Thursday, 20 November 2014

What is the Tragedy of the Commons? Authoritarian Propaganda.

The Tragedy of the Commons is mostly known as an economic theory regarding the over exploitation of common land leading to the destruction of its value - often presented as English peasants overgrazing the commons so leading to the loss of the entire grazing resource.

However this is not the most important lesson to be drawn from 'The Tragedy of the Commons'. The truth is that the English commons were not over-grazed to destruction - they were working just fine - but with the dissolution of the monistaries under Henry VIII the Commons that had been stewarded by the  People and Church were seized by the state/King and divided up among his supporters who went on to fence in the land, forming enclosures and banning the Commoners from using this usurped resource.

After the Commons has been appropriated in this way, the new 'land owners' did, indeed, over-graze them to the extent that commoners were excluded from using them and often starved. The land owners had also shifted their 'production' from corn to sheep, fleeces and mutton being more profitable than corn - but beyond the budget of the commoners - also contributing to the poverty and starvation of the masses. And later with the 'Corn Laws' (artificially forcing up the prices) leading to starvation among English plebs at the same time that the Irish plebs were starving from the potato famine.

The 'Tragedy of the Commons' has joined that body of 'fictional works' which often gets quoted as fact (Lord of the Flies is another example) when it is just a superficially plausible sounding story.

The real Tragedy here is that this fake, retrospective justification for the seizing of the commons from the commoners, leading to their poverty and starvation is accepted as truth, when it is just a revisionist fairy tale used to (falsely) justify the theft of the land of England from the English people to whom it truly belonga - in common.

We need to take it back - it is ours, it always has been and always will be.

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