If you want to increase the number of large animals like elephants and rhinos, allow them to be privately owned and hunted

Kenya and South Africa have taken dramatically different approaches in how to protect large animals.

May not make sense, but I have a plan for you if you want to protect big critters, like rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalos (the big 5) along with antelopes and zebras.

What to do? Take South Africa’s approach and allow private ownership of the animals and allow other people to pay the owners of the animals to hunt them.

Like I said, it doesn’t make sense, but incentives matter. And if you want to protect big animals, give individuals incentives to do so.

Kenya and South Africa provide a natural experiment to see which approach works best.

(This article was originally posted at my other blog, Outrun Change. Why cross-post it here? Because I believe this story shows that the approach resembling free enterprise produces a result with a higher level of morality than the alternatives. Private ownership of property produces the moral outcome.  I cannot quite see how it is moral to take actions which cause most of the big animals to die off.)

The following information is from two articles:


Kenya bans private ownership of large animals and bans hunting. The country focuses on conservation with funding provided by eco-tourism.

How has that worked?


Appeals court says devastation from New Deal is still okay; We lost a hero who also suffered at the hands of the New Deal

Did you know the enlightened wizards of the New Deal worked out a plan that raisin producers had to turn over a percentage of their crop to the government and not get paid for the raisins?

Yes, that was actually a plan developed back in the ‘30s.

Did you know that plan is still in place? Eighty years later?

(Cross posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

I discussed that a year ago – Economic destruction from the New Deal just keeps rolling on.

The lawsuit I mentioned back then involved farmers who were told to give 47% of their ’02 crop and 30% of their ’03 crop to the government without compensation.  The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled the farmers did actually have standing to sue the government. The case went to the 9th Circuit Court for consideration of their claims.

Guess what?


More examples of unintended consequences

Five more examples of unintended consequences.  The problem? People don’t always do what you tell them. They often do something totally different from what you expected. (Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Cracked describes 5 Laws That Made Senses on Paper (And Disasters in Reality). (Caution, some naughty words.) These examples are from government.  My three favorites are how to:

  • increase number of guns on the street
  • increase number of cobras on the loose
  • increase pollution from cars

Gun buybacks increase number of guns on the street. (more…)

The Great Recession just sort of happened. The Fed had absolutely nothing to do with it.

A long article from the Federal Reserve on the housing bubble and recovery from the great recession doesn’t mention the fed’s role in anything other than generating the recovery. See:  Subprime Mortgage Crisis. Absolutely no mention of the massive role played by easy money and Congressional policy pumping up the housing market.

The first part of the article is called How and Why the Crisis Occurred.

The short paraphrase is the runup in housing prices, increased demand for homes, surge in subprime loans, collapse of prices, and mass of foreclosures kinda’ sorta’ just happened.

No cause mentioned, especially no role assigned to the federal government in general or the Fed in particular.

Let’s look at the article in more detail.


Lots of blame for the financial crisis of ’08 falls on the federal government

There is a huge amount of blame to be spread for the Great Recession that started in 2008. While the recession technically ended four years ago back in June of 2009, most people in California and lots of charities here are still feeling the effects.

I see exquisitely little discussion of how intentional federal policies created the distortions that led to the financial crisis. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Phil Gramm and Mike Solon help explain why much of the blame belongs to the federal government:  The Clinton-Era Roots of the Financial Crisis.

To make this non-partisan, I’ll point out that the flawed policies from the Clinton administration were ratified, continued, and extended by the Bush administration. Not to worry, both parties have worked lots of overtime to earn their share of blame.

While you can argue on the proportionate blame between the two parties, I’ll point out that regardless of the allocation you determine, 100% of that particular allocation falls on deliberate federal policy.

Initial efforts to persuade private pension plans to fund low-income housing failed. The administration forced (more…)

Q: Can tax policy kill off a popular industry?

A: Yes.

How the Taxman Cleared the Dance Floor in the Wall Street Journal explains a 30% excise tax on any venue that served food and had dancing did in two-thirds of the very popular dance clubs. Passed in 1944, the so-called ‘cabaret tax’ was intended to hit those filthy rich people who dined and danced in fancy places.

Eric Felton explains shortly after the tax was passed, the Bureau of Internal Revenue provided a very broad definition of what places the tax applied. It covered anyplace that served food and dancing with live singing. Those were an extremely popular form of entertainment during and after WWII.

The entire industry of dining and dancing was devastated: (more…)