Policy ForumGovernance

Tragedy revisited

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Science  14 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6420, pp. 1236-1241
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw0911

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  • RE: Recasting “Tragedy Revisited” Long and Hard Process

    The special section “Tragedy revisited,” skips a generation of 20th century social scientists who built the foundation for explaining how common property was actually a solution, not the problem. The International Association for the Study of the Commons (1989), which Ostrom helped to create starting in 1986, came into existence along with books and articles noting that many societies had effectively dealt with the commons issue through cultural mechanisms and local governance (1). Some argued that Hardin did not really understand the English commons (2). Recasting takes time and extensive evidence to change widely accepted ideas. Those cited (1, 2) were involved in the IASCP and/or its successor, The International Association for the Study of the Commons, as officers, council members, and important contributors.
    References and note (parentheses are the number of Google citations):
    1. F. Berkes, D. Feeny, B. J. McCay, and J. M. Acheson, "The benefits of the commons," Nature 340, 6229: 91 (1989). (914, originally submitted to Science);
    F. Berkes, Common Property Resources. Ecology and Community-based Sustainable Development (Belhaven Press with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland VD, Switzerland 1989). (204);
    D. Feeny, F. Berkes, B. J. McCay, and J. M. Acheson, "The tragedy of the commons: twenty-two years later," Human Ecology 18, 1: 1-19 (1990). (1776);
    B. J. McCay, J. M. Aches...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: the ability of groups to collectively govern common resources

    Humanity has become alienated from the governance of common resources. Indeed, out of deference to Hardin's emphasis of property rights, Aristotle, keenly aware, observes "should the citizens of the perfect state have their possessions in common or not? ... there is the greatest pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends or guests or companions, which can only be rendered when a man has private property" (Politics, Book Three, Part V); "but only that by friendly consent there should be a common use of it" (Politics, Book Seven, Part X)

    However, in the case of climate commons, to think that "The only real solution is world government and a political-economic system that prioritizes global -- planetary -- problems while giving other social issues their proper level of local administration" (retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6420/1217/tab-e-letters) bespeaks the point herein made: The mutuality of the political animal and its political environment cannot be ignored; that the extension of the political organism is the state.

    Aristotle's Politics applies to this policy forum on governance because of its enduring, logical exposition on "the elements of which the state is composed, in order that we may see in what the different kinds of rule differ from one another, and whether any scientific result can be...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Comedy of the Commons, a Tragedy Revisited

    Irreducibly-complex commons such as public domain, public utility, public welfare, public health, and collective unconscious can be deemed protected by the Fifth Amendment, which sets forth "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" Irreducibly-complex commons, those which cannot be partitioned among individuals, comprise "liberty".

    This should not be confused with the Fifth Amendment's 'takings clause" that establishes the power of eminent domain, setting forth "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. A "'balancing' test assesses the social value of a zoning ordinance to be weighed against the loss suffered by private property owners. Although this might seem fair, the landowner holds an advantage, for the loss of land value usually can be established through conventional appraisal methods, whereas zoning authorities may be unable to determine the value to the public of preserving a wetland or a historic building" See Carter's (1973) Land Use Control (Retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/content/180/4090/1039).

    According to Paul Cartledge's (2011) Ancient Greece: A tale of eleven cities "As Aristotle famously stipulated in his Politics ('Matters relating to the polis [social coexistence]'), man -- humankind -- is a 'poli...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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