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Introduction: Setting the Scene

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Rosalie Callway

The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will want to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons . . . as a rational human being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain . . . the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another. . . But this is the conclusion reached by each and every herdsman sharing the commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit ...

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