tragedy of the commons

Popular Terms
Archetypical social phenomenon where an attempt to exploit others (or 'the system') in one way or the other eventually turns out to be self-defeating. In a welfare state with a safety net, for example, if a significantly high number of unemployed but eligible workers choose to live on the unemployment benefits, the whole social security structure will collapse because no money will be left to sustain it.

Use 'tragedy of the commons' in a Sentence

Stephen left his dishes in the office sink without cleaning them however after a few days he was not able to use the sink as everyone else had filled the sink with their dirty dishes as well, the office kitchen sink suffered from Tragedy of the Commons
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The company tried to skimp on materials for their product but in the end it was a bit of a tragedy of the commons; the cost of warranty repairs ended up higher than the cost of better materials would have been.
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The man felt that his friend was going to commit a Tragedy of the Commons because he did not think about the group at all and just focused on his own self interests.
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