Ethical Obligations in a Tragedy of the Commons
AbstractWhen people use a resource without a co-ordinated plan the result is often a tragedy of the commons in which the resource is depleted. Many environmental resources display the characteristics of a developing tragedy of the commons. Many believe that each person is ethically obligated to reduce use of the commons to the sustainable level. I argue that this is mistaken. In a tragedy of the commons there is no reasonable expectation that individual, voluntary action will succeed. Our obligation is not fruitlessly to reduce individual use, but to support a collective agreement to reduce everyone's use to the sustainable level.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.
Volume (Year): 12 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
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Web page: http://www.erica.demon.co.uk
Commons; ethical obligations; collective action; environmental ethics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D46 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Value Theory
- D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
- Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
- Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply (the Commons)
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- Ty Raterman, 2012. "Bearing the Weight of the World: On the Extent of an Individual's Environmental Responsibility," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 417-436, November.
- Marion Hourdequin, 2011. "Climate Change and Individual Responsibility: A Reply to Johnson," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(2), pages 157-162, May.
- Carol Booth, 2012. "Bystanding and Climate Change," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 397-416, November.
- Marcello di Paola, 2013. "Environmental Stewardship, Moral Psychology and Gardens," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(4), pages 503-521, August.
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