This is a pretty commonly used phrase so I won’t belabor the point, but it’s an important trap to be cognizant of when sharing resources. The most common solution to this problem appears to be “chargeback accounting” where ever mission and cost center has to justify their budget through revenue, even if it’s internal services.
From “Thinking in Systems” by Donella H. Meadows, which I a few weeks ago.
THE TRAP: TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS
When there is a commonly shared resource, every user benefits directly from its use, but shares the costs of its abuse with everyone else. Therefore, there is very weak feedback from the condition of the resource to the decisions of the resource users. The consequence is overuse of the resource, eroding it until it becomes unavailable to anyone.
THE WAY OUT
Educate and exhort the users, so they understand the consequences of abusing the resource. And also restore or strengthen the missing feedback link, either by privatizing the resource so each user feels the direct consequences of its abuse or (since many resources cannot be privatized) by regulating the access of all users to the resource.