Monday, February 23, 2009

The Tragedy of the Commons

This article is about the population crisis. Hardin uses the “commons” to refer to resources as a whole that everyone has access to. The tragedy of the commons is that there is really no “technical solution” to the population problem. The population continues to expand exponentially, but the resources needed to sustain human life do not. Therefore at some point the carrying capacity is reached, and the resources must run out.

A commonly suggested solution for the population problem is to try to appeal to people’s consciences. In other words, they would try to convince people that it is selfish and wrong to have more children than what is needed to replace the parents. However, the belief is that “conscience or the desire for children is hereditary”. Therefore, the people that have more children are more likely to pass on this lack of conscience to more offspring, so the conscientious people eventually become obsolete.
There really is no technical solution to this problem. As long as technology continues to advance, there is really no way of making population growth equal zero. People live to older ages now due to medical advances and more babies are born every day because of advancements in maternity and pre-natal care. People will never agree to give up the technology that they have or will have, so the technology and the population will continue to grow.

1 comment:

  1. It is true that the population continues to grow on a daily basis and there are only so many resources to go around, but to think that there is no solution to these problems seems ts make me think that people are just not thinking about all of the options. Developed countries do control most of the natural resources and the poorer "Third World" are responsible for the large population boom, but there are things each could contribute to help the overall problem.
    All of the world's developed countries had their times when the resources seemed unlimited and that is how they became to have so much power. The thing about developed countries is that they develope new technology and over time show a zero population growth or even negative growth. When a country starts to have negative growth there are some issues going on; many people have moved out.
    Third World countries need to start thinking about ways to disperse their over-capacitating population like by having people emigrate. When there is a influx in population in one place the resources can just not handle it. It would be better if the people were distributed according to the resources.