Friday, March 22, 2013

The Tragedy of the Commons: Picture Edition


From National Geographic Magazine: 

A forest of derricks rises beyond a Signal Hill, California, neighborhood in this photo from the June 1941 National Geographic. Oil had been discovered there just 20 years earlier. The caption accompanying this photo notes: “If one man drills and strikes oil, his neighbor at once drills, too, lest the first drain the pool.” Today the area’s Long Beach oil field is much depleted, but it still yields more than a million barrels a year. [...] Some of the houses pictured are still standing, but no derricks compete with the palm trees there anymore.

Steve Clowney

(HT: Noha El Maraghi)

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