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SCIE 1P50 Lecture Notes - Garrett Hardin, Capitalism, Rachel Carson

Course Code
Caroline Starrs

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Class #6! ! Science & Society ! Sept. 23, 2011
-Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964)
-Insecticides - “biocides”
-Silent Spring 1962
-Chemical Control
-Integrated Pest Management
-“And No Birds Sing”
-George Wallace - Michigan State University
-DDT - to get rid of beetles at Michigan State University, used on trees
-Worms dying, Fewer robins to No robins, DNA damages to birds
-“Needless Havoc”
-Dept. of Agriculture, Illinois
-1954-1961, Spraying program to get rid of Japanese Beetles
-Dieldrin - 50% more toxic, any animal that got into contact died, far more toxic
than DDT
-12 of most Toxic Agents later banned or strictly controlled
Tragedy of the Commons
-Ecologist Garret Hardin (1915-2003)
-“... what is common to the greatest number of people gets the least amount of
care ...”
-The “tragedy of the commons” emerges whenever the benefits to an individual
of (over-)exploiting a common resource exceed that individual’s share of the
resulting damage costs.
Origins of “Commons”
-All farmers have access to enclosed “commons”
-Farmers motivated ($) to maximize herd
-Increased herd --> real unit profits
-No (apparent) cost for commons use
-Population growth coupled to increased resource use leads to overgrazing, erosion,
eventual destruction of the commons
- Conclusion: “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all”
Common Property Characteristics
-Common Property
-Ability to control access to resource
-For many global problems it is impossible to control access
-Each use is capable of subtracting from general welfare
-Inherent to all natural resource use
Hardin’s Proposed Solutions
-...but natural ecosystems suffered most in communist countries
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