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Destroying ivory just drives up the price


Date published: 11/22/2013

Destroying ivory just drives up the price

This is regarding the Nov. 15 article titled "Illegal ivory gets crushed."

You report that the U.S. government destroyed more than six tons of ivory in an effort to reduce the poaching of elephants. The economics of this policy don't make sense.

By destroying massive quantities of ivory, thereby reducing its global supply, our government has increased the scarcity of ivory. Increased scarcity in turn increases the value of yet-to-be harvested ivory, thus creating strong incentives for poachers to kill even more elephants.

If the United States wanted to increase the activity and production of, say, home builders, a great policy would be to destroy large quantities of existing homes.

By destroying large quantities of existing ivory, we have implemented a great policy to increase the activity and production of elephant poachers.

Michael Strobl

Stafford