JOHN STOSSEL: 

Thankful for Property Rights on Thanksgiving Day

Ready for Thanksgiving? Before you eat that turkey, I hope you think about why America has turkeys for you to eat. Most people don't know.

Everyone's heard about that first Thanksgiving feast—Pilgrims and Indians sharing the harvest. We like the drawings of it we saw in schoolbooks—shared bounty.

Fewer people know that before that first feast, the Pilgrims nearly starved.

They almost starved because they acted the way some Bernie Sanders fans want people to act. They farmed collectively.

But communal farming creates what economists call "the tragedy of the commons."

Think about what happens if a bunch of ranchers hold land in common. Everyone brings cattle to graze. While that sounds nice, it also means every rancher has an incentive to bring lots of cattle to the pasture. They bring cow after cow until the pasture is overgrazed -- destroyed.

For this week's YouTube video, I repeated an experiment economics teachers sometimes do to demonstrate the tragedy of the commons.  ... MORE



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