Are All Commons Tragedies? The Case of Bison in the Nineteenth Century
By Peter J. Hill
This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of The Independent Review


The near extermination of the North American bison is widely viewed as a case of the overuse of an open-access resource—a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. This “tragic” view, however, ignores the rising opportunity cost of grasslands that could support a more commercially viable commodity: cattle.

Other Independent Review articles by Peter J. Hill
    Winter 2014   Stories Economists Tell: Studies in Christianity and Economics
    Winter 2010   “Are Economists Basically Immoral?” and Other Essays on Economics, Ethics, and Religion
    Winter 1997   Market-Based Environmentalism and the Free Market: Substitutes or Compliments?

Subscribe Today

Buy Single Issues

Independent Review Issues

Articles by Subject

Independent Review Articles on Related Subjects