Last Monday a company we do business with was kind enough to send us a Christmas basket full of goodies, including two large bags full of the best truffles I’ve ever tasted. These were available for everyone in the office ? they were goods belonging to us all.

Now, with great force of mind, and drawing upon every reserve of Christmas cheer and care for fellow men that I could find, I was able to resist the temptation to abscond with even one of those bags. Naturally, this exhausted any willpower I might have had to resist the call of the truffles every time I passed them by.

Regardless, by late Thursday there still was one full bag left, and the other was by my estimation about one-third full. Friday morning, however, both bags were gone! Alas, even we at the Locke Foundation illustrate the Tragedy of the Commons, as someone here could not suppress the impulse to maximize his or her own happiness at the expense of others’ and the exhaustion of a precious but “free” resource.

Now, to the scoundrel who took the last morsel of Locke truffles: You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch.