Tragedy of the commons

When there exists a common access resource, over which there is no private owner, the incentive among rational users of that resource is to exploit it to the fullest potential in order to maximize their own self gain before the resource is depleted. The tragedy, therefore, is that common resources will inevitably be depleted due to humans’ self-interested behavior, leaving us with shortages in key resources essential to human survival.

« Back to Glossary Index