Commons without Tragedy

TheTragedyOfTheCommons is a central topic for discussion concerning sustainability. As the world increasingly becomes exposed to issues about pollution and resource depletion, arguments about how to preserve the commons have become important. Mike Ellerbrock, Jessica Bayer, and Rose Bradshaw in their article "Sustaining the Commons: The Tragedy Works Both Ways," point out two of the main arguments for preserving the commons:

"Environmental scholars, economists, and natural resource policy makers have wrestled with solving the [Tragedy of the commons] and settled on two main approaches: privatize ownership or restrict access via government or communal regulation."

The argument for privatized ownership is fueled by the notion that individuals will care more about sustaining their own property out of self interest. Regulation of the commons is the effort to limit the amount individuals are permitted to interact with the commons.

Information Commons

Commons can also refer to an open unregulated resource for information and learning. Community libraries are an excellent example of a location that provides non-privatized and free access information.


Wikis have huge potential for being learning commons. Wikipedia is perhaps the most popular example of a free to access and edit Wiki. Wikis are a piece of technology that opens information up to the public. This Wiki, for example, provides information about Wikis and other topics to anyone with internet access.
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