Question

In: Economics

What is the analogy between people overgrazing a commonly owned area of land and the use...

What is the analogy between people overgrazing a commonly owned area of land and the use of public air space in the case of the coronavirus pandemic? What is a possible remedy to prevent air space from becoming overused during a pandemic? What is the cost of not regulating shared air space and letting individuals decide for themselves whether to go to work, go shopping, gather in groups, etc.? Would a single business sacrificing profit by closing down to prevent the spread of the virus be an effective remedy to prevent a pandemic from spreading? Why or why not?

Solutions

Expert Solution

The case mentioned here is the corona virus pandemic. Now, firstly we need to understand the situation of this particular pandemic to draw an analogy. During this pandemic the world has been locked down and every individual who does not have symptoms can be a potential carrier of corona virus. So, using the public airspace can infect the other person in close proximity thus leaving other users of the air space worse off. Thus, social distancing must be adopted. In case of overgrazing a commonly owned area of land one person's presence leaves less land for the other thus leaving others worse off. Even in this case distanced grazing would leave the users better off, like in the case of pandemic where use of public air space can be permissble only if people resort to social distancing. Thus, more than optimal usage of both land and air leaves others worse off.

The main focus of the prevention as we discussed earlier is lockdown and social distancing. Lockdown would prevent the masses from being on the road unless and until it is absolutely necessary, and even if they have to step out of their houses in case of an emergency, they have to socially distance themselves from the other people on the road. Strict implementation of the above two would ensure that lesser and lesser people using the public airspace.

If sharing of airspace is not regulated and individuals are left to decide on their own whether or not to go outside, it is obvious that they will. Most people's source of livelihood is outside of their home, and among other people. Even if they do realise that they should socially distance themselves in order to not fall prey to the virus, for most people the need for a living will surpass this realisation. Not to mention, for daily wage workers, the expected utility from going to work far outweighs that from maintaining safety regulations. As far as shopping is concerned, individuals have their daily grocery and personal requirements, the fulfilment of which is almost as necessary as the daily wage. Even in a state of lockdown, people have been seen to gather in public areas for religious purposes, political rallies, and even for water-cooler gossip. In the absence of the safety rules imposed on the society, the spread of the pandemic as a result of this carefreeness would know no bounds.Thus, the cost can be significantly high, may be the death of a number of individuals after getting infected from the crowded places.

Every single business involves: proprietor(s) single or multiple along with their staff. Now, so many people working together would mean close proximity of individuals and overuse of the given air space in and around their working unit. This would aggravate the pandemic even further. Thus, even a single business sacrificing their profits by closing down would contribute to the restriction of the pandemic.


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