Talk:Tragedy of the commons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Game theory (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Game theory, an attempt to improve, grow, and standardize Wikipedia's articles related to Game theory. We need your help!
Join in | Fix a red link | Add content | Weigh in
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject Economics (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Economics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Economics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Politics (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Fisheries and Fishing (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Fisheries and Fishing, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's coverage of fisheries, aquaculture and fishing. If you would like to participate, you can visit the project page, where you can register your interest for the project and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Environment (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This environment-related article is part of the WikiProject Environment to improve Wikipedia's coverage of the environment. The aim is to write neutral and well-referenced articles on environment-related topics, as well as to ensure that environment articles are properly categorized.
Read Wikipedia:Contributing FAQ and leave any messages at the project talk page.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
News This article has been mentioned by a media organisation:

There are English source documents for or relating to this article that could be added to Wikipedia's sister project, Wikisource.
Wikipedia is not a repository of source data; Wikisource is. While this article does not itself contain source data that should be moved to Wikisource, documents that could be used as sources for or relating to this article could be on Wikisource but currently are not. Please be sure the work and any English translation conforms to Wikisource's copyright and inclusion policies. The source document is:

Introduction Paragraph[edit]

I don't like the introduction paragraph for this article, its a bit long and the last 2 or 3 paragraphs, the ones discussing a debate about sustainability, should really be put somewhere in the body of the article. (talk) 09:54, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

The difficulty with the introductory paragraph is that it does more than mention Hardin's paper (the details of which deserve separate treatment) without including as it should, the present-day expression of this tragedy namely the loss of fishing opportunities world-wide, due to over-fishing (and for that matter whale over-killing too). Macrocompassion (talk) 11:24, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Furthermore, it's not certain that the dilemma of the commons was first discussed by Hardin in 1968; rather, Harold Demsetz had a 1967 article, Toward a Theory of Property Rights, 57 The American Economic Review 347 (May, 1967). Although Hardin's article may be more widely cited, it appears that Demsetz' was first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
The Malthusian Theory about over-consumption compared to population growth could usefully be included here too, since it was how people looked at this problem in the early days. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Macrocompassion (talkcontribs) 11:34, 24 October 2011 (UTC)


The concept is now widely understood without any reference to Hardin at all. And the article makes clear with historical examples that the general problem was understood 2400 years ago. Hardin can be removed from the opening paragraph, and "Theories and examples" reworked. This isn't an article about Hardin's academic influence.

The Tragedy is not necessarily with any individual, but with people's lack of understanding of the larger social consequences of their action? Not sure about that. (talk) 07:01, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Hardin should stay in the lede (opening paragraph(s)) as he is widely associated with this idea. Note the reasons & possible language suggested below in Talk:Tragedy_of_the_commons#Lede_a_little_too_strong_on_Hardin.3F. Lentower (talk) 11:16, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Real, existing commons[edit]

Do you think there should be some mention of the fact that there had been commons in england for the best part of a thousand years, without any of Hardin's predictions occurring? I think it'd put the article in perspective to note that the theory is proving an outcome sharply in contrast to the last thousand years of real-life evidence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Another possible example is flat-rate Internet, which encourages over-consumption and capping of bandwidth. With pricing based on used bandwidth, ISPs would instead have an incentive to increase capacity and encourage more use. -- SpareSimian (talk) 05:50, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

nope, your abundantly wrong. Also, not a common at all: they sold it to you. Go somewhere else.Scientus (talk) 08:59, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

No Social Science Research Section[edit]

A social psychologist (or grad students thereof) really should spend some time putting in a decent summary of the literature and findings. In particular, the various methods and outcomes are critical for understanding the impact of Tragedy of Commons for policy-makers. Experiments varying replenishment rates, reinforcement rates, and consequences have led to the same exhaustion outcome, at a faster or slower rate. Don't have time to get to this today, myself, but it is critical for this article! JasonRin (talk) 17:43, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Merge from Commons dilemma[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was merge Commons dilemma into Tragedy of the commons. -- Debate 23:23, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

These two articles are on the same topic, and both have detail the other lack. Cheers. --AtD (talk) 11:55, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Agree: I think the main article should be titled "Tragedy of the Commons" and not "Commons Dilemma". ElectricRay (talk) 17:26, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Contingent agree. Electric is correct that the title of a merged article should be TOTC. But the Commons Dilemma article is very much in the way of describing an academic field, not a general account of the topic. So, if it's added, I think it should be in a shortish section more or less titled academic study. Lots of references, maybe. Otherwise, I'm opposed. ww (talk) 02:48, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Contingent agree. The Commons dilemma article has some glaring problems:
    • The introduction is a tad too short, leaving out the part that explains why herders feel that they can put more cows on land that is already borderline or worse.
    • In the third paragraph on motivational factors, it concludes "The most likely explanation is that people have an optimistic bias". Need a source for this. I could just as easily conclude a pessimistic bias: "Well, I don't know how much is left, so maybe I should get as much as I can".
    • In the Strategic Factors paragraph, it says "The interpretation of this effect is that the first players feel entitled to take more.". Again, I'd like to see a reference for this; they could just as easily be thinking "wow, there's plenty for everyone, so I can take lots!", while the latecmers see how fast the supply is dwindling, and therefore take less.
    • In the Structural Factors paragraph, it says "Another structural solution is the privatization of the commons and this has been very effective in experimental and field research", which seems to contradict what the TOTC article says, that it leads to anti-tragedy.
    • ww says: "Add a shortish section". That article is already rather short. I'd say just swallow the whole thing.
    • There are plenty of references in that article, none online, which makes it hard for non-specialists to verify.
    • --Scott McNay (talk)
  • Agree Looks like there is consensus to merge. I'll do the merge and clean up over the next week or two. Both articles have some glaring problems that I'll have a go at correcting at the same time. Debate 23:19, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


"Paradoxically, Hardin's article has been interpreted as an argument both for the privatization of community assets and for increased government regulation."

Paradoxically? Really? "Interestingly," perhaps--but I don't think it's paradoxical.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

philiptdotcom (talk) 02:23, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

P.S. - It's not paradoxical, because both the solutions mentioned [potentially] solve the "commons dilemma" [at least to some extent]; however, the BENEFICIARIES of the reduced impacts may be significantly different. philiptdotcom (talk) 02:27, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm happy with rewording the sentence, either with the word 'interestingly' or through some other reconstruction. The use of paradoxically in this context was a poor choice of words on my part. Debate 08:47, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I have been bold and replaced the word with 'controversially'. I am still happy for others to have a crack if that change is itself controversial. Debate 08:52, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi there Debate. I've removed "controversially" since it's not controversial that Hardin's idea has been used in this way (certainly not to Hardin, who would probably have taken the view that no one solution fits all commons problems). "Interestingly" would have been better, but it still implies a judgement on the part of WP editors rather than something source-able. The sentence makes sense without any leading word, so I've removed any for now. I hope that's OK. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 08:58, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
That's fine with me. Debate 08:59, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I rewrote it as: Hardin's article has been variously interpreted either as an argument for the privatization of community assets or for increased government regulation. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 17:31, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Go for it. Debate 00:41, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
I interpret that as "boldly delete the unsourced material". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:42, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
How about boldy contribute some sources rather than simply hitting the delete key to every unsourced statement, of which there are still too many in this article, simply to make a point. References aren't that hard to find and several editors above don't appear to find the overall sentence objectionable. To save you some time, try clicking on the article above under "This page has been cited as a source by a media organization". Regardless, the article touches on the topic in several places and as the into is essentially a summary sourcing is only necessary if you think it is.Debate 00:55, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
The burden is on those who add material. But really I was just asking, on this talk page, which sources we're summarizing by drawing attention to this "paradox". Who are the people who make these contradictory assertions? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:57, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
This is beginning to turn into a discussion on sourcing, and probably needs it's own section. Regardless, there remains a fair amount of cleanup to do following a merge. The sources for The Commons Dilemma section are at the bottom of the page, separate from the reflist, and need to be integrated into the text and reflist (unfortunately they were never in-line citations). Due to a crazy life at the moment I haven't had the opportunity, but the work is waiting to be done if someone wants to jump in and do it. Debate 01:02, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
BTW, seriously, the link I point out above gives you a start in answering your last question.Debate 01:04, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Which link? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:37, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Quote: "This page has been cited as a source by a media organization. The citation is in: Steigerwald, Bill (April 17, 2005). "Four economic precepts for everyday life", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (details)" Debate 09:22, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that wasn't clear. But I hope we're not summarizing 13-year-old Tobin's views on this. "According to one newspaper columnist's 13-year old nephew, the 'Tragedy of the Commons' is a call for privatization...." Presumably, sentences like the one we're discussing here concern significant viewpoints that appear in reliable sources. Since we're arguing over how to summarize their views, I'm just asking who "they" are: these people whose views we're describing. If we're not sure whose ideas we're summarizing then maybe that would be the best place to start. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:43, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

<outdent> As I said, it's a start. Regardless, the term "they" is rightly not used in the sentence as it simply summaries two general schools of thought taken by a wide variety of commentators, as well as an implicit tension within Hardin's article itself, and is already extensively covered in the body of the text. The {{who}} tag, which appears to me to better characterize your concerns rather than {{fact}}, is therefore in my view unnecessarily pedantic. Nonetheless, if you wished to do some digging I am confident that you would find numerous sources that would resolve your concerns, including from within the extensive existing reference list. Unfortunately, as I don't have the time at the moment to follow that up for you please be bold and either do a little research yourself and contribute to improving the article or delete whatever chunks you see fit. Debate 12:04, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Late to this party but I had come across this before and posted it on some discussion thread related to Hardin but here it is. Hardin is alleged to have "lamented":
"The title of my 1968 paper should have been `The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons.'" [Emphasis Hardin's]
If accurate, it suggests some displeasure with misinterpretation of his original essay. (talk) 17:16, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Mentioned commons dilema in intro[edit]

  • I added info about the commons dilemma to the introduction. This is necessary because the dilemma is central to Hardin's article, and the article is not the first or last study of the essence of the dilemma. I believe many people are familiar with the phrase "tragedy of the commons" as representing the dilemma of the commons itself, rather than the article. -Pgan002 (talk) 02:43, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The essence of the commons dilemma has been discussed by theorists since ancient history, but not under that name.
What is our source for that sentence? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:29, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • References 6, 7, 8 and 9. -Pgan002 (talk) 18:34, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks. The assertion that Thucydides and Aristotle were talking about the same concept is close to original research, but it's probably OK. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:39, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Several Dead white males were used in the 18 and 19 to motivate to get rid of the commons,there is no continuity of the discussion since the attic Polis. Radkau is very clear abut that point. --Polentario (talk) 14:34, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Radkau is cited in the intro, with no explanation of whom he is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:35, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Oak tree[edit]

its rather typical for a former commons used by pigs to be fed with oaks. --Polentario (talk) 01:23, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Third Opininion concerning Wikimedia Commons and Allmende[edit]

(Copy from wiki portal) Is there any sourced etymology about Wikimedia 'Commons', e.g. in relation with the historical Common land and Tragedy of the Commons or Tragedy of the anticommons ? The direct German Translation of commons is be 'Allmende'. Both have been used in GB and germany (according reliable sources e.g. Joachim Radkau) since the 18th in an metaphorical way for the challenges of Common good (economics)s respectively de:Gemeingut. Thanks for any advice. --Polentario (talk) 19:55, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Costa Rica is the first country to avoid the tragedy of the commons, by pricing for environmental business services to preserve eco-tourism[edit]

The country of Costa Rica has successfully advanced the growth of its eco-tourism business by taking account of, and pricing for, the environmental business services consumed by pollution.[1]

  1. ^ THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN (No) Drill, Baby, Drill New York Times Op-Ed Column Published: April 11, 2009

Missing the Point[edit]

Critics of Harden’s paper “The Tragedy of the Commons” continue to miss his point. In seeking to criticise some of the examples he used, or seeking to demonstrate that his examples were inaccurate, those critics have deflected their attention completely from the central thesis in Harden’s paper. That thesis is that the Earth is a finite resource, and, a finite resource can only support a finite objective – in this case, population. Ergo, if we don’t control the world’s population we are all doomed to suffer. What Harden did not state was the time period before this would occur. The paper was written in 1968. A little over forty years later (2009), with increased numbers enduring poverty, global warming, and other associated social ills, it would seem that we (with one exception) are ignoring Harden’s timely warning at our peril. That one exception is China which moved to impose their one child policy on its population a number of years ago. (talk) 04:06, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Criticisms, NPOV, More Citations Needed[edit]

The current citation in the controversy section (which I have more appropriately labeled "Criticism" in keeping with other articles) is insufficient. Specifically, the article references a public policy expert in a journal article.

This is not a historian commenting on historical fact. The issue here is whether or not land enclosures were managed to prevent overgrazing. The article claimed that "Historical Studies have proven" and then cited a journal article specifically attacking Hardin, not a journal article about common land. Dahlman, who was cited in the article, is a public policy expert, not a historian, and it is not sufficient to cite his work when challenging an idea accepted by consensus within the historical community.

This is a historical claim: It requires historical sources. A journal of 18th century british history for example.

Please see Wikipedia for more information. Specifically: "claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant community."

I have edited the article slightly to fix the immediate problem ("Historical studies have proven") but the whole section needs significant cleanup. For example, I left the rather POV statement about there being errors within the article. I don't know which errors he's talking about, however. It would be good to have that sources perspective, though, as he is an economic expert.

That's one of the problems with The Tragedy of the Commons. The work bridges Biology, Economics, History and Political and Moral Philosophy. Regarding criticisms, we need appropriate sources from appropriate arenas.--Ollie Garkey (talk) 20:26, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Add The Age of Stupid?[edit]

Add The Age of Stupid? (talk) 08:03, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Dennis Fox quote[edit]

The whole paragraph regarding the Dennis Fox comments (added 05:06, 31 May 2007) is broken and is pretty weak anyway.

First, it is one large quote with a cursory introduction.

Second, much of the quote is actually a quote of a quote with Fox quoting Edney. And, the referencing of Edney is totally useless because it is simply a copy-paste of the references in Fox that are now incomplete.

Third, the quote-within-a-quote is incorrectly formatted and un-terminated making it unclear what is quoted text. Everything after "he stated" to the end of the paragraph is quoted from Fox.

Fourth, the online version of the Fox paper referenced contains a warning that it "does not exactly match the published version." If we want to quote this paper someone should dig out a reference for the American Psychologist version of the paper and check the quoted text.

Fifth, the quote-within-a-quote (of Edney by Fox) has now grown a "[sic]" after the "well-functioning commons" which is not present in the online version of Fox's paper. I don't see what requires the use of the heavy-handed 'sic' notation here; perhaps the singular 'commons' is causing confusion?

The idea presented by Fox in this paragraph is intriguing. Perhaps someone can summarize Fox and Edney. Or summarize Fox and quote Edney directly. Or summarize Fox and quote the "Dunbar's number" page. (talk) 05:14, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Non-illustrative picture[edit]

The picture ( in this article is an example of [deforestation]; it is not an example of "Tragedy of the Commons". Thus, it should not appear as a leading graphic in the summary of the article.

There is no objection to the picture appearing somewhere else in the article, perhaps as an illustration of one of the concepts associated with the dilemma. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MechHead (talkcontribs) 16:37, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

The picture of the cows in field that is currently there is more appropriate. Although, hmm, it may be a little obscure to modern readers. Interpretation 1) One animal eats the grass, the others can't ... that's somewhat intuitive. Interpretation 2) Cows and other animals can overgraze land, leading to soil damage. Ok, true, but not in the experience of most readers. Interpretation 3) Communal lands, historically, were sometimes carefully regulated, so that no one person obliviously took what someone else also needed. Very obscure, for historians only.
However, all those interpretations are a little tangential. The problem was stated to us by our Systems Analysis professor perhaps in a way that is more readily grasped: There is a worn track in the lawn, outside the classroom. People walk on grass all the time. It recovers. The problem is that when more than a particular number of people walk over a spot of grass, it dies. The tragedy is that no one is really trying to kill the grass. And no one knows whether their feet will make no difference, or will be the last straw that kills the grass. Up until that point -- there's no problem. The first person past that point has done something, unintentionally, that has a serious consequence. (talk) 03:36, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Identity politics?[edit]

Is there any reason why this article is in Category:Identity politics? I've read a bit about both but can't immediately see a connection. —Tom Morris (talk) 17:05, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Hmm. Looks like a tenuous connection to me. I'll remove it (feel free to revert, anyone, if you know better :-) bobrayner (talk) 19:02, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Spam is not an example of the commons dillema[edit]

I would argue this is not an appropriate example. First of all, spam is sustainable. It is not and has never been expected that spam will entirely kill email. Secondly the normal use case is that of users using a common good in the same way but collectively overusing it for maximizing their own profit. This does not apply to spam. Spammers are a minority and their practice is a nuisance to other users, but does not threaten their own practice, nor is it confined to the short term... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

commons vs. public good[edit]

These edits added Wikimedia commons and Creative Commons, which should be sensible, given their names, but they don't fit with the notion of commons as in the tragedy of the commons. A commons is generally considered a non-excludable, rival good, whereas things like Wikimedia aren't really rival, excluding slight bandwidth use issues. They really fit more into the notion of public goods. CRETOG8(t/c) 03:23, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Orwell's Writings on Commons[edit]

George Orwell had a thing or two to say about enclosure. In "As I Please," Tribune, 18 August, 1944 he writes

Apropos of my remarks on the railings round London squares, a correspondent writes: ‘Are the squares to which you refer public or private properties? If private, I suggest that your comments in plain language advocate nothing less than theft, and should be classed as such.’

If giving the land of England back to the people of England is theft, I am quite happy to call it theft. In his zeal to defend private property, my correspondent does not stop to consider how the so-called owners of the land got hold of it. They simply seized it by force, afterwards hiring lawyers to provide them with title-deeds. In the case of the enclosure of the common lands, which was going on from about 1600 to 1850, the landgrabbers did not even have the excuse of being foreign conquerors; they were quite frankly taking the heritage of their own countrymen, upon no sort of pretext except that they had the power to do so.

Except for the few surviving commons, the high roads, the lands of the National Trust, a certain number of parks, and the sea shore below high-tide mark, every square inch of England is ‘owned’ by a few thousand families. These people are just about as useful as so many tapeworms. It is desirable that people should own their own dwelling houses, and it is probably desirable that a farmer should own as much land as he can actually farm. But the ground-landlord in a town area has no function and no excuse for existence. He is merely a person who has found out a way of milking the public while giving nothing in return. He causes rents to be higher, he makes town planning more difficult, and he excludes children from green spaces: that is literally all that he does, except to draw his income. The removal of the railings in the squares was a first step against him. It was a very small step, and yet an appreciable one, as the present move to restore the railings shows. For three years or so the squares lay open, and their sacred turf was trodden by the feet of working-class children, a sight to make dividend-drawers gnash their false teeth. It that is theft, all I can say is, so much the better for theft.

For that matter, Enclosure might make a good addition to the article. Thoughts?

Staysharp (talk) 21:11, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Orwell's diatribe is aimed at class enemies that he demonises as false-toothed tapeworms who give nothing in return. However Orwell's moral outrage offers no better compensation than Captain Pouch's pouch (see article) for his simplistic equating of functioning capitalism with theft. The treading of common green spaces by "feet of working-class children" that he envisions hardly sets the scene for a Tragedy of overgrazing of the Commons. Orwell's text could only be related to Hardin's essay if the latter debated for or against Marxist revolution, but Hardin does neither. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 16:47, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Lede a little too strong on Hardin?[edit]

Not an expert on this subject, but just scanning the article, it seems that the lede saying that this was "first described" by Hardin seems wrong. He was the first to use the term but that's different. How about replacing

This dilemma was first described in an influential article titled "The Tragedy of the Commons," written by ecologist Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968.

with something along the lines of

This dilemma has been recognized for many centuries, but the term "tragedy of the commons" was coined by ecologist Garrett Hardin as the title of an influential essay published in the journal Science in 1968.

I'm not a regular on this article so I'm not going to do this, but I'm suggesting it. Herostratus (talk) 04:17, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Similarity to Prisoner's dilemma[edit]

I notice there is a strong similarity between Tragedy of the commons and the Prisoner's dilemma. Especially, it is obvious when comparing the "real-life examples". Maybe one could say that the tragedy of the common is a result of people acting rationally upon the prisoner's dilemma?

At least, I think the "See also" section should include a reference to the Prisoner's dilemma. CLHA (talk) 18:47, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

The Population Bomb[edit]

The Population Bomb was a book published the same year. Both the book and this article have the same concern, overpopulation. This article should mention the relationship between the book and Hardin's article. Which one of these was published first? They are both the same topic and very influential. Or was this general theme talked about that year?
It should also note the reasons why concerns about population control are reduced and that nowadays there is more in the media about preserving resources.
QuentinUK (talk) 17:58, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

What are you suggesting is the connection between the two? Hardin's theory is not about overpopulation but rather about how commons spaces are used. Sunray (talk) 18:38, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Have you read the essay? It's exactly about population. He just discusses land use as a metaphor or example of the problems he sees with unlimited reproduction. I can't answer QuentinUK's question (at least without doing research), but it's relevant.   Will Beback  talk  20:25, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Though he only mentions overpopulation twice, his thesis is that: "abandoning the commons in [i.e., limiting] breeding," is necessary as there is no technical solution to "the misery of overpopulation." Sunray (talk) 06:13, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
It's a common mistake. Naturally, this article focuses on the general issue rather than Hardin's specific concern.   Will Beback  talk  07:43, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • [Journal of Comparative Family Studies]' first issues were published in 1970. This date, only two years after the publication of Paul Ehrlich's (1968) The Population Bomb and Garett Hardin's (1968) Tragedy of the Commons, marks the height of public and academic concerns about population growth and the threats it posed (e.g., Meadows et al. 1974).
    • A Half Century of Fertility Change. Morgan, S Philip; Rackin, Heather. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 41. 4 (Summer 2010): 515-.
  • Two seminal papers for contemporary food ethics are nearing their fortieth anniversary. ‘‘Famine, Affluence and Morality,’’ was one of several early papers that established the reputation of a young Australian philosopher named Peter Singer (1972), while ‘‘Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor,’’ was contributed by the ecologist Garrett Hardin (1974), already famous for his paper ‘‘The Tragedy of the Commons.’’ Both papers were published during a time when crushing famines were making headlines, and against the background of a freshly minted environmental consciousness sparked by books such as Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb and Barry Commoner’s The Closing Circle. Singer argued for a moral obligation to feed starving people, while Hardin argued against it.
    • Food Aid and the Famine Relief Argument (Brief Return) Thompson, Paul B. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics23. 3 (2010): 209-227.
  • In his book "The Population Bomb," Mr. Ehrlich criticized DDT for being too effective in reducing death rates and thus contributing to "overpopulation." Hardin opposed spraying pesticides in the Third World because "every life saved this year in a poor country diminishes the quality of life for subsequent generations." For these activists, malaria was nature's way of controlling population growth, and DDT got in the way.
    • DDT and Population Control. Editorial. Wall Street Journal [New York, N.Y] 24 Apr 2010: .12.
  • The world’s population has increased dramatically since Thomas Malthus first proffered his rather gloomy prognostications on the matter. From an estimated one billion at the turn of the nineteenth century, human numbers grew to more than three billion by the 1960s, when Garrett Hardin and Paul Ehrlich rekindled Malthus’ fears with ominous predictions of food and land being despoiled by the teeming masses of people who held no regard for the rights or needs of others. Ehrlich wrote, for example, that ‘‘the battle to feed all of humanity is over…In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death’’ (Ehrlich 1968). Hardin maintained that the ‘‘goal of the greatest good for the greatest number’’ would be unobtainable in a world that grew beyond its optimum level of occupants (Hardin 1968). Arguing that families who do not face negative consequences for doing so will continue to produce children wantonly, Hardin appealed for the end of welfare supports that encourage ‘‘overbreeding,’’ just as Malthus called for the end of the British poor laws in 1798. Because individuals simply could not act in the best interests of society, it was incumbent upon the government to intervene to appropriately manage the commons. Malthus, Ehrlich and Hardin prioritized the values of survival, welfare and justice for the current and future global community over the value of individual freedom. In their very reductionistic consequentialist prescription, because the ends justify the means, the means; namely, restrictions on reproductive freedom, were therefore not only acceptable, they were ethically sound.
    • Policy review: thoughts on addressing population and climate change in a just and ethical manner. Petroni, Suzanne. Population and Environment30. 6 (Jul 2009): 275-289.

And so on. The two publications are often compared and contrasted. But it'd be harder to answer QuentinUK's questions about how they came to be written in the same year, and which came first. Further research might turn up something.   Will Beback  talk  20:53, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

OR tag[edit]

Placed this tag after the last sentence of the intro to show that the sentence is out of place without a citation -- it makes a claim that merits citation. This likely could be fixed by moving the previous citation ahead to the end of the section, but since I'm not familiar with the sources, I used OR, and now here we are. Zach99998 (talk) 03:38, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Relevant? Raj Patel's "The Value of Nothing"[edit]

The name of the book comes from a quotation from Oscar Wilde, "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing". The book is about the food politics: how market forces cause poverty and starvation. (talk) 05:29, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

It's not for us to decide if it's relevant. Either the work itself needs to discuss this topic, or some 3rd party needs to make the connection.   Will Beback  talk  19:35, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

No mentions of externalities[edit]

I think it is at least worth mentioning externalities in this context. Even if the argument is pushed that the tragedy of the commons is not a form of an externality (which I think is rather silly, but I'm willing to hear it) it still doesn't explain the lack of any reference to this deeply related concept. Walras101 (talk) 23:53, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Some extra explanation sounds like a good idea. They're clearly related concepts. bobrayner (talk) 01:01, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Tradegy of Internet Commons[edit]

Assuming WP:RS can be found, it would be a fascinating add to this article to discuss the trashing of Commons on the Internet. This includes spam across the Internet, but also the hijacking of sites for purposes other than that of their "owners" and supporters. Wikipedia itself is such a commons, not just for vandalism and other spam, but all the marketing and other non-encyclopedic text and articles that have been added. Lentower (talk) 14:38, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Private Property Solves All Problems?[edit]

I don't get it: how can the tenor of this article be that privatization solves the Tragedy of the Commons when we see mass deforestation and other non-sustainable use of private property all over the place? I can see no imperative to use private property sustainably. However, such an imperative is implied all over this article. --Mudd1 (talk) 12:13, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Popcorn and Mortgage Rates?[edit]

What about commercial things that people buy being a tragedy of the commons? Like if no one paid $10 for a bag of popcorn at the movies, then popcorn wouldn't be priced at $10. Similarly, if the maximum home loan that could be given was 10 years (or no one took out a home loan over 10 years), then housing prices would be less, and people would own their homes sooner. Allowing for longer terms just allows for more competition. Someone who makes xxx dollars and wants to pay off a house with a 10 year loan now has to compete with someone else making significantly less who wants to buy the same place on a 30 or 40 year loan, and this additional competition drives prices up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:40, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Concentrated benefits and diffuse costs[edit]

I suggest that any meat (pun related to grazing cows was not originally noted, but seems appropriate) from Concentrated benefits and diffuse costs be merged here, near Walter Williams's note on grazing politicians. Same tragedy, different POV. Yes, I did suggest that the article be deleted, and I still don't see the topic as yet notable or the term commonly used, but notability is not required for a section of an article, if it's relevant. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:56, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Can you provide any reliable sources that establish a connection between the two concepts? Here are some of the reliable sources that I've found...none of which mention a connection between the two concepts...

--Xerographica (talk) 01:24, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Can you provide any evidence that it is not the same as Walter Williams's concept in this article. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:08, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Please quote exactly which passage from Williams's article Tragedy of unbridled self-interest leads you to believe that he's talking about the concept of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. "Diffuse costs" means that it's not worth it for the 100,000,000 million taxpayers who each pay $1 for a sugar subsidy to make the effort to lobby against it. The benefits are concentrated on a small group of sugar farmers while the costs are dispersed among millions of taxpayers. Even if taxpayers weren't rationally ignorant...they would still be rationally inactive. It's not the "commons" because there is only cost, and absolutely no benefit, for the taxpayers. Therefore, it's legal plunder...a small group of sugar farmers "legally" reach into all our pockets and take out $1. Again, please thoroughly research topics BEFORE you edit them. This is now the third time that I've told you this. --Xerographica (talk) 02:43, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Whether or not you know what you're talking about (which I doubt), you have not written a word which is helpful for Wikipedia. Please do not write "articles" until you have something sourced to reliable sources. I think I lean back toward delete, again. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 03:47, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I've shared numerous reliable sources (see above) but you clearly have no interest in reading them. The problem isn't lack of are 38 search results from the website alone...the problem is that you have absolutely no interest in the topic. Why not just edit the entries that interest you? Right now you are contributing absolutely nothing of value to the editing're just wasting my time. --Xerographica (talk) 04:14, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Based on your failure to provide a single RS that supports your argument, I'm going to redirect CB/DC to legal plunder. --Xerographica (talk) 18:58, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Legal plunder[edit]

This one, also. It's obviously the same concept, and there is absolutely no possible reason for creating creating two articles about the same concept. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:08, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

This one might be transwikied to Wiktionary, rather than, or in addition to, merging to Tragedy of the commons. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:26, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Xerographica, it appears that after Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Concentrated benefits and diffuse costs was closed as "redirect", you recreated most of the content at Legal plunder. Mostly quotes which do not actually mention legal plunder. Why did you do this? bobrayner (talk) 19:05, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The term "legal plunder" is not the focus of the entry...the concept is. How can you edit Wikipedia without understanding that the concept, and not the term itself, is the focus of entries? It would be one thing if you had said that some of the passages focused on completely different concepts...but the only thing you did was read them over to see if they actually used the term "legal plunder". If you want to make helpful, useful and beneficial contributions to an entry...then you have to actually understand the concept. Otherwise you're just going to be a VDE. I understand the concepts because I've thoroughly read countless reliable sources. Please do the same...and then come back with some insight into where there's room for improvement. --Xerographica (talk) 19:29, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Allan Savory's pet theory[edit]

The last paragraph in the Criticism section is a tangent on the grazing habits of cattle. Hardin used 'cows on the commons' as analogy to explain the relationship between individual benefit and shared cost. The last paragraph presents some jumble about herd behavior and soil moisture, which completely misses the point of the analogy and nitpicks an obviously simplified thought experiment. I would venture that some advocate of Allan Savory's 'Holistic Grazing' added this last paragraph to further this fringe theory on the literal management of cows. The criticisms presented in the last paragraph are scientifically unsound and, even worse, completely irrelevant. I say delete it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:51, 25 March 2013 (UTC)


"Referring to Hardin's crucial passage on page 1244,17 Partha Dasgupta, for example, comments that 'it is difficult to find a passage of comparable length and fame that contains so many errors as the one quoted.'[16] " First, the link, despite its label in the footnote, does not take us to this passage at all. Second, what does "on page 1244, 17 Partha Dasgupta," mean? In particular, what is the 17?Kdammers (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Econ 101 vs. culture wars[edit]

I just edited the lede to reduce gross overreliance on Hardin. The article seems to be caught in culture wars and needs a lot more work, that I don't have the time to do. This is a very basic economics concept, that apparently Hardin popularized among the ecological community. I learned about this concept years ago--its basic in economics 101 and economic history courtses--yet never heard of Hardin til today. The history section could be expanded to Adam Smith's Moral Theory book, or to George Orwell or even Gifford Pinchot, but the commons tragedy concept was very well known long before Hardin, so this does not really need to be a memorial page for him. I left the Partha Dasgupta cite in, without checking it, because he seems to be one of the critics or commentatators on Hardin, and even that section seemed to be a rehash of Hardin's work. IMHO, wikipedia's not meant to be a rehash, but a gathering place or even a jumping-off-place for scholarly research. But right now, the article's too messy to do that. Jweaver28 (talk) 16:12, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

The tragedy of the commons is not just an economics topic, and contrary to what you were taught Hardin is highly relevant. The courses you studied must indeed have been 101. Over half of the 45,000 articles listed by Google Scholar which mention the topic also mention Hardin. As Hardin puts it, the tragedy of the commons has "been included in anthologies on ecology, environmentalism, health care, economics, population studies, law, political science, philosophy, ethics, geography, psychology, and sociology". It is a wide spectrum topic, and is as much about ideology and politics as it is about science or economics. --Epipelagic (talk) 20:14, 25 September 2013 (UTC)


I've just fully protected this article for three days due to the edit warring. Please discuss the matter here on the talk page instead of continually reverting. Mark Arsten (talk) 19:04, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Chomsky's no economist, but he's published an immense amount on the politically motivated, deliberate twisting of meanings of terms from many fields. When blurred meanings confuse public debate (the common assertion, contrary to Radkau) it's worth noting. Attleboro (talk) 19:16, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
In what way could Chomsky ever be considered a reliable source on this topic? bobrayner (talk) 01:19, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
You say, bobrayner, in an edit summary that "wikipedia is supposed to represent reliable sources and the mainstream view". What is the "mainstream view" of the tragedy of the commons, and how do you know it is the mainstream view? And how would you identify what you consider to be reliable sources in this context? Why would you regard the libertarian views of the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises as relevant and reliable, and yet disregard the views of the renowned linguist and intellectual Chomsky on the use of the term? --Epipelagic (talk) 03:32, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm biased toward the Austrian School, but Chomsky is not an expert on much of anything, except in his own mind. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:17, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Thinking about it, Chomsky is an expert on politically motivated, deliberate twisting of meanings. He's done enough of it to know. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:18, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I gather Chomsky upsets you Arthur, and you don't want him mentioned in the article. But as far as I am aware you are not a notable expert in the field yourself, so we cannot use you as a reliable source for the article. Chomsky's views are at least as influential as von Mises's. There are many takes on the tragedy of the commons, as mentioned in the previous thread above, and the article should aim to present these with a measure of balance. --Epipelagic (talk) 10:29, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure you can find expert comments on this subject. Chomsky is not an expert, but perhaps his opinions should be reported as personal opinions if notable. I don't think they are notable, but I could be convinced by adequate citations. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:31, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
If Chomsky were "not an expert on much of anything, except in his own mind", he would not have such a massive life work of academic publications. He could hardly have paid for all that himself. He is, in fact, an expert on deliberate and self-serving misuse of language and, so, is qualified to speak, and be heard, wherever germane. Attleboro (talk) 21:12, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Chomsky's academic work is impressive (although far from uncontroversial), but this is not an article about linguistics and grammar. Chomsky's lengthy comments on economics and geopolitics are not the kind of thing we should spread further. bobrayner (talk) 04:42, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree "lengthy comments" from Chomsky don't belong in the article, but no one is suggesting that. However, as a prominent linguist and commentator on the political use of language, a salient point from him on widespread ideological misuses of the term "tragedy of the commons" is certainly appropriate. Would you mind answering the questions I addressed to you above? --Epipelagic (talk) 07:53, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Modern solutions: Cooperation to conserve resources?[edit]

Under the heading 'Modern solutions', the following text can be found: "Alternatively, resource users themselves can cooperate to conserve the resource in the name of mutual benefit." To my mind, however, this leads straight into the tragedy of the commons due to the free-rider problem. Instead, policy-based solutions are required. Therefore, I recommend removing this sentence. Musicnut83 (talk) 00:46, 29 October 2013 (UTC)


I query the History section, even though it has citations. It starts off:

The enclosure movements in England (which led to over 5000 Inclosure Acts between 1750 and 1860) prompted the analysis of this economic principle, probably known to Adam Smith.

This doesn't make much sense. The Enclosures got rid of the commons (i.e., common grazing land). Why would they prompt the analysis of this principle? In fact, the Enclosures were connected with the development of capitalism, and were not a reaction to overgrazing. And why say the principle was "probably known to Adam Smith"? Either he discussed it, or he didn't. Much of the rest of the section doesn't seem particularly relevant to the topic.--Jack Upland (talk) 20:58, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

It does sound as though WP:ESSAY and WP:BOLLOCKS richly apply to the section. Also sounds as if you'd be the perfect person to cut it down to size? Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:04, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
The Enclosures were connected with the development of capitalism. They were not a reaction to overgrazing. Actually overgrazing actually wasnt a problem at all for smaller communities regulating their common land. But the commons stood in the way of the scientific consensus of economists which preferedd large landowners haveing their say. So the Enclosure Movement is strongly connected to the commons ;) but, as discussed, overgrazing is not connected to it. Serten (talk) 14:35, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Antibiotic use and resistance[edit]

An article in Nature used the Tragedy of the Commons as a metaphor for antibiotic use.</ref>Megan Cully. Public health: The politics of antibiotics. Nature 509, S16–S17 (01 May 2014) doi:10.1038/509S16a</ref> In each instance where an antibiotic is used its use may be rational; but each instance contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance, and the eventual failure of that antibiotic. It seems an accurate metaphor. --peter_english (talk) 18:58, 1 May 2014 (UTC)


The term was most popular around 1800, but is based on some citations of the greek classics. Insofar there is no use all to claim Hardin as inventor of the term. Serten (talk) 13:39, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Where is the evidence for this claim? What "citations of the greek classics"? Google Ngram clearly shows that the term only started to register in books after 1968, when Hardin published his classic paper. There is no sign at all that "the term was most popular around 1800". Are you just making this stuff up all by yourself? If you didn't, then you need to document your case with reliable sources that support your view. Otherwise you are engaged in original research, which is not acceptable on Wikipedia. --Epipelagic (talk) 21:43, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Gee, the early economic literature used - not only according Radkau - the "klapprige allmendekuh" (dry cow of the commons) quite often. Try real science as in "Allmende und Allmendaufhebung: vergleichende Studien zum Spätmittelalter bis zu den Agrarreformen des 18./19. Jahrhunderts Hartmut Zückert Lucius & Lucius DE, 2003" - the debate started in the 18. Century, full stop, and Hardin - in contrary to Osrom - completely ignored actual commons. Hardin himself quoted a 1833 pamphlet by William Forster Lloyd, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Serten (talk) 22:54, 17 September 2014 (UTC) PS.: Alfred Thomas Grove and Oliver Rackhams history of the Nature of Mediterranean Europe, denounce Hardin as "an American with no notion at all how Commons actually work". If you continue to ignore basic science and still try to upheld the lies about Hardin defining the topic, you violate basic WP rules. Why?

Radical rewrite[edit]

I have reverted a radical rewrite of the article by Serten. These involved the dismissal of well cited material totalling nearly 40% of the original article. The reason given for these mass deletions was entpovt, whatever that means. The remainder of the article was then restructured. I would like Serten to explain his thinking with these changes, and achieve some consensus here before actually making the changes. --Epipelagic (talk) 20:43, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

The previous version of the article claimed that Hardin coined the term as ecowarning end of the 1960. Thats completely inacceptable and against all evidence. It doesnt stand any scrutiny. No consensus with any sort of intro claiming that. The scientific literature states that the origin of the term is the use as forestry science and agriculture modernization rationale end of the 18th century and Hardins metaphorical use is a more fringe aspect much later on. Insofar the article had to be rewritten radically. A big part of it was original research trying to provide examples for the Hardin story, which is more or less neomalthusian nonsense. As said, thats neither needed nor in line with WP policy. Insofar keep the new version, the old one is neither acceptable nor based on valid sourcing. [Please notify that I already have used the talk page and given a rationale for my changes.[User:Serten|Serten]] (talk) 21:16, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Twice now you have reverted back to your radical rewrite, including it's bad English, and are trying to edit war your version into place. You have ignored the advice given by wp:brd. Your rewrite goes way beyond your dubious claim above that the term "tragedy of the commons" cannot be said to originate with Hardin, and you have provided no reliable sources to back your claims. In short, the original research seems to be coming from you. I invite you now to do the decent thing. Please revert yourself and start discussing your issues properly by offering reliable sources. --Epipelagic (talk) 22:03, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Are you kidding? Whoever claims that the term was originated by Hardin hasnt read the basic literature on the topic. To call Joachim Radkau Nature and Power: A Global History of the Environment a dubious source is as offensive as funny. Serten (talk) 22:24, 17 September 2014 (UTC) PS.: Try his quote of Alfred Thomas Grove and Oliver Rackhams, both scholars speaking white, via google books. Hardins science article has been quoted, but he is deemed an ignoramus in environemntal history. Serten (talk) 22:42, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Far from reverting herself, Serten is continuing to flood the article with her point of view. She also seems to be gearing up to a radical rewrite of sustainability on Wikipedia. According to Serten's interpretation of her countryman Joachim Radkau, sustainability and the tragedy of the commons are concepts which originated in "medevial Saxony Ore mountains" and German forests, and this overshadows other viewpoints. --Epipelagic (talk) 23:22, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

I am using scientific sources to improve the article. Thats called editing, not flooding. My countrywoman Joachim Radkau got her own article and some books in the one and only language youre able to utter. Hardin was a zoologist that got a slot in Science for some neomalthusian gibberish, he was neither an expert in history nor in economy. That said, both Radkau and Ostrom are the sources to take into account. And yes, sustainability as a policy concept of dealing with natural ressources started with another countrybeing, Hans Carl von Carlowitz compare "Inventor of sustainability" in die Zeit. Serten (talk) 09:45, 18 September 2014 (UTC) PS.: "The good version" would never use Hardin as base of the intro. You still ignore the facts honey.
The only sources you have mentioned in discussion so far have been confined to a minor German historian Joachim Radkau, to a German tax accountant Hans Carl von Carlowitz, and to an American political economist Elinor Ostrom. Where are the high scientific credentials you keep claiming, sweetheart. You have not only reverted back to your version again without consensus, but you have removed the POV tag from the article. Why? Do you think there is no POV dispute here, or is it just arrogance? You are now also behaving equally badly on History of sustainability. --Epipelagic (talk) 23:31, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Contrary to your claimes, I have provided further sources and I never quoted Hans Carl von Carlowitz.

  • David Bollier and Silke Helfrich Collection of 73 essays that describe the enormous potential of the commons in conceptualizing and building a better future,
  • Hartmut Zückert: Allmende und Allmendaufhebung. Vergleichende Studien zum Spätmittelalter bis zu den Agrarreformen des 18./19. Jahrhunderts (= Quellen und Forschungen zur Agrargeschichte; Bd. 47), Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius 2003, IX + 462 S., 4 Farb-Abb., ISBN 978-3-8282-0226-9 review (in German)
  • Huberman, Bernardo A. and Romero, Daniel M. and Wu, Fang, Crowdsourcing, Attention and Productivity (September 12, 2008). Available at SSRN:
  • Avoiding Tragedy in the Wiki-Commons, by Andrew George, 12 Va. J.L. & Tech. 8 (2007)
  • Elinor Ostrom got a nobel prize on her work on commons. Youre claiming she was introduced by me, she was already quoted before I edited in the article, she alone is enough to get rid of the Hardin bullshit.
  • Joachim Radkau is THE specialist in the field of environmental history, the book quoted about nature and power got the Bentley Book Prize.
  • Radkaus point about Hardin being an ignoramus which didnt know anything about real commons is quoted from The Nature of Mediterranean Europe: An Ecological History, by Alfred Thomas Grove, Oliver Rackham, Yale University Press, 2003, p. 88.

You cannot ask for consensus as long as you deny factual evidence, Epipelagic. The consensus concept does not apply to factual errors. Hardin didnt invent the topic, he was ignorant about actual commons and didnt have any proper background to write about historical topics. No consensus needed to state that, similar as no consensus at all will allow you to restore Phlogiston or Aether theories in actual physics articles. You might suggest to restore parts of the previous version, as you seem to miss some of the lists included. I will however ask for real sourcing and not allow further OR. Serten (talk) 04:23, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

What "factual evidence" have I denied? You don't bother to read what I actually write, do you? It seems to be part of a general lack of respect. I presume you just skim over the top and then have some fantasy which you reply to as though it was something to do with me. The sources I was referring to were the "only sources you have mentioned in discussion so far", not sources in the article. You are bulldozing the issue by removing POV tags, and refusing to revert your contested changes and move to a collaborative and consensual approach to editing. It is no surprise you got into so much trouble on the German Wikipedia, and unless you are willing and able to change you will be heading to a similar fate here. The fact is that I think you have some good points and the article should move in some of the directions you have indicated. But it is clearly a waste of time trying to discuss such issues when you so rudely pre-empt any possibility of collegiate debate. It's a shame, because at one level you probably have something to offer Wikipedia. At another level you sabotage yourself by your refusal to respect fellow editors. In short, the way things are now I can't be bothered with you. --Epipelagic (talk) 05:21, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
You tried to ridicule Radkau and Ostrom and you havent read or registered the sources I have provided. Instead of discussing content, you reverted several times to a bullshit version. I may not suffer fools gladly but you disrupt improvement of the article in question. You defende fringe theories of an eugenist and bell curve friend like Hardin - that doesnt help respect wise. Serten (talk) 06:03, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Tsk, tsk... there you go again. --Epipelagic (talk) 07:51, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry I read what you have written "The only sources you have mentioned in discussion so far have been confined to a minor German historian Joachim Radkau, to a German tax accountant Hans Carl von Carlowitz, and to an American political economist Elinor Ostrom. Where are the high scientific credentials you keep claiming, sweetheart" and you dare to ask for collegiality. Start debating content and get rid of that horse, the corpse stinks already. Serten (talk) 14:18, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There are multiple reliable sources which show the tragedy of the commons is a real thing, rather than some fallacy. Stop this. bobrayner (talk) 21:46, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Hardin was - as quoted - an ignorant which was not aware of actual commons at all and he surely was not the one that inventied the metaphor. Thats out of discussion, so the intro has to be changed. I would prefer you better respect Radkau and his credentials, same for Groe or, beware Ostrom which all do not take Hardin seriously. As steted and proven, the metaphor has been used since the 18 century at least, it should be no problem to come up with examples. I have already reinserted some of the examples of the previous version and insofar stepped back from the radical rewrite. You may use as well further sources or list some of the topics where the alleged tragedy of the commons occured or the metaphor was used. Serten (talk) 21:55, 19 September 2014 (UTC)