Science in 1968. In his now-famous essay, Hardin said, Imagine a pasture in which no individual farmer has a rational incentive to hold back his use of it. He declared that each individual farmer will put as many sheep on the pasture as possible, which will inevitably result in the over-exploitation and destruction of the pasture: the tragedy of the commons. Over the past two generations, economists and conservative ideologues elevated the “tragedy parable” into a cultural cliché because they saw it as a powerful way to promote private property rights and so-called free markets, and to fight government regulation.

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