Saturday, February 25, 2006

Tragedy of The Commons: Downloading Movie

by Alief
Salah satu hal yang paling kami (Norway's Folks, saya+kak dewa) banggakan di student housing NULS adalah fasilitas internet 24 jam, 7 hari seminggu, 10 Mbps di kamar masing-masing. Semua jadi indah karena hampir semua bisa kita dapatkan di dunia maya ini. Dari mengunduh jurnal - jurnal yang dilanggan oleh kampus, sampai dengan tindakan - tindakan ilegal khas negara berkembang, mengunduh lagu, majalah dalam format pdf dan yang paling menyenangkan FILM baru. Pernah suatu masa kak Dewa dengan bangga bercerita, di kala Star Wars paling baru belum tayang perdana, dia sudah asyiknya menonton hasil mengunduh di internet. Saya rasakan kegembiraan itu juga akhirnya disini, semua film baru, sebut apa saja, mulai Harry Potter-Goblet of Fire, The Chronicles of Narnia, sampai terakhir Munich, kami tonton dengan kualitas DVD dengan cara yang sama.
Tentu, kami bayar sewa bulanan flat yang termasuk di dalamnya fasilitas internet tanpa batas ini. Dan sebagai orang timur yang suka berbagi kebahagiaan, kadang kala saya membagi informasi cara mengunduh ini kepada teman - teman flat satu gedung. Saya mengira informasi ini layak dibagi karena dia adalah public goods. Suatu kebodohan, karena saya baru menyadari bahwa informasi ini berada di posisi common goods.
Ekonom mengelompokkan barang berdasarkan sifat rivalry dan excludability (mungkin ada yang bisa menemukan padanan kata yang tepat di bahasa Indonesia?). Jika ia secara bersamaan rivalry dan excludability, ia adalah private goods. Jika ia bersamaan non rivalry dan non excludability dia jadi public goods (contoh:TNI, Polisi). Yang sumir diantaranya sedikit rumit: rivalry saja tapi non excludable disebut common goods (contoh: SDA), dan excludability saja-non rivalry disebut club goods (contoh: klub). Awam, seringkali club goods dan common goods dimasukkan ke dalam public goods.
Kembali ke cerita, informasi tentang film gratis ini mengundang banyak orang untuk ikut bergabung dan memaksimalkan konsumsi. Beban jaringan gedung makin lama makin besar, dan bulan ini jaringan harus putus beberapa kali karena overload. Ekonom percaya there is no free lunch, sesuatu yang nyaris gratis ternyata harus dibayar dalam bentuk lain, dalam hal ini jaringan yang putus dan, untuk saya pribadi, kesal luar biasa karena saya berasa jadi ekonom paling bodoh sedunia.
Namun pengalaman saya adalah hal kecil dibanding tragedi kemanusiaan dalam Tragedy of Easter Island yang mengilhami paper terkenal Tragedy of the Commons. Keterbatasan sumber daya alam, populasi yang meningkat, dan kesalahan memposisikan sumber daya alam dalam perekonomian membuat penduduk satu pulau punah setelah sebelumnya terjadi kanibalisme untuk bertahan hidup.
Ah, saya baru sadar arti mimpi saya beberapa hari ini. Ada orang tak henti - hentinya mentertawakan saya. Mungkin dia Thomas Robert Malthus...

4 comments:

Berly said...

So what would be the optimal arrangement?

Assuming exist duplication among songs downloaded by flatmates, then it is better that all flatmates submit their list to one person that does the downloading to copy it later.

This way everybody got their songs and the internet line not overloaded (still quick). The case turn to be a coordination failure in game theoritic framework rather than public good analysis.

One point on free lunch... Aren't all kaFE depok contributers currently getting a free lunch to study in Europe without having to pay (except teaching bond for some)? Maybe economists need a new believe...

alief.aulia said...

"the tragedy of the commons" can be seen as as collective prisoner's dilemma.
But the possibility to defect on a coordination (solution you've offered) will be high, since the preference of the usage of internet connection will be different among flat members.
converting this "common properties" into private properties can be used as one solution, giving the owner of each an incentive to enforce its sustainability. who will convert? institution, in this case the stundent-housing administrator.
free luch? hmh..how about the term "opportunity cost"? i left a management trainee program in a state-owned bank to study here. I must compensate the bank for some bucks.
For others? It depends on you, but herewith nice quotation from AP's writing on cafesalemba:
"I keep asking myself what the hell am I doing here, forgoing my modelling career back home", (hallo AP, heheh..)

Berly said...

If the problem solely seen as public goods problem then the propose solution call for reducing free rider. But as a prisoner dilemma, it offer possibility to move to better Nash Equilibrium with proper coordination. Institution is one of way

Mancur Olson in "The Logic of Collective Action" stated that to engage in an action that collectively beneficial, the personal cost (agreeing to one person as downloader, giving the list of songs/movies to that person to be downloaded and copying the files from him/her afterward) of doing it must be less than personal benefit of not doing it (disutility from long waiting to songs/movies).

But the inventive to deviate is indeed big, so there must be a cartel-like agreement with (minor) punishment to those still downloading outside agreed upon channel to change the payoff matrix and make a stable Nash Equilibrium.

bayuni said...

to what extent do you think this would happen? is it really a tragedy or not? or tragedy in what context?. assuming that rationality and self interest is true which is not. applying to context of resources use in some community (forest, land etc) the tragedy would not happened. why? self interest doesnt occur and usually they are close connected to each other. this family network prevent 'uninteded behaviour' such as over exploitation. it doesnt mean that there is no rule and resource regulation in this community if one or two attempts to exercise their power by extracting more, then penalty can be enforced by the authority.
in fact, over exploitation of the resources done not by community who perceive resource as a common but by large companies. often they expell people from their land and enclosure it. giving it private property, it's not always a good solution however it solves management issue only.
back to internet, the problem just lack of regulation to limit each internet user for gaining benefit from it.