Chapter

Reasoned Understandings and Social Change in Research on Common Resources: Introducing a Framework to Keep Tensions Active, Productive, and Ever-present

in Unruly Complexity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780226790350
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226790398 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226790398.003.0006
Reasoned Understandings and Social Change in Research on Common Resources: Introducing a Framework to Keep Tensions Active, Productive, and Ever-present

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Garrett Hardin's idea of the “tragedy of the commons” is widely invoked in the discussions of conservation and natural resource management. Many teachers of environmental studies use classroom simulations to introduce students to the “tragedy of the commons” and its implications. This chapter describes an activity in which students are asked to take the role of herders who are all given the same initial amount of cattle and cash. Each year they have an opportunity to buy cows and receive income from the sale of milk and excess calves. Everyone's purchases are summed up and a formula is used in the chapter to calculate a figure for the income per cow during the year from milk and calves. In this formula, the income declines once the combined herd on the common pasture exceeds some threshold, and the pasture becomes overgrazed.

Keywords: Garrett Hardin; pasture; natural resource management; herders

Chapter.  12744 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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