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Garrett James Hardin (April 21, 1915 - September 14, 2003) was an American ecologist who warned of the dangers of human overpopulation. He is most famous for his exposition of the tragedy of the commons, in a 1968 paper of the same title in Science, which called attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment". He is also known for Hardin's First Law of Human Ecology: "We can never do merely one thing. Any intrusion into nature has numerous effects, many of which are unpredictable.":112 He is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist, whose publications were "frank in their racism and quasi-fascist ethnonationalism".
Neomalthusian approach and "Tragedy of the commons"
In 1968, Hardin applied his conceptual model developed in his essay "The tragedy of the commons" to human population growth, the use of the Earth's natural resources, and the welfare state. His essay cited an 1833 pamphlet by the English economist William Forster Lloyd which included an example of herders sharing a common parcel of land, which would lead to overgrazing.
Hardin blamed the welfare state for allowing the tragedy of the commons; where the state provides for children and supports over-breeding as a fundamental human right, Malthusian catastrophe is inevitable. Hardin stated in his analysis of the tragedy of the commons that "Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.":1244 Environmental historians Joachim Radkau, Alfred Thomas Grove and Oliver Rackham criticized Hardin "as an American with no notion at all how Commons actually work".
Despite the criticisms, the theory has nonetheless been influential.
Living Within Limits
In 1993, Garrett Hardin published Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos, which he described at the time as a summation of all his previous works. The book won the 1993 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science. In the book, he argues that the natural sciences are grounded in the concept of limits (such as the speed of light), while social sciences, such as economics, are grounded in concepts that have no limits (such as the widespread "infinite-Earth" economic models). He notes that most of the more notable scientific (as opposed to political) debates concerning ecological economics are between natural scientists, such as Paul R. Ehrlich, and economists, such as Julian Simon, one of Ehrlich's most well known and vocal detractors. A strong theme throughout the book is that economics, as a discipline, can be as much about mythology and ideology as it is about real science.
Hardin goes on to label those who reflexively argue for growth as "growthmaniacs", and argues against the institutional faith in exponential growth on a finite planet. Typical of Hardin's writing style, he illustrates exponential growth by way of a Biblical metaphor. Using compound interest, or "usury", he starts from the infamous "thirty pieces of silver" and, using five percent compounded interest, finds that after around 2,000 years, "every man, woman, and child would be entitled to only (!) 160,000 earth-masses of gold". As a consequence, he argues that any economy based on long-term compound interest must eventually fail due to the physical and mathematical impossibility of long-term exponential growth on a finite planet. Hardin writes, "At this late date millions of people believe in the fertility of money with an ardor seldom accorded to traditional religious doctrines".:67 He argues that, contrary to some socially-motivated claims, population growth is also exponential growth, therefore even a little would be disastrous anywhere in the world, and that even the richest nations are not immune.
Participation in death-with-dignity movement and suicide
Hardin's last book The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia (1999), a warning about the threat of overpopulation to the Earth's sustainable economic future, called for coercive constraints on "unqualified reproductive rights" and argued that affirmative action is a form of racism.
1949, Biology: Its Human Implications W. H. Freeman
1952, Biology: Its Human Implications, Second Edition W. H. Freeman
1961, Biology Its Principles and Implications W. H. Freeman
1991. "Paramount positions in ecological economics." In Costanza, R. (editor) Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability, New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN0-231-07562-6
1991. "The tragedy of the 'Unmanaged' commons - population and the disguises of providence." In: R. V. Andelson, (editor), Commons Without Tragedy, London: Shepheard-Walwyn, pp. 162-185. ISBN0-389-20958-9 (U.S.)
Hardin's 1993 book Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos, received the 1993 Award in Science from the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
^Uh, not sure what to put here. Personal acquaintance? Keynote Address 'We must learn again for ourselves what we have inherited', Wilderness Conference, SF, 1970, or perhaps *A 110. The economics of wilderness.
Natural History, 78(6):20-27. 1969.