Disillusioned commentary on Australian financial sector, politics, business, media... with attention occasionally distracted to the world outside... and intermittent reminder that rage is a more life-conserving irrationality than despair.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Economically rational whale conservation

Whales are slow breeding animals. For example, the humpback whale has a gestation period of 12 months, and mature females produce calves at best every 2-3 years.

Taking various causes of mortality into account, non-harvested whale stocks increase by 3% a year. This means, given that sufficient food resources and habitat are available, whale stock will increase by 19 times over 100 years.

Ten-year government bonds offer above 4% interest in Australia, the UK and the US. Assuming that this is a typical rate (which most times it is), $1 invested today will be worth $50 in 100 years. That is, money grows two and a half times as fast (even in a secure investment) as whales do.

So is it logical to slaughter all whales, sell the meat and invest the proceeds in government bonds, to form a fund to conserve faster growing species of animal?

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