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11 - Sea Change

from Economics and Innovation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2021

Annabel Brett
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Megan Donaldson
Affiliation:
University College London
Martti Koskenniemi
Affiliation:
University of Helsinki
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Summary

In his famous 1968 essay, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Garrett Hardin chose the sea as an illustrative example. ‘[T]he oceans of the world continue to suffer from the survival of the philosophy of the commons’, he wrote.1 ‘Maritime nations still respond automatically to the shibboleth of the “freedom of the seas”. Professing to believe in the “inexhaustible resources of the oceans,” they bring species after species of fish and whales closer to extinction.’2 Using this and other examples Hardin argued for enclosure or – as he later phrased it – management of the commons, under private property or taxation regimes.3 In the absence of enclosure, ‘total ruin’ was inevitable.4

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Chapter
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History, Politics, Law
Thinking through the International
, pp. 285 - 308
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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