Lou Reed on the Tragedy of the Commons

So there’s a central resource, say a bunch of programmers, developers, and application tweakers, which is free to a group of individuals, say for example some administrative departments, each of which has its own budget, priorities, and goals. Because the central resource is free, there’s no particular reason not to ask for whatever you like. So everyone asks for whatever they want and then the limiting factor becomes the availability of the central resource (time). People adjust their requests according to the schedule but the resource remains exploited and unappreciated for everyone’s constantly unhappy because, like Lou Reed’s man, “the first thing you learn is that you always have to wait.”

Maybe it’s time for Adam Smith’s invisible hand to swoop in, flip everyone off, and then start charging?

4 Responses to “Lou Reed on the Tragedy of the Commons”

  1. Celeste said:

    Mar 07, 08 at 9:08 am

    I think you just summed up most programmer’s existences.

  2. cec said:

    Mar 07, 08 at 9:20 am

    you could have a whole ad campaign around the new charge backs. maybe something like; “this is adam smith. this is adam smith giving you the invisible finger. any questions?”

  3. admin said:

    Mar 07, 08 at 5:33 pm

    Oh, Celeste, I’m sorry. I was hoping it was just us…. The campaign idea is great: give people a hard time in multiple modes. I think that’s what IT was born to do 🙂

  4. filberthockey said:

    Mar 11, 08 at 11:36 am

    Pretty soon you’ll be auctioning off programming futures and packaging subprime support for technically naive end users.

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