William Forster Lloyd, 1795-1852

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William Forster Lloyd succeeded N.W. Senior as Drummond Chair at Oxford in the 1830s. A member of the Oxford-Dublin school of proto-Marginalists opposed to the Ricardian labor theory of value. W.F. Lloyd independently introduced the concept of diminishing marginal utility and connecting demand to value.

Lloyd is perhaps most famous for introducing the parable of the "Tragedy of the Commons" in his 1833 book on population. Lloyd observed that when pastureland is (the "commons") is available to all, cattle-owners have a short-term interest in increasing the size of their herds. But, unchecked, the size of the herds on the commons will soon exceed its carrying capacity. The commons will be doomed by overgrazing. The argument was used by Lloyd to dispute Adam Smith's idea of the "invisible hand". Some modern economists argue that the problem can be "solved" by assigning private property rights to the field.

Major Works of William F. Lloyd

Resources on W.F. Lloyd
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