situation where people use a shared resource (such as land, water, air, etc.) without considering the impact on others or the future. leading to overuse and depletion of the resource, which harms everyone in the long run.

For example, if many farmers let their animals graze on a common field, they may end up eating all the grass and leaving nothing for others or for later. This is based on an essay by Garrett Hardin in 1968 which utilized an example by William Forster Lloyd. 1


Look at work by Elinor Ostrom

Original Hypothetical Scenario

by William Forster Lloyd in 1883 This was a scenario where cow herders shared a common plot of land where they were each permitted to let their cows to graze, as was typical in English villages. In his theory, overgrazing might happen if a herder brings more cattle to the common than he is allowed to. A herder could benefit more from having more animals while also sharing the costs associated with the commons’ resulting damage. The common could be depleted or even destroyed to the detriment of all herders if they all made this individually rational economic choice.


Not exactly about the tragedy of commons but same underlying principle -

“That which is common to the greatest number gets the least amount of care. Men pay most attention to what is their own: they care less for what is common.”

  • Aristotle

Garrett Hardin

American Ecologist Focused on population growth, resource usage and depletion, and role of welfare state in this.

Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit – in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons

— Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons

He says that welfare states promote tragedy of commons. For example, if overbreeding happened in nature, it would automatically reduce due to negative feedback. The resources would reduce and therefore, the overbreeding species in question would not have enough resources and die out. Welfare states provide for children and support overbreeding as a fundamental human right, according to him


Garrett Hardin is a white nationalist right-wing ahole. Used science to lobby his perverse ideas, favouring the rich.

see: Bounce in India - Case Study