The ‘tragedy of the commons’ refers to individual actors (from individuals to small businesses to large corporations) over-consuming or over-polluting natural resources in the quest to maximize their own, often short-term, benefit.
In 1968, Garrett Hardin postulated that humans were doomed to suboptimal outcomes, due to the tragedy of the commons. Individuals behaving rationally would lead to overconsumption and thus, collectively suboptimal outcomes. He, and many who came after, argued that the solutions to this tragedy were either privatization of a resource, or alternatively government control and top-down regulation.
The goal of this course is to provide a solid introduction to the concept of sustainable growth and development. Students will learn how to professionally navigate the current debate on sustainability and to assess strategies to promote sustainable communities and a sustainable planet. The course will blend qualitative and quantitative analysis of sustainable development, with large use of data analysis to measure progress towards sustainable development. Special attention will be paid to the role of technological innovation.