Open thread

I’ve just returned from a trip away, and am moving house tomorrow, so apologies for the brief blog hiatus. In the meantime, here’s an open thread – do with it as you will.

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7 Responses to Open thread

  1. Trevor H says:

    Hi, just discovered this website (by accident) while surfing the web for regional development and public policy blogs.

    I hope you did not mind me subscribing. I am half way through my Masters in Regional Development Policy (distance ed.) through the University of Tasmania and decided your blog was of infinitre value to me.


  2. Alistair says:

    Open thread – awesome…..

    What is everyones favourite SAT 1 tip?

    I have become a nerdy Mc Nerd Nerd, Agggh, so scary….


  3. David P says:

    Not many comments, so I’ll add one.

    I like to play the guitar, and I recently bought a new Maton EM325C. The little booklet that came with it talked about the various woods Maton uses, including some rainforest timbers that are highly sought after for instruments, and which apparently can be 600+ years old. Not surprisingly, Maton is a keen user of alternatives, especially Australian timbers.

    Anyway, this is a round-about way of wondering out loud about how an industry with a 600+ year lead time could ever get off the ground? Obviously, at present it isn’t one, as it relies on cutting down existing timbers. Could there ever be a plantation system for timbers of this age?

    Most of the visitors here seem to be economists, so how would this work, if it could work at all? I just can’t imagine this kind of lead time working in a market system. Perhaps I should have asked this over at Catallaxy; they seem to have a market answer for everything.

  4. SR says:


    In a free market, such an industry would never get off the ground because we all live less than 600 years, and would never* value anything that we would not directly experience.
    Hence, for such an industry to work, there would need to be economic control – i.e government policy/legislation

    The same argument applies to long term environmental degradation. The negative effects of pollution (eg. global warming) do not noticeably affect us in our lifetime, they have a greater negative effect after a few generations. Hence in a free market, we do not value curbing pollution. As before, we have to decide as a society what we want for future generations, and create a mechanism to allow for this.

  5. cba says:

    SR – ?

    given we already have an endowment of 600+ yr old timber, which would have virtually unlimited value if we were down to the last acre of it, wouldn’t this create sufficient incentive to conserve 550 yr old timber, and in turn 500 yr old timber etc etc. Now, I’m not claiming we would get socially optimal conservation, but I can’t see basic supply and demand failing us because trees live longer than humans (so does land, housing, art work etc, which we have no problem finding a market for). Anyway, as far as markets for such timber go, I’m sure parcels of land containing such tree are traded and that P600 > P60, but probably not by much. Of course, both P60 and P600 are less than infinity, which presumably dismays most environmentalists.

  6. wilful says:

    This is apocryphal, but when they were building one of the first colleges of Oxford in the 13th century, they also planted oak trees for the maintenance and eventual rebuilding of the college. These trees were welcomed in the 17th century when decent quantities of oaks were running out. What foresight! Can you imagine people planning for that>? But they weren’t replanted once more.

    Slightly closer to home, the native timber industry (on public land) operates on 80 to 120 year rotations, in the belief and expectation that there will still be foresters out there and a need for this product. Only government (read society) can plan in this manner though.

  7. Verdurous says:

    Andrew you’re famous – again. I noticed that this blog is (indirectly) referred to in the SMH article here:

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