Tragedy of the commons

I came across by this on Facebook:


Learned helplessness is a mental state in which an organism forced to endure aversive stimuli, or stimuli that are painful or otherwise unpleasant, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are escapable, presumably because it has learned that it cannot control the situation (wikipedia)

Then I remembered another term from a PhD Course, where people can not do what they are supposed to do. Tragedy of the commons!

`A modern example of a “tragedy of the commons” is traffic jams in major cities. A public good gets overused and lessened in value for everyone.  Each individual trying to get to work quickly uses the freeway because it is the fastest route.  In the beginning, each additional person on the highway does not slow down traffic because there is enough “slack” in the system to absorb the extra users.  At some critical level, however, each additional driver brings about a decrease in the average speed. Eventually, there are so many drivers that traffic crawls at a snail’s pace.  Each person seeking to minimize driving time has in fact conspired to guarantee a long drive for everyone.` (

I experience this tragedy (!) personally every day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s