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Saturday, December 06, 2003

"No technical solution problems", tick-tack-toe + morality
The prestigious scientific journal, Science has just completed a four-week series of special editions addressing different aspects of the State of the Planet.

These editions have addressed Population + Biodiversity, Fisheries, Soils, and Food Security, Freshwater Resources + the Energy Picture and Air Quality + Climate Change.

Next week a related special issue that will commemorate the 35th anniversary of the publication of the late Garrett Hardin's classic essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons."

This essay should be well worth a look as Hardin's paper asks whether it is possible to achieve philosopher Jeremy Bentham's goal of "the greatest good for the greatest number".

Hardin also discusses the need to consider the rules of any game before attempting to achieve a particular outcome, and to think about the changes in human behaviour, based on morality, required to solve problems which do not have technical/technological solutions.