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The Frazier Institute

Eat the Whales

Tree-huggers everywhere still can't accept the inevitability of the market model of competition as it applies to animal species. Environmentalist continue to call for government interference in the biological market, by protecting species that have become obsolescent because they failed to evolve to meet the challenges of the modern world.

These eco-freaks fail to realize that biological bankruptcy (which they refer to by the emotionally loaded term "extinction") is a necessary by-product of the forces of globalization which are transforming world society. The species which are failing are those which became bloated and inefficient (whales, elephants, rhinoceroses), or else those which exploited a market niche which is no longer viable (the spotted owl, the panda bear).

If these species cannot downsize or evolve to meet the new global environment, it is inevitable that they will fail. Meanwhile, more efficient and adaptable species (pigeons, sparrows, squirrels, rats) are re-evaluating their roles and finding new markets, with the result that they are thriving in the new global economy.

If obsolescent species wish to continue in some form, they alway have the option of becoming a subsidiary of a more successful species through domestication. Many species have followed this course of action successfully in the past. The cow, for instance, now thrives in great numbers as a subsidiary of humanity, even though its wild ancestor, the auroch, has been extinct for thousands of years.

Despite this example, most species on the verge of extinction continue to resist domestication. Given their refusal to accept the dictates of the market, the only option for these species is a hostile takeover, in which their remaining assets are broken up and sold. For instance, whale meat is highly valued in Japan and some other nations, and liquidating the remaining whale assets could net a decent return on investment.

In the meantime, government intervention in the biological market is interfering with the onward march of globalization. In Australia, species which have become lazy and inefficient due to millenia of protection by trade barriers (e.g. the Pacific Ocean) should be giving way to species which have become efficient and flexible because they have evolved in a more competitive environment.

The rabbit, for instance, has ruthlessly out-competed the native species and taken over their markets, yet it continues to be subject to unacceptable government restrictions (such as being subjected to deadly viruses) despite its proven superiority.

In an appalling contravention of the principles of free trade, these restrictions are not even applied to native species! Because of the power and populist tactics of environmentalists, such protectionist measures have not resulted in the outcry they should have inspired from those who cherish market principles.

It is time that governments got out of the business of trying to manage the biological market. Government regulations can only distort the impartial hand of mother nature as the most efficient species thrive and those which are no longer viable are eliminated.

S.O. Farr-Wright

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