Wealth Generation, Rational Actor Decision Making, Sustainable Mindset, Environmental Resource Depletion, Tragedy Of The Commons, Agent-Based Modeling


Today, falling trends of species and ecosystem in the world due to overconsumption and destruction of natural resources are at critical levels. It is vital for humanity to operate with sustainable and resilient modes of production and consumption. In this regard, this paper examines the basic premise of rationality and introduces sustainability as an advancement to the theoretical concept of rationality. Thus, a rational mindset and a sustainable mindset are compared under depletion of environmental resources. The understanding of rationality in the analysis is based on Garett Hardin’s (1968) ‘the tragedy of the commons’ model, in which actors are self-interested and individualistic while seeking resources. Conversely, a sustainable mindset acknowledges environmental limitations and takes action accordingly. By utilizing agent-based modeling, both rational and sustainable mindsets are modeled, and their relative behavior are put into action in computer simulation. The results reveal that the basic understanding of rationality is not always going to maximize the utility of agents. Instead, there may be environmental conditions where having a sustainable mindset generates more wealth. In a scenario of resource depletion, the chances of survival decrease for rational agents. Their situation is exacerbated if their level of greed increases. However, the sustainable agents continue making stable wealth even with limited environmental resources. Rational actors must develop a sustainable mindset in order to acclimatize themselves to environmental deterioration.

Publication Date

June 2017



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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.