Measure is unceasing

Sometimes you give to the commons, and sometimes you take from the commons

Sometimes you give to the commons, and sometimes you trade from the commons. And through this giving and taking, people are able to smooth consumption. This is good because getting more ressources from the commons when you temporarily have fewer of them is more positive than giving ressources away when you temporarily have more of them.


Engraving depicting the curse of Tantalus

Anyways, a phenomenon I’ve noticed is that sometimes, you can only give to the commons, but you can’t take from the commons. This is dysfunctional, and defeats the whole purpose of the commons.

Some examples, vaguely based on real life:

Overall, there might be reasons for these kinds of dynamics. For example:

But in practice, I think that the reasonable explanations aren’t what’s going on. And instead there are really weird effects where “for he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath”. So now, when I see this kind of dynamic around a supposed commons, I tend to run. And after seeing this kind of dynamic happening a few times, I’ve become more sympathetic about a cluster of ideas around self-sufficiency and libertarianism.