# The Tragedy of the Commons: How Elinor Ostrom Solved One of Life’s Greatest Dilemmas
- [x] benhylau
- [x] ushnish
- [x] tim
- [x] pedro
- [ ] yurko
-The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self-interest, behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their collective action. An example of this is fishing in a common pool, where each fisher acts in their own self interest to maximize their catch, not realizing if they all do this, the common pool will be over-fished and ultimately destroying the stock for everyone.
- Clearly defined boundaries (DP1) meant that members knew they were part of a group and what the group was about (e.g., fisherman with access to a bay or farmers managing an irrigation system). Proportional equivalence of costs and benefits (DP2) meant that members had to earn their benefits and couldn’t just appropriate them. Collective choice arrangements (DP3) meant that group members had to agree upon decisions so nobody could be bossed around. Monitoring (DP4) and graduated sanctions (DP5) meant that disruptive self-serving behaviors could be detected and punished. Fast and fair conflict resolution (DP6) meant that the group would not be torn apart by internal conflicts of interest. Local autonomy (DP7) meant that the group had the elbow room to manage its own affairs. Appropriate relations with other tiers of rule making authority (DP8) meant that everything regulating the conduct of individuals within a given group also was needed to regulate conduct among groups in a multi group population.
Factors to consider: the resource itself; resources with definable boundaries (e.g., land) can be preserved much more easily. A second factor is resource dependence; there must be a perceptible threat of resource depletion, and it must be difficult to find substitutes. The third is the presence of a community; small and stable populations with a thick social network and social norms promoting conservation do better. A final condition is that there be appropriate community-based rules and procedures in place with built-in incentives for responsible use and punishments for overuse. When the commons is taken over by non-locals, those solutions can no longer be used
An example of counteracting the tragedy of commons gets possible, if the total amount of common goods is measurable and if there is a majority who sets up the following rules: people have to pay proportionally for their consumption if they report it, but those who refuse to tell, have to pay an equal portion of the amount that is left of the total consumption after subtracting those of all reporting individuals'. Since people will consume mostly diverse amounts, those who - can - consume less, are interested in joining the club of those who report and pay proportionally. This goes on until only the biggest consumer won't be reporting, but they don't have to, as their share can already be calculated by subtracting all the reported values from the total consumption