Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MOOOOO ‘ve Over Keats a New Poet is Here

This week I wanted to try something new as a post…introducing economic poetry (a trend which is likely to die shortly after this is posted) it was fun though ;-)

Ode to Belle the Cow (the Free Riding Queen)

To prance as swift and eat the grass which is not yours
Is the activity that a cow named Belle adores
She eats all that she can,
then along comes another cow named Ben
Ben invites all of his friends,
He says “Come and eat as the grass in the Commons never ends!”
The cows all keep eating until they get thunder thighs,
and that’s the story of the Commons demise.
The Commons is now barren and brown
Hence is the lesson which comes “when the tragedy comes to town”
You see public goods cannot last.
as long as cows are there to prance past.


  1. Really interesting podcast!

    Indiana University professor Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel prize for economics. She's not a big fan of "The tragedy of the commons."

    Ostrom explains her groundbreaking research into the public management of natural resources. The political scientist argues that people should be empowered to organize themselves in small ways that scale up to a global network. Government can be helpful in doing that, but people shouldn't rely on it alone.


  2. Great poem. It should show up in an econ text book.

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  4. Easily one of the best odes to cows, economics, and the tragedy of the commons I've read all Wednesday.