Tragegy of the Commons

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by noeliabretones992
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies

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Tragegy of the Commons

The internet is a science, technology and society example where tragedy of the commons is relevant as physical resources that are being exploited gets protected by legislation, the internet is a free market which is easily exploitable such as privacy. Data and internet passwords can be stolen much more easily than physical documents. Virtual spying is almost free compared to the costs of physical spying.

A counterexample to the tragedy of the commons is offered by Andrew Kahrl. Privatization is normally a healthy way to deal with the tragedy of the commons. Kahrl suggests that the privatization of beaches on Long Island, in an attempt to combat overuse of Long Island beaches, made the residents of Long Island more susceptible to flood damage from Hurricane Sandy. The privatization of these beaches took away the protection offered by the natural landscape. Tidal lands that offer natural protection were drained and developed. This attempt to combat the tragedy of the commons by privatization was counter-productive. Privatization actually destroyed the public good of natural protection from the landscape.

Tragedy Of The Commons

In 1968, Garrett Hardin coined the phrase "Tragedy of the Commons." It is an economic theory where rational people act against the best interest of the group by consuming a common resource. Since then, the Tragedy of the Commons has been used to symbolize the degradation of the environment whenever many individuals use a common resource. Although Garrett Hardin was not an STS scholar, the concept of Tragedy of the Commons still applies to science, technology and society.


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