Wednesday 3 September 2008

missing tragedy

In his 1968 article 'The Tragedy of the Commons', the science professor Garrett Hardin used the word "tragedy" as Aristotle did:

'to refer to a dramatic outcome that is the inevitable but unplanned result of a character's actions. He called the destruction of the commons through overuse a tragedy not because it is sad, but because it is the inevitable result of shared use of the pasture. "Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all."'

Ian Angus argues that the evidence for this simply isn't there. (HT: Arts and Letters)

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