The Tragedy of Commons

He wakes with the sun and breathes in the sea,

With his net aloft his shoulder he walks with the breeze,

He hopes the reel in is abundant with fish,

Oblivious to the fact that he shares his neighbour’s wish.

The two of them know that everyone enjoys a nice fillet,

And so they compete with each other for the catch of the day.

Nobody in particular owns the fish of the Earth,

So how much one gets is first come, first serve.

It bodes them well to leave some fish behind,

To repopulate the waters, so that there can be a next time…

However, this isn’t a matter of the heart –

If one acts in preservation, the other may not take part.

The end result is then going to be the same,

His conservative efforts would meet depletion in vain,

So both get together and try and maximize-

Profits, with an agenda marked with short sight.

Change of scene – the Manhattan skyline comes into view,

People blissfully unaware of Wall Street’s catastrophic brew.

Breaking loans into tinier bits to consume,

The Bankers wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

They handed out loans to people who couldn’t pay,

Profits in mind, they paid no sight to the market’s doomsday.

Consumers  had more than they could possibly hold-

Losses piled up, looked like the financial system would soon close.

Like vultures they fed off profits for food,

They couldn’t care less if your credit score was good.

The paid no heed to warnings of consequence,

As the world shook under the weight of their incompetence.

This narrative needs no assistance to proceed,

It’s built on the concrete foundation of human greed.

A story of how people act independently in self-interest,

Not seeing that something else might be what serves them best.

It is an interesting take on an economic phenomenon,

I believe it is aptly called the Tragedy of Commons.


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