The Tragedy Of The Commons

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Few decades ago, clean water was “commons” (Hardin, 1968) to us. It was a natural resource shared by everyone and not owned by anyone. This “commons” was taken for granted to the extent that people exploit clean water without considering its finiteness. Resorts and factories dumped wastewater and ruined nearby rivers and oceans. People carelessly littered garbage and substituted the dirty water with diminishing clean water. They definitely benefited in terms of financial cost and comfort from their negligence. However, those individual interests ended up bringing severe water pollution, attacking our collective interest of public health and well-being. In this vein, water pollution is undeniably the “Tragedy of the Commons” (Hardin, 1968). Following these dire circumstances, water purification techniques and systems have been further developed and become widespread. Yet, the technical measurements have not quite fundamentally solved the problem. What is needed at this point is people’s will and practical action to improve the environment. However, merely hoping and encouraging people to do so are not enough. In order to have a steady support from people, we need a practical device for a “mutual coercion” (Hardin, 1968) to earn consent to coercion necessary to amend the situation. In this paper, I am going to address the technical and individual effort for water pollution and its limitation, and suggest a way to complement this limitation through a device on an institutional
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