Hardin, Garrett James

caption Garrett Hardin. (Source: LegalMinds Community)

Garrett Hardin (1915 -2003) was an ecologist and microbiologist, best known for his controversial beliefs about population control. Hardin became famous through his writing, specifically through a 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which addressed the over-exploitation of resources held in common by a growing population. The essay, now reprinted in over 100 anthologies, was widely accepted as a fundamental contribution to ecology, population theory, economics, and political science. Hardin's work, especially that on population, immigration, and abortion, has had many practical effects on public politics and debate, as well as on biological science itself.

Hardin received a Ph.D. in microbiology from Stanford University in 1941 after studying zoology at the University of Chicago. He taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, until his retirement in 1978. He remained active, however, writing and speaking, and in 1986 he and his wife helped found Californians for Population Stabilization. His output totaled 27 books and 350 articles.

Selected Publications:

Journal articles

  • Hardin, G. (1968). The Tragedy of the Commons. Science 162, 1243-1248.
  • Hardin, G. (1971). Population, biology and law. Journal of Urban Law 48, 563-578.
  • Hardin, G. (1974). Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor. Psychology Today, 8, 38-43.
  • Hardin, G. (1976). Living with Faustian Bargain. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 32, 25-29.
  • Hardin, G. (1980). Ecology and the death of Providence. Zygon 15, 57-68.
  • Hardin, G. (1982). Discriminating altruisms. Zygon 17, 163-186.
  • Hardin, G. (1983). Is violence natural? Zygon 18, 405-413.
  • Hardin, G. (1985). Human-ecology - the subversive, conservative science. American Zoologist 25, 469-476.
  • Hardin, G. (1986). Cultural carrying-capacity - a biological approach to human problems. Bioscience 36, 599-606.
  • Hardin, G. (1994). The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 9, 199-199.
  • Hardin, G. (1998). Extensions of "The Tragedy of the Commons". Science 280, 682-683.


  • Nature and Man's Fate (1965) New American Library. ISBN: 0-451-61170-5
  • Exploring new ethics for survival: the voyage of the spaceship Beagle (1972) Viking Press. ISBN: 0-670-30268-6
  • Promethean Ethics: Living With Death, Competition, and Triage (1980) University of Washington Press. ISBN: 0-295-95717-4
  • Naked Emperors: Essays of a Taboo-Stalker (1982) William Kaufmann, Inc. ISBN: 0-86576-032-2
  • Filters Against Folly, How to Survive despite Economists, Ecologists, and the Merely Eloquent (1985) Viking Penguin. ISBN: 0-670-80410-X
  • Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos (1993) Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0-19-509385-2
  • The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia (1999) Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0-19-512274-7


Cleveland, C. (2008). Hardin, Garrett James. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/153252


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