jueves, 12 de marzo de 2015

The Tragedy of the Commons... a first approximation

By Lic. Manuel E. Pérez Lares
Maestrante de la Maestría en Economía Internacional 

The tragedy of commons is a theory established by Garrett Hardin in 1968 that states the each person self-interest against the interest of the group as whole. In this context, the food waste could be a tragedy of commons, if we focus on the relationship between waste and biosphere like receptor "common" that affect to all.

 Nevertheless, we live under a paradigm of consumption, and this force us to consume things that really we don't need. But beyond of that, we should focus on the studies of energy as whole.

 The energy, (especially that arising from the sun), is main element that we need to live, but the small studies about the behavior and its relationship with the production process, not allow an a particular science, make a correct description and solution about this particular problem. For that, is necessary the transdisciplinary studies, that take the problem as whole and generate results consistent with reality.
 Sciences, like physics, ecology, thermodynamics, economy etc, could give us a whole vision about the reality and separate from a skewed view of the same. On the other hand, the main problem is that we have a unit of measure that allows us to relate the economic variables with environmental variables and we know that all waste production process is related in a previous production process, which means that depending on the classification that we give to the production process can be classified as resource, product or waste at treatment element.
 This keeps intimate relationship with the model of income and proposed in 1966 by Wassily Leontief, which poses a direct relationship between resource industries, products and waste discharge.
From the above it follows that, at some point what might be resource, at another time might be failing product or residue, which breaks the circular logic of normative economics, which states that the product complies cycle stages production marketing and consumption, and that after this process the product loses value in terms of utility, so its output dynamic production is justified.
 In contrast, from the perspective of ecological economics it is proposed that all depends on the productive purpose and value and how it is used, either the resource, the product or residue, which leads us to consider the reasons why produce goods and services within the context of normative economics.
 Hardin's theory shows a complex framework about how the small elements like the food waste represent an enormous issue in the global context.

About the others complex subjects, we will discuss in upcoming articles.

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