What is the tragedy of the commons? – Nicholas Amendolare

What is the tragedy of the commons? – Nicholas Amendolare

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Is it possible that overfishing, super germs, and global warming are all caused by the same thing? In 1968, a man named Garrett Hardin sat down to write an essay about overpopulation. Within it, he discovered a pattern of human behavior that explains some of history’s biggest problems. Nicholas Amendolare describes the tragedy of the commons.

Lesson by Nicholas Amendolare, directed by TED-Ed.

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87 Responses

  1. Continual Improvement says:

    The tragedy in life is loving junk food more than healthy food.

  2. Obscurity says:

    Tragedy of the commons is when you’re looking to get a rare item in a game, but instead receive “common”

  3. AfrozX Crafted says:

    Does this mean Capitalism will Fail!!😱😱😱

    • Dave id says:

      That’s a really good question. Capitalism will most likely make many people rich, and even benefit society as a whole economically. But the downside of capitalism is that it’s a little like nature, and only the fittest survive, in this case the cheapest, or most bountiful or best made product. These are things we want in products and we determine which is best by buying them, but we might not take into account if these products are good for our environment, community or even the longevity of our economy itself. So for capitalism to survive we’ll need to redefine our view of quality products, and take an interest in long term effects and not just short term goals.
      So in short capitalism can survive if we’re smart about it. Or it could fall apart if we’re too short sighted, letting monetary gain lead us into a culture of unsustainable.
      So, maybe? but I may have just used capitalism and consumerism interchangeably, so I’m probably not the best source.
      I din’t mean for this to be so long. Sorry.

    • Adam Martin says:

      It means that when capitalism does fail, that it’ll fail for all of us – big time. It also means that capitalism is inevitable during times of surplus. Essentially, we’re doomed.

    • Pradeep Angiras says:

      It’s unbridled and unrestrained greed that would bring doom on us, call it whatever isms or schisms anyone wants to 🙂

  4. The Science Biome says:

    Loved the animation style of this video, one of the best ones you have made!

  5. SARTHAK SRIVASTAVA says:

    Someone show this to good for nothing Orange Skinned Clown atleast!

    • SARTHAK SRIVASTAVA says:

      Kiiro Sagi: Considering India, instead of having a huge population and negating per capita emissions(which obv would be low) the total emission are comparatively low.
      2. CCPI designates that India is trying hard to achieve its emission reduction promises while Usa hovers at an abysmal 43.

    • Jim Bob says:

      Not important trump see’s this. Did you see this Sarthak?

      This is why various corporations & Scientists are against the development of A.I.

      A.I is the true answer to balance the tragedy of the commons.

    • Ricardo Siahaan says:

      Orange Clown: “FAKE NEWS !”

    • Jacob Votava says:

      Meptiness also, the removal of dotnet sites used to educate people on global warming.

  6. kylesocrazy says:

    Just don’t be selfish

    • Wurminator says:

      + Stephen Darrenkamp
      They have the option but ignorance about the sheer existence of the option makes it worthless.

      Imagine being the leader of a country with a lot of oil deposits, but you don’t know about it because former searches for oil were unsuccessful.
      Now every other nation with oil could blackmail you because you are supposedly reliant on foreign oil.
      They have you under control now despite your option to drill for your own oil,
      and yes, you are in a way forced to obliged.
      Now imagine the other nations would know that you have oil, now every attempt at discovering it could get you into trouble so you don’t even dare.

      What would be your solution to this problem in every worker-boss relationship?

    • Stephen Darrenkamp says:

      Wurminator the problem doesn’t exist in the worker-boss relationship. You are dealing with hypotheticals that don’t exist.

    • Wurminator says:

      + Stephen Darrenkamp
      If they don’t exist why do people often have jobs they don’t like?
      And why are there so many people who don’t like their boss but would never dare to complain?

    • Stephen Darrenkamp says:

      Wurminator Not liking a job and not knowing that you can quit are two different things.

  7. Alex Dunkel says:

    Sorry, TED-Ed, but there’s another way to look at it. Read the Ishmael series by Daniel Quinn.

    • West Fable says:

      I just wanted a clarification. You stared with “Sorry”. Did you mean that TED-Ed’s “way to look at it” was wrong? Or, did you mean that Ishmael would provide a perspective that also serves to explain the results of the tragedy of the commons?

      Alternatively: Are you saying that TED-Ed’s lesson is not helpful at all?

    • Alex Dunkel says:

      West Fable I meant, “way to look at it wrong”. But the rest of this thread kind of said that already.

      This video carries civilization’s message, which has been unsustainable from the beginning. Keeping the course while looking for fixes is what we’ve been doing all along, and making it worse every time.

  8. Pawlakov1 says:

    Just split this pond in 4 parts. It’s not that hard. If you overhunt your own fish it’s your own problem.

    • clitoris mold says:

      Pawlakov1 your subbed to stossel arnt you? Me to.

    • Soham Bhattacharya says:

      We have that. It’s called Socialism.

    • Dave id says:

      Ooooo this is a really interesting point! If space is divided among people, each with limited resources, and each responsible for maintaining their own goods, could they all function individually?
      The answer is> POSSIBLY.
      Really this could work, but there’s a catch. If one fisherman isn’t smart about his fish population and catches all the fish on their side, they could be forced to steal from their neighbors to survive. Or on the contrary if one fisherman catches all their fish and sells them, they could start buying fish from the other fishermen who only caught maybe one or two fish, then eventually start selling those fish at an inflated price. Then slowly build a profit to buy the other sections of land from the other fishermen.
      I guess the other fishermen could band together to stop this behavior but getting three people to cooperate is a lot easier than millions of people to cooperate.
      So it’s possible if someone doesn’t screw with the system. But usually there’s always one guy that can’t just be content.

    • YouCanCallMeReTro says:

      Sebastian Alvarez Burga You don’t get the point. The point is that people fishing a pond is nothing like the global economy because unlike the fish, our goods don’t produce themselves.

    • Monica Rogers says:

      The answer can be that simple when the question is simple. How would you propose we stop negative behaviors and practices carried out on private property from affecting a whole group? We would each have to have our own planet to live on to prevent this. Unfortunately, we don’t each get our own planet. The point is this: “Optimizing for the self in the short term isn’t optimal for anyone in the long term.”

  9. 91UnclesRemuses says:

    Nice job avoiding any mention of private property as the primary means of avoiding the tragedy.

  10. Patel Ujjval Rajeshbhai says:

    What is the tragedy of the *comments* ? – Nicholas Amendolare

  11. My Stupid Opinion says:

    Don’t listen to this anti-capitalism message! This is way too reasonable and logical for the masses to hear! Just go back to your selfish consumerism lifestyles so the billionaires can continue to make more money!!! Buy buy buy!!! It’s for the good of the economy and that’s all that matters in life!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. clitoris mold says:

    This is just another example of why socialism will never work

    • YouCanCallMeReTro says:

      1ucasvb You have no idea what you’re talking about. The Tragedy of the Commons has VERY much to do with production. Who is going to commit to upkeep of resources? You can have collective agreements, but there is no way to ensure an individual citizen is doing their fair share. That is the very problem of the tragedy! Everyone in the collective takes more than they’ve produced. Its not about restricting access, its about incentivizing production. If there is an owner, he is incentivized to care after the resources… why do I have to re explain the whole concept to you. You’re redefining the concept to your own whims, but you’re missing the logic behind it.

    • 1ucasvb says:

      YouCanCallMeReTro: That’s a very anthropocentric and industrial-minded take on the problem, which is pretty typical of those who think privatization will deal with it in any way. You are taking so many things for granted here. It’s very unfortunate.

      But whatever man, we clearly disagree on the basic premises of the discussion and even terminology. YouTube comments are not a good place for that level of discussion and neither of us will gain anything from it.

  13. Kiiro Sagi says:

    This is a problem of poor math, a lack of applied science and long term thinking, not a problem of self-interest or capitalism. This type of false connection is borderline communist propaganda. Sounds far-fetched? Let me explain:

    By this logic, why should the government not own and control the fish or mandate how many fish people are allowed to get and why should it stop at fish? There’s also the oversimplification that 1 fish per household is ideal or that these farmers won’t have kids who will have their own houses and fish from the same pond.

    • Zeke Krahlin says:

      The Scandinavian countries seem to have gotten things right, better than most, if not all. And they are government controlled under a form of socialist democracy.

    • Kiiro Sagi says:

      Harri if the state owns the fish pond, yes otherwise no.

    • Kiiro Sagi says:

      Zeke Krahlin they succeed because of their capitalism, not in spite of it. They also don’t share a porous border with the second deadliest country in the world and ultimately there are far too many variables and uniquely American problems to establish causation or correlation. Fairer to compare a country like Denmark to highly capitalist Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea, Japan or Hong-Kong.

    • Huntch Squad says:

      I think this video was an over simplification of a very broad topic but it did the job well for only being 5 minutes long. The government does limit the amount of fish allowed to take from most public sources. These amounts very on local laws and how the fish population is doing at the current time.

    • Anchor Senjaro says:

      fish going extinct in 2050 though.

  14. Sebastian Elytron says:

    So basically the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

    • The Fuzz says:

      No, it’s single mothers and useless government workers parasiting off tax proceeds generated from the actual tangible labour of the productive. If you study history it is these 2 groups who take more than they contribute, until sustainability can no longer be maintained. Oh, and also bankers, charging interest in excess of GDP growth.

    • Kusariyaro says:

      When rich polute the air and the sea enough with low quality control oil dredging their children will suffer the effects. ANd it is true. Humans are living like we are on an infinitely perfect planet that resupplies every night. Its idiotic how much we ruined it.

    • Dusty_MemorieS _05 says:

      Eventually the poor will eat the rich… as any Aerosmith fan can tell you

    • special jester says:

      How would this pond be any different (fundamentally) from a live stock farm? wouldn’t you agree that free markets cause livestock production to increase the availability of meat?

  15. Stephen Darrenkamp says:

    The propaganda is real and obvious in this video. Their definition of tragedy of the commons was correct but he framing/presentation/conclusions were straight communist propaganda.

    • Anchor Senjaro says:

      Fish are going extinct in 2050 if that helps frame that Capitalism or the status quo isn’t without out its cons.

    • Dave id says:

      So it’s not that the video is misrepresenting the idea, you just don’t like how it’s presented as true. Hate to break it to you but most presentations are made with the preconception that the idea is true. That’s just how people format their presentations.

    • Psylenco says:

      It’s an answer to the question of what the definition is. If the definition is correct, they’ve done their jobs.

    • Steve Olivera says:

      Stephen Darrenkamp the tragedy of the commons is real and still happening in every part of earth. you cant ignore the fact.

    • porky - says:

      Cold war propaganda is gone mate. There’s no spooky Soviet Union making the government brainwash us anymore so communism is cool

  16. Zaxor Von Skyler says:

    I think the world would be a better place if they played Ted-Ed on TV!

  17. apenasmeucanal says:

    And that’s why communism doesn’t work

    • Thomas Bradley says:

      apenasmeucanal communism implies government, if you and your neighbors take responsible then there is no need for governmental action

    • Melissa Bautz says:

      No, if your neighbor steals fish, you both starve for it. Not everyone takes responsibility and learns their lesson. That’s what happens when the government has complete control over the food source.

    • Wurminator says:

      +Thomas Bradley
      There is no governemt in a communist society

  18. Jonathan Blood says:

    Silly, just dig a new pond and fill it with water. Everyone take three fish and transport it to their own new pond. The weakest person can simply stay at their original pond. Then if I want an abundance I sacrifice a day of fish and then another day later until I produce far more than I can use. Yes, we have limited resources but not a limited amount of ingenuity, ability to sacrifice, and certainly we shouldn’t dissuade people from doing more than the average person around them.

    • Thomas Bradley says:

      Jonathan Blood yes dig a hole (disturbing bulk density and probably erosion), remove water from the stream (introducing pathogens to the aquifers that may not be their), remove the fish (when the reproduce there will be no genetic variation unless you trade fish every so often) and hope that they live

    • Mongis Lort says:

      yeah fish farming is a thing

    • Thomas Bradley says:

      Mongis Lort farming fish has been proven to produce some of the most disease prone fish. Why you may ask because there is no genetic variation and the fish live in tanks far away from the diseases in the streams

    • Melissa Bautz says:

      Thomas Bradley , Well, the fish inbreeding was happening in the pond anyway. TedEd ignored that problem, too.

  19. Galdino says:

    This is a problem of collective property. The solution is PRIVATE property.

    • Thomas Bradley says:

      Private land ownership would only be better if the private landowner does not abuse their wealth (# of fish)

    • Huntch Squad says:

      When it comes to more complex situations such as overfishing in the ocean or large lakes it is hard to distribute property. Having a person or corporation “own” a portion of the ocean would result in more over exploitation.

    • Wurminator says:

      + Galdino
      So in this example a global player claims the pond, and builds fences around it.
      The village starves to death and the company sells the fish on the market?

    • special jester says:

      What if someone owned the pond. How would this pond be any different (fundamentally) from a live stock farm? wouldn’t you agree that free markets cause livestock production to increase the availability of meat?

    • Just Yt says:

      How do you separate things we all share like air and the planet?

  20. TED-Ed says:

    Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our nonprofit mission on Patreon! You make these conversations possible. Want to learn more about how you can get involved? Check out our Patreon page: http://bit.ly/2zXB8CS

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