The U.S. government--working in your name using your stolen earnings--increased the incentive to slaughter elephants today. Their media cheered.
"US destroys six-ton ivory stockpile"
screamed some version of the headlines. Wow, that sounds great doesn't
it? The U.S. government, seized over six tonnes of ivory, taken via
the mass slaughter of elephants in Africa and caught being smuggled into
the USA at one of their entry ports.
Much was raw ivory (the tusks), some had already been converted into
ivory scrimshaw like art, ceremonial bowls, masks, statues or jewelry,
increasing the ivory's value.
Then in a huge public show of support for this slaughter your federal government transported the ivory from all around the nation's ports of entry to Denver, Colorado where the U.S. government
apparently maintains a nearby rock crusher that they used to pulverize
all of the ivory.
What did they accomplish?
Well, they deprived those smugglers of any sale of that ivory.
Yes, but your government had already done that when they seized the ivory. Not when they destroyed
Well, they taught them a lesson!
Yes, do not let your ivory get discovered, but they
already knew that.
The government is trying to claim they showed these smugglers
there will not be any profit or will be less profit in harvesting and smuggling ivory. But in fact, the opposite is true.
The risk to the harvesters or suppliers has not increased by destroying the ivory. Therefor, the costs to harvest and smuggle ivory have not increased at all.
The supply of ivory has however, been reduced by six tonnes. Ivory costs about $1,300 a pound. The U.S. government just destroyed $17 million of ivory. When there is
a limited supply of something and you reduce the amount of that
substance available to be purchased, what happens when there are more
buyers than supply? The price (and profit) goes up for the item. It is
as simple as that and an unarguable consequence of destroying a
desired commodity. The purchase price goes up to the consumer to reflect demand and the profits go up to the supplier encouraging the supplier to turn around and get more of the commodity. Did the U.S. government not know this?
Of course they did. This is the
same U.S. government that in the 1930's during the Great Depression with
its citizens starving, ordered fields of food plowed under to force
prices upward (for sale of the left overs of the plowed under commodities to foreign markets by the way).
Instead of the meaningless dog and pony show for the compliant media,
perhaps the U.S. government should have done the only thing it actually
could do to discourage ivory harvesting: Sell it and apply the proceeds to continue arming African tribes to protect elephant herds deeded to
those tribes. That would make the costs of harvesting ivory pretty
steep and give incentive for the tribesmen to come up with ways to
exploit and preserve their renewable resource.
Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Where is the profit in that? Instead your government posted an equally meaningless $1 million dollar taxpayer looted reward leading to the capture of those responsible. But since there is no one party or even just a few parties responsible, clearly the U.S. government has no intention of paying what cannot be captured.
I know, I know. "But at least they are trying to do something!" arise the wails. They always are.
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