Friday, June 3, 2011

The Tragedy of the Fishies and Bunnies...See how you can keep these critters alive!! (hint: give their hunters private property rights)...

This video uses commercial fishing as an example of the Tragedy of the Commons. When property rights are not clear, or don't exist at all, then when people compete for an economic resource they have no incentive conserve the resource, and every incentive to pillage the resource as much as possible.  Property held "in common" will become subject to over-exploitation.  It is a zero-sum game---if I don't get it, then you will.  If acceptable ownership rights are established and enforced (the most important part) then all parties have an incentive to not pillage the resource, which ensures more will be available in the future. 

This way of thinking has many applications. Can you think of a resource held in common currently that could benefit from private ownership?  (HT: Division of Labour for the video)

Here is a link to an interactive game to teach the lesson of the Tragedy of the Commons. This one is called "The Tragedy of the Bunnies"...Get there quick to save the little fluffy things!!! :)
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