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Collective Action Problems

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PP110
Professor
Byron Williston
Semester
Fall

Description
Collective Action Problems The problem: self-interested agents engaged in cooperative activities will tend to act in ways that promote sub-optimal outcomes. The solution: empower a government (Leviathan) to force people to act in ways that produce optimal outcomes. 3 examples: 1) An arms race at an international level. Cause: fear Effects: more anxiety for everybody Solution: world government with real coercive power. 2) The SUV problem – behemoth Cause: fear of other SUV’s; fear of being in a crash with a bigger vehicle. Effect: pollution increase Solution: significant government surtax on such vehicles 3) Tragedy of the Commons (10 people share common land, each person has five cows) Cause: fear (if you don’t add a cow, your neighbours will), desire (money from cow) Effect: degradation of the land (lots of cows will destroy the pasture) Solution: a larger authority to oversee land management Key features of th
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