1. J. B. Wiesner and H. F. York, 211 (No. 4), 27 (1964).

The class of "no technical solution problems" hasmembers. My thesis is that the "population problem," asconventionally conceived, is a member of this class. How it isconventionally conceived needs some comment. It is fair to saythat most people who anguish over the population problem aretrying to find a way to avoid the evils of overpopulation withoutrelinquishing any of the privileges they now enjoy. They thinkthat farming the seas or developing new strains of wheat willsolve the problem -- technologically. I try to show here that thesolution they seek cannot be found. The population problem cannotbe solved in a technical way, any more than can the problem ofwinning the game of tick-tack-toe.

The only way we can preserve and nurture other and moreprecious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, andthat very soon. "Freedom is the recognition ofnecessity" -- and it is the role of education to reveal toall the necessity of abandoning the freedom to breed. Only so,can we put an end to this aspect of the tragedy of the commons.


4. J. H. Fremlin, No.415 (1964), p. 285.

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13. G. Hardin, 6, 366 (1963).

2. The negative component is a function of the additionalovergrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, theeffects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, thenegative utility for any particular decision­making herdsman isonly a fraction of - 1.

14. U Thant, No. 168 (February 1968), p. 3.

The rebuttal to the invisible hand in population control is tobe found in a scenario first sketched in a little-known Pamphletin 1833 by a mathematical amateur named William Forster Lloyd(1794-1852). We may well call it "thetragedy of the commons," using the word "tragedy"as the philosopher Whitehead used it :"The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. Itresides in the solemnity of the remorseless working ofthings." He then goes on to say, "This inevitablenessof destiny can only be illustrated in terms of human life byincidents which in fact involve unhappiness. For it is only bythem that the futility of escape can be made evident in thedrama."

18. P. Goodman, 10 (8), 22 (23 May 1968).

Adding together the component partial utilities, the rationalherdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him topursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another.... Butthis is the conclusion reached by each and every rationalherdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man islocked into a system that compels him to increase his herdwithout limit -- in a world that is limited. Ruin is thedestination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own bestinterest in a society that believes in the freedom of thecommons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

19. A. Comfort, (Nelson, London, 1967).

Some would say that this is a platitude. Would that it were!In a sense, it was learned thousands of years ago, but naturalselection favors the forces of psychological denial. The individual benefits as an individual fromhis ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, ofwhich he is a part, suffers. Education can counteract the naturaltendency to do the wrong thing, but the inexorable succession ofgenerations requires that the basis for this knowledge beconstantly refreshed.