The Bitter Side of Honey Essay

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The Bitter Side of Honey: Tragedy of the Commons in the Declining Global Bee Population Arcelia Salado IB Economics SL 4A How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! How skillfully she builds her cell! How neat she spreads the wax! And labors hard to store it well With the sweet food she makes. –Isaac Watts Investopedia defines tragedy of the commons as an economic problem in which every individual tries to reap the greatest benefit from a given resource. As demand increases and supply wanes, the resource is depleted and no one reaps benefit. There are about 20,000 different bee species in the world. They can be broken up between three large groups: honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees. In the last couple of years there has been a 30% decrease annually in European bees and just last winter, the States lost one third of its bee colonies. You must be thinking “Yeah, that’s fascinating, we’ll eat less honey, so what?” Well, it just so happens that between the effort and work of these twenty thousand species of bugs one third of the world’s food is pollinated, and therefore allowed to reproduce itself and make more food for our ever-increasing, ever-hungry population. This essay will explore the causes, effects and possible solutions for the tragedy of the commons that is declining bee population around the world. A tragedy of the commons can be classified as a market failure, and thus has negative externalities, or negative outcomes affecting a third party resulting from interchanges between producers and consumers. In this case, it would be a negative externality of production since the bee deaths are being caused by what happens on the producer’s side of the scale. What could possibly be causing this bee decline that is our fault? In a word: pesticides. In a study

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