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Volume 25 • Number 1

January 2011



Tragedies without Commons

by Christopher Knapp

Commons problems are, understandably enough, typically thought to be problems about commons. That is, they are thought to be problems that arise when a number of different people have access to an unregulated good.

What makes these situations tragic is that individual actions that seem to be for the best, considered separately, combine to produce an overall outcome that is decidedly less than optimal. Thus, the only way for the individuals to avoid an outcome that is bad for them is to choose to do something that seems worse for them than something they could have done instead.

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Public Affairs Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-0542