Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Globalization and Bison

I am unsure what to make of this:
[A] Canadian researcher has discovered that globalization was the real culprit for the decimation of the U.S. bison herd in the 19th century.
...
...European development of a cheap and easy tanning method after 1870 fuelled that continent's insatiable appetite for bison hides...
...
...the usual suspects are in fact innocent and that this other suspect - international trade - is the guilty party," Prof. Taylor said.
...
The U.S. government, fresh from its bloody civil war, did little to protect its natural resources and fell to the whims of market demand.

Okay, the article concedes that six million of 30 million bison were exported. I remain unconvinced that the market could ruin a resource so thoroughly in a decade, and that the continuing mission of the US Army to destroy plains bison as a way to subjugate native peoples is irrelevant.

The NBER paper is here. Expect an update later today.

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