Tragedy of the commons

The phrase "tragedy of the commons" was first described by biologist Garrett Hardin in 1968. It describes how shared environmental resources are overused and eventually depleted. He used the example of the shared resource to a common grazing pasture. In this scenario, everyone with rights to the pasture grazes as many animals as possible, acting in self-interest for the greatest short-term personal gain. Eventually, they use up all the grass in the pasture. The shared resource is depleted and no longer useful.