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Hi, I’m Jonathan Tomkin from the University of Illinois. It turns out that a tragedy of the commons is not always inevitable. In particular, the commons themselves — a shared rangeland — are usually not tragic places, that is to say they are usually not degraded. If we think of some of the classic places that have commons, like the Swiss Alps where Swiss farmers share common pasture lands, they’ve actually been sustainably used for hundreds of years. So in theory the tragedy will take place, but in practice it doesn’t always. So what reasons prevent a tragedy from occurring? There are three broad ways in which we might solve a tragedy of the commons. The first way, we might say, is personal action, that is what individuals can do. The second way is internal governance, or sort of social pressures; what can groups of people to do act — when they act together. And the third way is some kind of external force, and we would most normally think about this as a, as, as a government intervention, and the government intervention might be through an external regulation or through property rights, the courts, uh, and so on. So we have these three different ways that we might solve tragedies of the commons, and in fact in the real world we see all three being used to various effect. The first one, personal action, is very important, because it ties up with our responsibility to be good stewards, and ultimately we really only have power over ourselves; we don’t have that much power over other people. Personal action has limitations. Hardin himself listed out three reasons why he thought that it was unlikely to succeed in, in solving the problem of the tragedy of the commons, and I’m going to read them out now. Firstly, he thought it is not psychologically health to force people to act against their own interests on the basis of conscience. Secondly, he said it discriminates against people of good conscience who will be less successful. So you can imagine that if you’re not the farmer putting out the extra cow, your children will be malnourished; they will be the ones that miss out on the education and so on, so you can see how that’s a disadvantage. And finally he said it won’t work in the long run. Uh, people without conscience will be more successful, and their values will dominate the system, and so again he would argue in the case of this commons that if an individual said “Look, it’s not, it’s not good for the commons if I add an extra cow,” then that means that your neighbor, who will, uh, not be under the same constraints, his value might be “Well we need to use what we’ve got,” um, because he’s going to be more successful his values will propagate through the system. Y-you will have less children, perhaps, if you’re really thinking in a Darwinian sense, or simply less people will admire your point of view. It’ll be less successful; it’ll create less money, create less wealth, at least in the short term. So there are three different possible objections that, that Hardin raised about it, and, um, it does raise moral questions for every individual. Um, for example, would it be right if everybody else had two cows and you only had one? Is it fair for you to add one more cow? Every action has its own consequences, and we have to live with our own morals and our own ethical obligations.