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October 5, 2007

Aristotle on the tragedy of the commons

"What is common to the greatest number gets the least amount of care. Men pay most attention to what is their own; they care less for what is common; or at any rate they care for it only to the extent to which each is individually concerned. Even when there is no other cause for inattention, men are more prone to neglect their duty when they think that another is attending to it."
-- Aristotle, Politics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1946), 1261b.