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Garrett Hardin
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    (April 21, 1915-September 14, 2003)
    Born in Dallas, Texas
    Professor of Human Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1963-78)
    Best known for the essay 'The Tragedy of the Commons' (1968), demonstrating how individuals acting in their own self-interest can destroy a shared resource, even though it is against their long-term interest to allow this to happen
    Wrote the books 'Nature and Man's Fate' (1965), 'Exploring New Ethics for Survival' (1972), 'Stalking the Wild Taboo' (1973), 'The Limits of Altruism' (1977), 'Promethian Ethics' (1980), 'Naked Emperors: Essays of a Taboo Stalker' (1982), 'Filters Against Folly' (1985), 'Living Within Limits' (1993) and 'The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia' (1995)
    Politically, he pissed off the left by advocating immigration restrictions and the right by supporting abortion.
    He argued against providing aid to famine victims in Ethiopia, saying that sending food would only perpetuate the underlying problem of overpopulation.
    He advocated a draconian family planning, noting 'When a woman elects to have a child, she is committing the community to something like $100,000 in expenses for the bearing and rearing of that child. Is it wise to extend individual rights that far?'
    He made his own contribution to overpopulation by siring four kids.
    He and his wife were members of the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society, who committed suicide together shortly after their 62nd anniversary.
    He contracted polio as a child and had to walk with crutches.
    He hated political correctness.
    'The Tragedy of the Commons' is the most influential paper in ecology, frequently cited in debates over resource allocation, overfishing and global warming.
    He considered his harsh messages on overpopulation a form of tough love, commenting 'There's nothing more dangerous than a shallow-thinking compassionate person.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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