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Tragedy of the anticommons facts for kids

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The tragedy of the anticommons is a new phrase invention of Michael Heller. It says, that things can go bad if too many people have rights on a shared thing. It is related to the phrase tragedy of the commons, which says that things can go bad if not enough people have rights. It is a general phrase for problems like patent thickets, submarine patents, nail houses, and more red tapes. It is difficult to find solutions, but some of them are eminent domain, Laches, patent pools or other agreements on rights and copyrights.

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Tragedy of the anticommons is one of four outcomes:

Property rights Common ownership or lack of property rights
Bad outcome/tragedy Tragedy of the anticommons Tragedy of the commons
Good outcome/cornucopia normal case Inverse commons

The prevalent outcome depends on the details of the situation.

  • Rose, Carol M. (1986) The Comedy of the Commons: Commerce, Custom and Inherently Public Property, 53 Univ. of Chi. L. Rev. 711, reprinted as chapter 5 in: Rose, Carol M., Property and persuasion: Essays on the history, theory and rhetoric of ownership, Westview Press 1994
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