"The Comedy of the Commons"

Hardin's notion of the tragedy of the commons "made clear how the common ground in an English village, on which all could graze their sheep, speedily became overgrazed because each person had the use of it but none the responsibility for it. The more people grazed their sheep on the common, the more barren it became.

[. . .] The World Wide Web has created what we might call 'the comedy of the commons.' It has developed into an ever-richer community resource. The more people graze on it for their own purposes, the bigger it becomes and the greener its grass grows. It thus combines the power of a free market, where individual gain leads to collective benefit, with cooperative ownership of the cultural conversation."

~ Lanham (2006)


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