Collective 4 people, 15 beans Each draws 1-3 beans each time Remaining beans double each time Person with most beans “wins” = Recipe for Disaster
Externality Person with most beans “wins” Pass problems on to others = Recipe for Disaster
Time Delay Why worry today about tomorrow’s problems? = Recipe for disaster
Sliding Reinforcer What works once should work always. = Recipe for disaster
What is common among all? Me-here-now (“greedy”) thinking
Versus Long-term, global (cooperative) thinking
Social traps are situations where what looks like a good choice to me right now turns out to be the wrong choice for society (usually including me) in the long run. me-here-now Longterm, Global No Problem me-here-now Longterm, Global Social Trap
Collective Social TrapAlso “Tragedy of the Commons” • Occurs when there is a shared resource (e.g., air, water) • A person is thinking that their small effect won't matter, but it all adds up to a big problem when many people's small effects add together. • Examples???
Externality Social Trap • A person is thinking that their action will have negative effects, but because the effects don't happen to them but happen to others (including other generations), they decide to do it anyway. • Examples???
Time Delay Social Trap • A person is thinking that their action today will result in a negative effect to themselves and/or society in the future, but they decide to do it anyway. • Examples???
Sliding ReinforcerSocial Trap • A person is thinking that the first time they did the action, they benefited so they repeat the action. But each time they repeat the action, they get less and less benefit until the costs outweigh the benefit and the costs get steadily worse. Examples???
Avoiding Social Traps • Education: Let people know about all the long term consequences and the social trap that is before them. • Pros? • People willingly cooperate • Cons? • People may not cooperate
Avoiding Social Traps • Rules/Laws: Make rules/laws to stop people from doing the wrong thing. • Pros? • People will follow the law or suffer the consequences • Cons? • Laws are broken; hard to enforce
Avoiding Social Traps • Pay Up Front: Bring all the long term, societal consequences up front. This way, even people only thinking of me-here-now still make the right decision. • Pros? • It works • Cons? • It is hard to determine long term and societal costs; all have to do it.
Why do we get ourselves into Environmental Problems? Social Traps Ignorance (rarely) Attitudes
Attitudes • Rosy Optimism: ignore problems • Frontier Attitude: believe we will never run out • Tech Fix: trust science to solve all problems • Gloom-And-Doom: feel useless to stop problems • How do these attitudes lead to or perpetuate environmental problems? Solution Replace with Sustainability
Is this how you feel? • Get Fuzzy, 9/4/01
For Quiz: be able to • Define social traps • List and define specific social traps • Give examples for each social trap • Given an environmental problem, recognize applicable social traps • Describe ways to avoid social traps and their pros and cons • List the 4 attitudes given in class that affect the way people look at and act upon environmental problems. For each attitude, what is the problem with holding that attitude? What attitude should replace these?