"Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons.
As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, "What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?" This utility has one negative and one positive component.
Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another.... But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy."
This talk available at http://jmvidal.cse.sc.edu/talks/peertopeer/
Copyright © 2009 José M. Vidal
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All rights reserved.
10 November 2001, 10:55AM