Do you know who didn’t clean the coffee maker?



One of the things that always bothers me is that people don’t seem to care about things that don’t belong to them. How many times have you dinged another persons car with your door and just walked away? How many times have you dripped coffee or food at your work and walked away thinking someone else will take care of this. The list just goes on and on of circumstances where people damage or scuff something that doesn’t belong to them and they just walk away. Now these are just small examples of a much larger problem known as the tragedy of the commons.

On a much larger scale we can look at people dumping their trash along the high way, it doesn’t belong to them so why should they care whether they keep it clean or not. Eventually the high way is cleaned by someone and it looks good again. People who rent a car or a house will frequently abuse the item and then return it to the owner. One of the worst ones is when public land is destroyed by the general public. You can see this with public lands where over grazing occurs or even chemicals can get dumped. The land doesn’t really belong to any one person so why should anyone really care to treat it with respect. It would probably make sense to abuse the land and maximize profit then really take care of it.

In contrast when something belongs to you, you want to take care of it and protect it from harm because you want it to last. People do regular tune ups to their car and will wash and wax it so that it stays around for a long time. This is the same for a house. A tree logger will cut down only so many trees as he needs and then will replant the area so that he has more trees to cut the next years. Farmers will take care of their land if they have to use it for the long term. A factory will not dump chemicals, if the land belongs to them and they have to stay there. The factory, would want to sell the land eventually and make some money of of it.

These are all real scenarios that I am talking about. When you own something you want it to be worth something and stay with you for a long time. It is the best solution to what is known as the tragedy of the commons. Privatization gives people ownership and responsibility for their property. It would force them to be accountable for the way they treat their land and how others behave on it. If noone owns the land or item then the item can get abused with out any real consequences.



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