The Tragedy of the Commons
Garrett Hardin + Author Affiliations Abstract The population problem has no technical solution; it requires a fundamental extension in morality. At the end of a thoughtful article on the future of nuclear war, Wiesner and York (1) concluded that: "Both sides in the arms race are ...confronted by the dilemma of steadily increasing military power and steadily decreasing national security. I would like to focus your attention not on the subject of the article (national security in a nuclear world) but on the kind of conclusion they reached, namely that there is no technical solution to the problem. In our day (though not in earlier times) technical solutions are always welcome. It is easy to show that the class is not a null class. The class of "No technical solution problems" has members. What Shall We Maximize? Population, as Malthus said, naturally tends to grow "geometrically," or, as we would now say, exponentially. No--for two reasons, each sufficient by itself. What shall we do? In C.