Common property resources

Written by Richard B. Primack

Most natural resources, such as clean air, clean water, soil quality, rare species, and even scenic beauty, are considered to be common property resources, collectively owned by society at large or owned by no o­ne, with open access to everyone. These resources are rarely assigned a monetary value.  People, industries, and governments use and damage these resources without paying more than a minimal cost, or sometimes paying nothing at all.  This is a situation in which market failure occurs, described as the tragedy of the commons--in which the value of the common property resources is lost to all of society.

Richard Primack, A Primer of Conservation Biology, p.37.

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