TA office hours by appointment: Thursday and Friday
• [email protected]
POL300—individual, States and Corporations
• Whose responsibility is to act and what options are there for it to change?
• Individual actions – useful, but what are the value of those individual actions beyond systematic
• Bill McKibben wrote an article about concern around individual action, concerning
o Only a tiny fraction of people live entirely on renewal energy
• Is it hypocritical to change a system if you’re living within that system?
o Individual change vs. collective action
• Key concepts last week: states, civil society, governance, environment
• Environment: green spaces, urban space
o Resource government [oil, gas, trees]
Collective action: Tragedy of the commons?
• It’s hard to have individuals working together unless the group is really small unless there were
incentives, avoiding punishments
o Without that, it’s hard to have people working together
• If you have some source of resource where it’s hard to exclude people, it’s hard for people to
not take as many as they can because then someone else will take them
• The only way to avoid this is you can either have regulation from above [state control]; state
organizes how to use the resource [have the government come]
• Or private market [the pond belongs to one person or each piece for one person] private
property that stops exploitation from going too far
• When you’re working in a big group, and not accountable to anyone is different than
communicating with someone
• We can think about the market side, property rates
Key concepts this week:
• Collective action
o What are the barriers to people acting collectively?
▪ It’s hard to overcome when there are a lot group [hard to bring the people
▪ Easier to rally a neighbourhood around a problem we can see compared to a
city where it’s global
▪ Different groups working against each other on the same problem [how to solve
a problem, what values are at stake] • Individualization
o What is meant by individualization?
▪ Action can be done through consumption and through individual level
▪ Excluding talking about systems, and political power
▪ An entire mindset: The individualization on who