Tragedy of the commons essay garrett hardin

The Tragedy of the Commons Science 13, December At the end of a thoughtful article on the future of nuclear war, J.

Tragedy of the commons essay garrett hardin

His argument is consequentialist: One of the things that we will notice about Hardin's essay, however, is that whether he is right or wrong, he paints with a very broad brush. This makes it a good essay for the honing of your philosophical skills; you should notice that there are many places where the reasoning procees with less than total care.

Tragedy of the commons essay garrett hardin

Hardin begins with metaphors. He points out that while the metaphor of earth as a grand spaceship has a certain popularity or did 23 years ago it is a flawed metaphor nonetheless.

A spaceship has a captain, and couldn't survive without one. The earth has nothng vaguely resembling a captain, the United Natins in particular being a "toothless tiger.

By Hardin's own account, it was a way of bolstering the following proposition: The correctness of this view would hardly seem to depend on whether the earth has a captain.

But Hardin's reply would no doubt be that if we ae in a situation in which allowing everyone a "fair share" will lead to disaster, then this seemingly innocuous moral principle is dangerous. In any case, Hardin prefers a different metaphor.


Rich nations can be seen as lifeboats. The seas around them are filled with poor people who would like to get in the lifeboat or at least get a shae of the walth.

Should we let them in? Hardin fills out the metaphor. Suppose that our lifeboat has a capacity of 60 people and that there are now 50 people on board. Suppose there are people in the water. If we take them all on board, we get "complete justice, complete disaster," in Hardin's phrase; we all drown together.

We might let 10 aborard, but how do we choose? And what about the need for a safety factor? Aren't we irresponsible if we don't plan ahead for possible emergencies by leaving ourselves some excess capacity?

Recall that in this metaphor, capacity includes things like supplies. It should be obvious that this is a dubious metaphor. To begin with and this will come up again not all countries are either rich or poor. Furthermore, it is not as clear as Hardin assumes that we lack the resources to save everyone.

And the argument from the safety factor may seem dubious. Couldn't we help some people -- even if we select them in a fairly arbitrary way? Leave the safety factor aside. Presumably it is true that we should not give all our "excess" resources away; not planning for emergencies is irresponsible.

The main reply that Hardin would make to our doubts is this: Because of the difference in rates of population growth between rich and poor nations. Suppose that inthe U. Suppose that the combined population of the poor countries equaled the total populationof the U. The populaiton in the U.

By -- 87 years later -- the population of the U. The combined population of the poor countries in the pool would be billion. This is simply unsustainable; our sharing would lead to catastrophe for all of us.

This is the consequence that Hardin believes would follow from following the sharing ethic inherent in the "spaceship earth" here. An Abstract of "A General Statement of Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons" Although "The Tragedy of the Commons" is widely acclaimed, activists in environmental causes as well as professionals in ethics continue to act as if the essay .

Tragedy of the commons essay garrett hardin

I n the general public got a graphic illustration of the “tragedy of the commons” in satellite photos of the earth.

Pictures of northern Africa showed an irregular dark patch square miles in area. Ground-level investigation revealed a fenced area inside of which there was plenty of grass.

Updated 10 June, Extension of The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin, , published by The American Association for the Advancement of Science. An Essay on the Principle of Population [T.

R. Malthus] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The first major study of population size and its tremendous importance to the character and quality of society. Antimicrobial resistance: revisiting the “tragedy of the commons” When the NDM1 enzyme-containing “superbugs” struck in India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom earlier this year, media reports blamed medical tourism for its spread.

The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin - The Garrett Hardin Society - Articles.

A General Statement of the Tragedy of the Commons