Preprints are early versions of research articles that have not been peer reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive and should not be reported in news media as established information.
Olaiya_The devil in the number_latest 230620.docx (130.31 kB)
Download file

The devil in the number: Rethinking Garrett Hardin’s The tragedy of the commons and global overpopulation crisis

Download (130.31 kB)
posted on 2020-08-13, 15:52 authored by Taiwo OlaiyaTaiwo Olaiya

Critiques about the misconstrued thesis of Garrett Hardin’s (1968) classic essay entitled The Tragedy of the Commons are well documented. However, little is known of the remote and proximate causes of the pejorative confusion about the vital essay. This article engages the discursive reconstruction of the thesis from the management of the commons to the original intent about the unscrupulousness of unchecked population growth as a critical factor to the looming collapse of the earth. Deploying an eloquent metaphor, the devil in the number, the article reinvents the illogic of overpopulating the world while simultaneously pursuing the technocratic solutions to nature’s burden. The article reports four marked factors that swayed perception away from Hardin’s thesis. The significance of Hardin’s essay for the overburdened ecosystem as the harbinger for the socio-economic and governance crisis across the global divides is also discussed.


Declaration of conflicts of interest


Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Nigeria

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Lecturer

Lead author institution

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Human Participants

  • No


Log in to write your comment here...