Comedy of the commons
In the Comedy of the commons, the opposite results of the Tragedy of the commons effect are witnessed. That is, individuals contributing knowledge and content for the good of the community rather than extracting resources for their own personal gain. Examples of this are free and open source software and Wikipedia. This phenomenon is linked to "viral" effects and increases in prominence as individuals contribute altruistically and for social gain.
It is one of four outcomes:
|Private ownership||Common ownership|
|Bad outcome/tragedy||Tragedy of the anticommons||Tragedy of the commons|
(*in the sense of "drama with a happy ending")
|Successful capitalism||Comedy of the commons|
The prevalent outcome depends on the details of the situation. The inverse commons outcome is likely when the cost of the contribution is much less than its value over time. Information has this property. For example, it costs very little for a Wikipedia contributor to enter knowledge from their experience into Wikipedia's servers, and very little for Wikipedia to serve that information over and over again to readers, generating great value over time. Unlike the pasture of a physical commons, information isn't degraded by use. Thus the value of Wikipedia increases over time, attracting more readers some of whom become contributors, forming a virtuous cycle.
If a resource is economically scarce, then tragedy of the commons occurs when property conventions are lacking. If something is not economically scarce - many people can use it simultaneously - then comedy of the commons may occur. If economic scarcity is a necessary characteristic of property, then the comedy of the commons only happens to non-property.
- Rose, Carol M. (1986). "The Comedy of the Commons: Commerce, Custom, and Inherently Public Property". Faculty Scholarship Series: Paper 1828. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
- Dan Bricklin (October 12, 2006). "The Cornucopia of the Commons: How to get volunteer labor". bricklin.com. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
- Broughton, John. Wikipedia: The Missing Manual: Introduction: About Wikipedia (On-line editable ed.). ISBN 0-596-51516-2.
- Gulley, Ned. "In Praise of Tweaking: A Wiki-like Programming Contest". Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- "In praise of Wikipedia: Wiki birthday to you: A celebration of an astonishing achievement, and a few worries". The Economist. Jan 13 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
Read in another language
This page is available in 1 language