Friday, August 15, 2008

Complete Justice = Complete Catastrophe

Complete Justice = Complete Catastrophe: Ecophilosopher Garrett Hardin considers this equation as central to its core principles. In his 1968 essay titled "The Tragedy of the Commons," Hardin explains how every rational being will seek to maximize his or her gain in the event that everything becomes the common property of all. Some see this notion as a seething critique of communism, and in particular, the Soviet farming policies related to collectivization. One way to solve the problems stemming from common ownership is to advocate a policy of privatization whereby only a limited number of people have access to certain resources. Given that the world itself possesses only a finite body of goods, man must put into place a series of control measures with respect to the environment. For Hardin, an area in dire need of regulation is the burgeoning growth of human population. He firmly believes that the freedom to breed, as laid out in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), is an insidious concept. The primary basis for his reasoning stems from the fact that those who have many descendants are actually doing a serious disservice to society in the sense that they consume more resources in safeguarding their well-beings. Although people have characterized Hardin as being both aloof and cynical, he has certainly hit upon something important (like the Malthusian limit).

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