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Political Economy of Whaling

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Erica Tan

on 15 May 2014

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Transcript of Political Economy of Whaling

Conclusion: A Whale of a Problem...
A Brief History
Prehistoric Era
: Ainu, Inuit, Native Americans, and the Basque people
Traditional whaling in Scandinavian countries, Japan and other island/coastal communities
Whaling (net) techniques developed (Japan)
Past Policies & Market Failures
1900-1950 Tragedy of Commons
1) "Free Market" Policy

1946-1986 Conservation or Management?
Membership Bias/Vote-Buying ("Government" failure)
2) Ten-year Moratorium
[Q1 >> Q2]
3) "Scientific Whaling"

2014 Contesting Global Norms?
4) ICJ bans "scientific whaling" and Moratorium still in place
Other Possible Market Failures?
Our Policy: Stakeholders
Pro-whaling state actors:
Japan: subsidizes whaling due to lack of demand (from shifting attitudes)

Pro-whaling non-state actors:
Whaling Communities: still need to make a living

Some Japanese consumers still buy whale meat, have demand
Our Policy: Assumptions, Challenges
For our policy to work we assume:
IWC mission, membership and scientific agenda will be reformed (unbiased)

IWC members will lift the moratorium of 'scientifically-proven' sustainable stocks

Individual whalers/businesses will apply and qualify for objectively-established permit guidelines and
seasonally-determined allowances

Resumption of Commercial Whaling
Lukas Lerner & Erica Tan
Widespread controversy continues to exist regarding commercial whaling in global waters. We aim to analyze the political-economic viability of resuming whaling (of sustainably-deemed stocks) in Japan.
Background history
Past policies
New Policy/Outcomes
Whale Commodities
70 "cuts" of meat
blubber --> lamp and cooking oil
bones --> corsets, combs, carvings
teeth --> sea ivory, housewares
luxury perfumes, jewelery, trophies, fertilizer, insecticides
s Growing environmental concerns (UNCHE-Stockholm, 1972)
: Whale Moratorium (1986)
Norway/Iceland continue to whale
Japanese "Scientific Whaling" recently banned (as of 3/2014) by ICJ
Industrial whaling techniques developed and applied globally (bomb-lance, pelagic tech.)
Whaling Olympics, over-exploitation of whale stocks
formation of the International Whaling Commission (1946)
Global-Political Controversy
Effects of new policy
Private whalers should be able to whale sustainably with minimal added costs, unless the demand for allowances (and hence, whaling) exceeds sustainable stocks.

Western interests will abstain from securing permits, probably because Western demand is extremely low (taboo) but should not be ruled out in the very long term.

Non-state anti-whaling interests "should" be content that whaling will be done within sustainable standards; refocus on
conservation efforts
Competition for whaling allowances could set a price for whaling allowances. This would be an additional cost to whalers that they would only undertake if whaling to this extent is profitable (MB>MC)
majority notion of animal protection & food taboos
sensationalized by non-state (NGO) actors
moral and ethical concerns, "Super-whale"
quantity of DU/U
minority of whalers
protected by elite-government interests
cultural (imperialism) concerns
quality of DU/U

NO economic viability
"precautionary" principle
SOME economic viability
>1 million Minke whales
Other Market Failures:
time-inconsistent preferences
>Japan subsidizes/stores whale meat in hopes that demand will regenerate
information asymmetries
>science and reputability of whale catches still debated
non-competitive market
>oligopoly of whalers?

Possible Policy Outcomes
NW = non whaler
W = whaler
Anti-whaling state actors:
American government, more indirectly through interest groups

Anti-whaling non-state actors:
Groups like Greenpeace, IFAW, WWF and numerous other interests (i.e. green-washing MNC's included)
A contentious issue that current global governance and policy is ill-equipped to handle
"Special" status of whales

Permit holders will adhere to jurisdiction and scrutiny of IWC
mandated catch-reports
"strict" enforcement protocols (i.e. confiscation of whale capital, blacklist)

Long-run optimums must be consistently recalculated as better bioeconomic parameters ("science") becomes available
Controversy Cont: Utilitarianism
Killing wildlife or reducing biodiversity negatively affects utility of individuals who place a value on animal life, and not solely on products derived from that animal.

Meat, blubber...
medical/symbolic/cultural value may perhaps offset the negative utility of an animal's life or exceed positive utility of say, whale-watching.

Research Question....Do the products currently derived from whales justify their harvest?
*stamp of "legitimacy"
*unilateral defiance, possible sanctions
*probability of defiance dependent on...
On the other hand...
Cultural imperialism and/or homogenization with the aid of sensational media tactics has had negative impacts on preferences for traditional and local products (i.e. whale)
EW(b) + aNP(b)
*Probability of defying international rulings and optimal amount of whaling determined by:
a dNP(b)/db
1) Completely obeying the ban
>>(MB) Economic well-being & int'l reputation

2) Defying the ban or "scientific" whaling
>>(MC) National pride & cultural preservation
>>("a") Whaling Triangle, elite gov't interests
Full transcript