Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Mause I 157f
Prisoner's Dilemma/Common Good/Common/Social Goods/Ostrom: the so-called "tragedy of the commons" (see Social Goods/Hardin) is often illustrated by the Prisoner's Dilemma, e.g. Ostrom. (1)
For example, pasture and arable land used jointly by the farmers of a village.
Options: a) "pure cooperation": restrictions of individual use to the level compatible with the collective optimisation
(b) "pure defection": no restriction
In this situation, each player, no matter how the rest of the villagers behave, will rationally prioritize their individual self-interests: On the one hand, everyone has the chance to reach their preferred situation by playing off their 'free rider strategy'. (...) So while the (weak) Pareto principle calls for cooperation, the principle of dominance urges every player to act against the common interest. In the end, everyone finds themselves in the worst collective situation. On the repetition of the Prisoner's Dilemma, see Prisoner's Dilemma/Fudenberg.


1. Elinor Ostrom, Governing the commons. The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge: 1990, p. 3-5.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconOstr I
Elinor Ostrom
Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action Cambridge 1990

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-07-03
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