Saturday, November 21, 2009

Endangered Species

"I don't give a damn about endangered species." -Walter Williams

I don't either, but I have a suggestion for those who do...Start eating them. Well, not quite. If private ownership of endangered species is no longer prohibited, and people figure out that animals like the spotted owl are pretty tasty, there will be an incentive for people to farm them and keep the species alive. Does anyone expect cows or chickens to go extinct?

I find it interesting that environmentalists seem more concerned with the survival of currently living plants and animals rather than increasing their population.


  1. "I don't give a crap about whales so go and hug a tree"

    -E. Cartman, as Lady Gaga.

  2. Cloning extinct species would help our batting average...

  3. I'm a big fan of human centric environmentalism, or as I call it, environmental economics. The environment is only useful in so far as it promotes happiness for humans.

    The trick is to remember that even if a particular species doesn't do anything for you (I certainly have no affinity for spotted owl) it might still be efficient to force some taxation to preserve it (given non-zero transaction costs and a sufficiently low cost to you and/or high benefit to others).

    I'm not saying that the endangered species act is necessarily worth the cost; in fact cloning might be cheaper in some cases and private ownership of a species is an awesome and cheap way to achieve the same ends.

    I just want to caution everyone that it's a bad idea to dismiss all environmentalism as inherently irrational en la manera de Williams.