๐Ÿ“‘ Do You Believe in Sharing?

Bookmarked Do You Believe in Sharing? (Tim Harford)

Lin Ostrom never believed in โ€œthe remorseless working of thingsโ€. Born Elinor Awan in Los Angeles in 1933, by the time she first saw Garrett Hardin present his ideas she had already beaten the odds.

Tim Harford compares the work of Garrett Hardin with that of Lin Ostrom. According to Ostrom there are many flaws to the argument for the ‘tragedy of the commons’, such as the ownership of the land and commonality between different examples. Matto Mildenberger also provides his own recount of the sordid history assocaited with Garrett Hardin’s classic.


The commons were owned by a community. They were managed by a community. These people were neighbours. They lived next door to each other. In many cases, they set their own rules and policed those rules.

Hardinโ€™s article had sliced through the complexity with his assumption that all commons were in some sense the same. But they arenโ€™t.

The logic of Garrett Hardinโ€™s 1968 essay is seductive but to read the text itself is a shock. Hardinโ€™s policy proposals are extreme. He believed that the ultimate tragedy of the commons was overpopulation โ€“ and the central policy conclusion of the article was, to quote Hardin, that โ€œfreedom to breed is intolerableโ€.

via Cory Doctorow

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