The tragedy of the "commons" was first introduced by Garrett Hardin, an ecologist. The "commons" is an idea which states that people will always look to their best interests. Because of this, many outcomes due to selfishness will occur, one of the main being that resources will become depleted.

When a commons exists like grassland each herder agrees to graze only ten cows so that the land is not depleted. However for each additional cow that a person decides to graze they receive ten units of utility and have only one taken away through the destruction of the land. The rest is distributed among other farmers. For this reason overgrazing occurs and all lose out in the long term.

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