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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Reality of the Commons: Answering Hardin from Somalia
Author:Shepherd, GillISNI
Periodical:Development Policy Review
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:land law
communal lands
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7679.1989.tb00120.x
Abstract:In 1968, the biologist Garrett Hardin wrote a now famous paper in which he popularized the resonant phrase 'the tragedy of the commons'. The illustration he used of individual rationality leading to mass irrationality - that of the individual herder maximizing his cattle on communally owned grazing at the expense of other herders - continues to shape the thinking of some scientists and to make them fearful of communal resource management. The opposite proposition is argued here, that the real tragedy comes when the commons are thrown open and unrestricted exploitation allowed. The article reports on work undertaken in the Bay Region of southern Somalia in 1988, during which it became clear that the assertion and denial of common property rights to bushland were at the heart of the energy issues which were the original field of study. It also describes the early stages of research aimed at returning common property rights to rural people who have lost them, and thereby ensuring the survival of resources which would otherwise be lost as well. App. (villagers' opinions), bibliogr., notes, ref.