Tragedy of Commons

The general goal of this paper is to demonstrate the role of law or policy in the creation of and/or alleviation of a societal problem or issue. Toward this end, in this paper you will identify a contemporary EXAMPLE of a tragedy of the commons and then demonstrate how law or laws are related to this tragedy (either by facilitating the tragedy or alleviating the tragedy–or perhaps both). More elaboration and explanation of instructions will be given in class!

In the paper you need to:

Make concrete connections between your topic and the concepts and ideas of related to Tragedy of the Commons or Prisoner’s Dilemma, etc.

Fully identify the law or laws (policy or program) germane to the issue/problem.

Develop an understanding of the relationship between a law or social policy and your topic (the tragedy)

Apply the Tragedy of the Commons Theory and related concepts to your issue problem and how law and / or absence of lawcontributes to the deterioration, distintegration of community, decline in social order, the state and/or society itself.

Use at least five academic sources–sources should support your arguments. This means clearly demonstrating the use of information from journal articles, academic books (from academic presses–like Oxford, Princeton, UT etc.) in the body of your paper.

For sources–identify them within the text using a standard citation format (APA etc.).

the paper should be approximately 5-7 pages in length with supporting documentation (table or diagram and references –using APA or related style of citation documentation).
You must write a one page executive summary (synopsis) of your paper ideas and conclusions. This summary/synopsis should be written for a non-professional audience. The goal is to explain the problem clearly and concisely–translating ideas presented in your paper for consumption by the average person. This is in addition to the 5-7 page paper.

There are so many possible issues/problems where the ideas of tragedy of the commons can be applied (education, discrimination, gender equality, health care etc.). Here are some broad areas where this theory would work–of course you would need to pick a very specific problem within the area you choose:

energy policies (provisions that grandfather ‘dirty’ energy sources –coal plants without scrubbers, nuclear plants ….)
globalization (loss of jobs, outsourced child labor)
crime control policies (crime control policies connected to drugs-the use of imprisonment to deal with drug crime-prison overcrowding)
externalization of costs / impacts of doing business by the industrial sector (water pollution policies /water warming issues and air quality, destablization of infrastructure)
state and/or federal testing standards in education (teaching to the tests and erosion of learning; further disenfranchisement of cultural minorities)
women’s issues/gender inequality (specific example would be the lack of feminization of poverty linked to lack of national childcare support and its role in creating women’s inequality)
aggression and violence in society (freedom of speech and pornography proliferation;the link btw corporate freedom of speech and children’s programming and aggression)
consequences of executive orders (no child left behind–a critical evaluation of a part of this set of directives; unintended consquences of the war on terror/war on drugs/war on poverty).
Individualism in society and its negative consequences–Putnam –Bowling Alone type arguments, erosion of trust in collective security, proliferation of weapons.
Ecological and Agricultural Crises–intensive fishing, intensive agriculture (laws that protect, encourage the intensification of use of resources or abuse of resources)

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