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Tue Aug 18, 2020, 10:31 AM

The Tragedy of the 'Tragedy of the Commons' (Scientific American) [View all]

The man who wrote one of environmentalism’s most-cited essays was a racist, eugenicist, nativist and Islamaphobe—plus his argument was wrong

By Matto Mildenberger on April 23, 2019

Fifty years ago, University of California professor Garrett Hardin penned an influential essay in the journal Science. Hardin saw all humans as selfish herders: we worry that our neighbors’ cattle will graze the best grass. So, we send more of our cows out to consume that grass first. We take it first, before someone else steals our share. This creates a vicious cycle of environmental degradation that Hardin described as the “tragedy of the commons.”

It's hard to overstate Hardin’s impact on modern environmentalism. His views are taught across ecology, economics, political science and environmental studies. His essay remains an academic blockbuster, with almost 40,000 citations. It still gets republished in prominent environmental anthologies.

But here are some inconvenient truths: Hardin was a racist, eugenicist, nativist and Islamophobe. He is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a known white nationalist. His writings and political activism helped inspire the anti-immigrant hatred spilling across America today.

And he promoted an idea he called “lifeboat ethics”: since global resources are finite, Hardin believed the rich should throw poor people overboard to keep their boat above water.
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more (worth the read): https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/the-tragedy-of-the-tragedy-of-the-commons/



This, and/or similar rebuttals, have, I'm sure, been posted on DU before. But it's always worth another read.

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Reply The Tragedy of the 'Tragedy of the Commons' (Scientific American) [View all]
eppur_se_muova Aug 2020 OP
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