William Forster Llyod's The Tragedy Of Commons

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The Tragedy of Commons is a concept originally contrived by William Forster Llyod in 1833 in the essay Two Lectures on the Checks to Population. However, the term was really able to come to prominence after economist Garret Hardin invoked the analogy in his 1968 paper Science. This conceptual metaphor is used as the allegory for suitability dilemmas. The ‘tragedy’ in essence due to unrestricted use and access to a limited resource, which ultimately leads to the reduction of the resource as a result of over-exploitation. The ‘commons’ are essentially Earth’s finite resources such as water resources, forest resources, fish stock, energy, and endangered species. In regards to the commons, the tragedy is very much relevant to not just the state, but also the individuals. Though the system fosters this behavior, it is the individuals that increase their usage of the commons and play into the hand of the failed system as opposed to standing up against it.

William Forster Llyod’s example consisted of herders that all shared a plot of land in which they could allow cows to graze.
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People seeking to acquire riches and increase their wealth are more the willing to remove the perceived minimal societal gains from the forest resources in order to realize their monetary goals. The issue is not when an event of this kind happens just once. This deforestation becomes a problem when this happens thousands of times to the point where millions of acres are cleared. Half of the world’s tropical forests, which are about 3 million square miles out of the original 6 million square miles, have now been destroyed. Scientists have predicted that if we maintain our current rate of deforestation, that in 2030 there will only be 10% will remain (Nielsen
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