Internet Evaluation: Tragedy of the Commons

Was anyone else surprised by this article? I’m not oblivious to the diversity of opinion on population, nor do I think Hardin is totally off-based, but couldn’t he have left a little room for religious ideology as a possible exception to the rule. His “Puritan inheritance,” as he states, is almost used as a derogative. My religious background commends Hardin’s uses of mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon by the majority of the people affected (Hardin), but still leaving room for Deity to finalize our decisions, which is where I think we would find our impeding barrier of disagreement. With this theory of the commons with regards to the Internet I can see great correlation to his take on population with this. If Hardin and I were to tackle the Internet as the source of our problem I think we would have been much better friends.

Apart from outer space, the Internet is the most expansive interval I can appeal to. Anyone can access it as if it were as common as the air we breathe. Ok, a little farfetched, but you get the point. So, where there is accessibility to such an extensive resource freedom of thought or expression races hysterically through digital highways reaching from the largest cities to the islands of the sea to young and old alike. So, how does this impact us? Well…that depends! I’m not going to go into a lot of detail how the free flow of thought through the Internet impacts us, but needless to say there are a lot of creepy people out there that take no thought of (Hardin would say they have no conscience) how their content will impact their neighbor.

Hardin mentions in a still more embryonic state is our recognition of the evils of the commons in matters of pleasure (Hardin). The Internet is full of “pleasurable” things, which I will not go into. And yes, I’m using the word pleasurable as a self indulging derogative. Who is there to regulate this? Sure there have been steps to do so such as governing laws, firewalls, encryption, and penalties to keep us away, but the problem is people are finding loops, so it’s not really regulated enough to make much of an impact. In other words to answer Kathy’s questions as to how I rate edemocracy, well I rate it very poorly for the reasons just mentioned. The only way to beat it is to strengthen our moral ethics, but I’ll save this argument for another day. I will conclude; however, with my own declaration that there is truth out there without taking away our right to think, so ponder as Hardin quotes Hegel who said “Freedom is recognition of necessity.”


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  • Trix  On 13 November 2006 at 1:40 am

    Hmmm. Not sure what “rule” you’re talking about, though I also noticed Hardin’s dismissal of, or basic refusal to treat religion as a force in making a conscience-based decision. Anyway, it sounds as though you agree with Hardin’s main point, which is that there is no technical solution to the population problem, only a moral one. Is the same true of the Internet? Maybe–that is to say, there are certainly technical ways to restrict the free flow of information on the net, but it would be like damming Niagara. How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree, and all that.


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