The Amazon & the tragedy of the government-owned commons

Capitalism, the destructive exploitation of the Amazon and the tragedy of the government-owned commons

Searching for solutions to problems is admirable, but the effectivenss of such efforts will be limited if they are based on a faulty or incomplete understanding of the problem.  


Many of those who have some familiarity with the "tragedy of the commons" paradgim outlined by Garret Hardin can identify a free-for-all when they see one, but fail to understand the perverse role that governments often play in perpetuating such situations.  While there may be a productive role that government can play in ameliorating destructive exploitation, government involvement can be counterproductive as well.

Further, while modern markets and technological advances certainly increase the pressures on "common", open-access resources, trying to change "capitalism" or "global trade" systems may be much less prtoductive than addressing the institutional failure at the location of the particular resource.

These thoughts come to mind in connection with ongoing discussions regarding the application of the "tragedy of the commons" paradigm to fisheries and to climate change.

I think the discussion has some tangential bearing on how many in the climate change debate talk past one another: some see a commons the requires government regulation, while others have a reflexive reaction against government involvement.

To further illustrate, I take the liberty of copying below portions of a discussion with Myanna  Lahsen at Roger Pielke, Jr.`s Prometheus blog in 2007



LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less