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The Tragedy of the “Tragedy of the Commons”: Why Coining Too Good a Phrase Can Be Dangerous

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  • Robert Stephen Hawkshaw

    ()
    (Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, 1822 East Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z1, Canada)

  • Sarah Hawkshaw

    ()
    (Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T, Canada)

  • U. Rashid Sumaila

    ()
    (Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T, Canada)

Abstract

A deep reading of Hardin (1968) reveals that he had a lot more to say about the use and regulation of resources such as fisheries than he is given credit for in the literature. It appears that he is typically cited just so that authors can use the phrase “tragedy of the commons” to invoke the specter of looming catastrophe and then tie that to whatever solution they have proposed. We argue in this contribution that there is a lot more in Hardin’s essay that either contradicts or greatly complicates the arguments he is cited as an authority for.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 11 (November)
Pages: 3141-3150

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Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:11:p:3141-3150:d:21503

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Related research

Keywords: tragedy of the commons; fisheries economics; individual transferable quotas;

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  1. U. Sumaila & Ahmed Khan & Andrew Dyck & Reg Watson & Gordon Munro & Peter Tydemers & Daniel Pauly, 2010. "A bottom-up re-estimation of global fisheries subsidies," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 201-225, October.
  2. Colin W. Clark & Gordon R. Munro & U. Rashid Sumaila, 2010. "Limits to the Privatization of Fishery Resources," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(2), pages 209-218.
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