Tragedy of the Anti-Commons

August 10, 2008

Fantastic article in the New Yorker (via Slashdot) discussing the “Tragedy of the Anti-Commons” — summarized as “The commons leads to overuse and destruction; the anticommons leads to underuse and waste.”

The term has apparently has been around for a while, but that I hadn’t heard it before.

Regardless, I’m particularly interested in the theory at the end for why the anti-commons goes underused, to everybody’s detriment.  Basically, everybody over-estimates the value of their individual component, meaning the entire joint venture becomes more expensive to execute than it’s actually worth.  Fascinating stuff.

david barrett


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