In 1798, Thomas Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population. Even though his prediction of a Hobbesian war of all against all over resources was incorrect, more recent Malthusians such as Garrett Hardin, Herman Daly, and Paul Ehrlich each advance some version of the idea that we are soon to encounter a full planet. Chapter 2 considers the population bomb argument and Julian Simon's response. Simon's insight that people are more than consumptive machines with ideas about how to overcome commons our point of departure to develop a political economy of the commons. Our theory argues that successful governance of commons has an economic, political, and social aspect: well-defined and enforced property rights, markets for goods and services, polycentric political institutions, and supportive social institutions, especially trust, patience, and individualism. The rest of the book is devoted to seeing how well this hypothesis pans out.
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