The economics of crime

Reminds me of one of the great lines in cinema: Cary Grant’s “I must remember to yell ‘timber’, occassionally”, from To Catch a Thief.

An excellent post over at Environmental Economics, about this story:

Across the country, trees are disappearing in cases that are often small in scale but largely unsettling, probably prompted by the rise in timber value and the increase in worldwide demand for American hardwood — particularly from builders in Europe and China. The total value of the American log export market has more than doubled since 2000, industry experts said, and it continues to grow.

In the United States, forests are not being illegally logged on a systemic scale, … Here, the issue is often scattered and intimate, and often affects homeowners, parks and public forests.

A couple of years ago it was gangs stealing the rail lines in Italy, to sell the copper (and let’s not forget those thefts of bronze sculptures – not to mention bronze plaques and, believe it or not, footpaths!).

Bizarrely, a lot of it seems to be neighbours stealing timber from neighbours – which is just messed up. The joy of the post is John Whitehead’s suggested efficient fine.


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