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Tragedy of the Commons on South Park - Peeing in the Pool

by Dave Brown

Recall that the tragedy of the commons exists when a common resource is ruined or depleted. Individuals do what is in their own best interest, but fail to realize their actions have a small (perhaps negligible) social cost. However, if enough people do these actions, the small costs can add up to a big (and noticeable) cost. Peeing in the swimming pool is a unique example of the tragedy of the commons.

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Tragedy of the Commons on South Park - Peeing in the Pool

The boys decide to visit a water park for a day of fun. However, Stan gets grossed out when he finds out that people pee in the swimming pools. Does it really matter if just one person pees in the pool? What happens if a lot of people pee in the pool? Watch this interesting application of the Tragedy of the Commons.

from South Park - S13E14 (2009)
Creator: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall
Distributor: Comedy Central, part of Viacom Media Networks
Posted by Dave Brown