Collective Action Problem Summary

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The following essay will discuss collective action, collective action problems and the theory of the tragedy of the commons. It will also discuss governance, contemporary governance systems and ways in which these systems can be reorganized in order to counteract collective action problems.

Governing the commons and pursuing collective interests is known as a difficult task as many problems are faced when trying to achieve it. The basic problems of society are firstly, that chaos arises when there is a lack of coordination and cooperation in society. Secondly, there is a greater change of exploitation of the great by the few when proper governance systems aren’t put in action and lastly some people tend to free ride when
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In a simpler manner, it can be defined as a process by which rulers make rules and how these rules are enforced and modified (The World Bank Group, 2013). Policy can be defined as “a statement of intent” (Cloete, et al., 2006) it can therefore be deduced that policy making is the act of making the rules that will allow these intentions. Governance and policy making go hand in in hand because policy making are the actual rules that will be put in place and governance is the manner in which these rules will be executed. Governance and policy making are essential when facilitating collective coordination as they build cooperation and coordination which is important because once coordination ceases, rules and regulations become futile. Secondly, they are important because they build institutions which are formal and informal rules that guide society’s behavioural norms on what is deemed appropriate. They build appropriateness, predictability and consequentialism and these are important aspects in the good governance of the commons (Fioramonti 2014, Class…show more content…
The tragedy of the commons is a theory that suggests that rational people in a group will more often than not, act in a manner that suits their own personal interests and ultimately be detrimental to the group’s interest (Chang, 2011). The tragedy of the commons is a theory made by Garrett Hardin. Today an example of a tragedy of the commons is pollution. A ‘commons’ can be defined as a resource that is used openly for the enjoyment of all members of society. It can be seen that people tend to compare their own personal assets to public goods and value their own belongings more than public goods (Fioramonti 2014, Class Notes). This means there is no incentive to value public goods. This is a tragedy as the act lies in the unmerciful working of things because everyone is capable of changing the pattern but no one will (Stewart, 2013). Garrett Hardin identified Mutual Coercion as a possible solution to the tragedy of the commons. This requires a society to agree to change their values of morality mutually and decide that deviations from this agreement be punished in some or other way. Other solutions are to restrict access to the common and to provide incentives for citizens to stake in the public good rather than overexploiting it (Privatization) (Stewart,
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