Tragedy of the commons original essay

The state government gave the TRC the responsibility to regulate oil and gas production in the state of Texas. The TRC in turn regulated well spacing, depletion rates, forced unitizing of property parcels astride the oil fields, and thus indirectly set the price of oil. And these controls worked, were replicated in other states, and the TRC essentially controlled the price of oil in the United States for the next 50 years. Interestingly, the Texas Railroad Commission was set up to deal with overbuilding and tariff exploitation by railroad companies, yet another tragedy of the commons situation.

The Grand Banks fisheries off the coast of Newfoundland is a prime example of the tragedy of the commons. For hundreds of years, fishermen in the area believed the fishing grounds to be abound with cod fish. For centuries, the fisheries supported all the cod fishing necessary. However, in the 1960s, advancements in fishing technology made it so fishermen could catch comparatively massive amounts of cod fish. Fishermen started competing with each other to catch increasingly larger amounts of cod, and by 1990, the population of cod fish in the region was so low, the entire industry collapsed.

In an approximate way, the logic of commons has been understood for a long time, perhaps since the discovery of agriculture or the invention of private property in real estate. But it is understood mostly only in special cases which are not sufficiently generalized. Even at this late date, cattlemen leasing national land on the western ranges demonstrate no more than an ambivalent understanding, in constantly pressuring federal authorities to increase the head count to the point where overgrazing produces erosion and weed-dominance. Likewise, the oceans of the world continue to suffer from the survival of the philosophy of the commons. Maritime nations still respond automatically to the shibboleth of the "freedom of the seas." Professing to believe in "the inexhaustible resources of the oceans," they bring species after species of fish and whales closer to extinction (9).

The tragedy of the commons is a fascinating problem faced by many areas of society. Elinor Ostrom is a Nobel Prize Winner for Economic Science in 2009. Her studies in this problem lead her to study societal examples where this problem was effectively overcome. The common elements of her solution include:
1) Clear rules governing the local resources.
2) Rules are shared by all members of the community (usually through collective, democratic decision-making processes).
3) Local and public conflict resolution mechanisms with graduated sanctions.
4) Local users play a dual role of evaluating those tasked to manage the local resources and provide information about other local users that may be misusing resources.
5) Established rules of behavior must not conflict with higher levels of government.

Tragedy of the commons original essay

tragedy of the commons original essay

The tragedy of the commons is a fascinating problem faced by many areas of society. Elinor Ostrom is a Nobel Prize Winner for Economic Science in 2009. Her studies in this problem lead her to study societal examples where this problem was effectively overcome. The common elements of her solution include:
1) Clear rules governing the local resources.
2) Rules are shared by all members of the community (usually through collective, democratic decision-making processes).
3) Local and public conflict resolution mechanisms with graduated sanctions.
4) Local users play a dual role of evaluating those tasked to manage the local resources and provide information about other local users that may be misusing resources.
5) Established rules of behavior must not conflict with higher levels of government.

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