Max Falque in Revue Fonciere

This new paper by Max Falque is published by “Revue Foncière” and deals with the role of property rights for managing environmental resources. As a matter of fact it updates and epitomizes several papers and dsicussions with other land use specialists such as Vincent Renard, Joseph Comby, René Hostiou, Harvey Jacobs, Ann Louise Strong..
Onlyt the short comment  on the risk of a smaii tragedy of the commons  in Provence is translated in English :

Published in French in Revue Foncière and Contrepoint April 2018

“Tragedy of the Commons” in Provence

Authentic anecdote

Max Falque

This very modest story could have been part of famous books such as “Village in the Vaucluse” (Lawrence Wylie), “A year in Provence” (Peter Mayle ) or poetically described by Jean Giono or Marcel Pagnol . It could also be part as a case study for Garrett Hardin’s and Elinor Ostrom’s research

January 24th, 2018: on the local radio France Vaucluse, the Mayor of Grambois,[1] a small and charming village with 1 200 inhabitants located in the Luberon explained that he had created a “Communal Orchard “with open access to everyone, this being in conformity with the new and trendy principle of the “common good” (now advocated .urbi et orbi and ad nauseam by all shades of “greens” not to speak of the parisian bobos’ tribe !)

This Mayor, explained proudly that one of his citizen was sorry for not being able to taste the delicious figs which were its treat the other years because they had all been already picked.

Continuing his walk this dogooder mayor is approached by a lady who thanked him warmly to be able to make important preserves from figs picked in the communal orchard.

The Mayor seemed delighted of its action and probably imagined to expand the”verger communal”… and eventually his popularity.

At a very small scale this naïve anecdote illustrates perfectly the famous Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the commons” and one can safely surmise that the choice of the Mayor in the future will be-:

  • restrict access by regulation and fencing
  • recruit a policeman for common good management in order to solve inevitable conflicts between competitive claims and the sustainable preservation of the harvest.
  • In the long term probably the Communal Orchard will be abandoned and/or sold or given to a local farmer who will ban free access and sell its fruit.
  • Another solution would be to set up a common property management assocation as described and advocated by Elinor Ostrom’s famous book in “Governing the Commons”

This naïve anecdote , without serious consequences, illustrates the principle according to which free access to a limited resource (i.e. figs) can only lead to the ruin and conflicts . Do- gooders and citizens alike should know that. “the way to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Notes :

[1] Grambois is a commune located in the Department of Vaucluse , in region Azur Provence. Located to the East of the Luberon regional natural park, hung on a steep hillside overlooking the Valley of theEze, this commune was able preserve its character preserving of modern buildings.

Alleys in ” “. calade ” ” and its central, typically Provençal fountain won the filmmaker Yves Robert who shot several scenes of his film The glory of my father (1990) shot of the famous novel of Marcel Pagnol (the part of balls and the return of the famous hunting to the bartavelles); the village is also mentioned in the works of Jean Giono (source Wikipedia)