China state-contingent markets in everything

by on February 2, 2011 at 4:32 am in Economics | Permalink


China stopped handing them out to foreign dignitaries 30 years ago, having spotted their potential as currency earners. These days all pandas are leased out, typically for 10 years at a time. The standard fee paid by the four US zoos that hold pandas – Memphis, San Diego, Zoo Atlanta and the National Zoo in Washington DC – has been $1 million a year for each pair, plus roughly the same again in sponsorship for panda research and conservation projects, plus an annual premium of $600,000 if the pandas mate and produce cubs (only the Memphis pandas have failed on this score)…

The article is here and hat tip goes to The Browser.

1 Owen February 2, 2011 at 12:48 am

For a great look at the pandas as gifts time, check out "The Pandas of Doom" at
The Cultural Revolution view of the pandas is really amazing.

2 S. O. February 2, 2011 at 1:13 am

Well done! Turn public goods into private goods – by far the best animal conservation (as with elephants etc).

3 Rahul February 2, 2011 at 3:35 am

Sometimes peoples ideas of happy life of the wilderness are very similar to the images of idyllic pastoral life of the past. Or Gandhi's glorifying the "simple" life of the village.

4 Indy February 2, 2011 at 5:45 am

What's awful about San Diego is that you pay your exorbitant entrance fee and then you get to the famous Pandas and they tell you "Sorry, it's their day off". "Day off? WTF?" "Yeah, they can get overexposed." "It might help if you put that bit of information on your website or by the main gate ticket counters, or offered a "no pandas today, sorry" discount.

Sure they con ya, but they've got to raise that $3K per panda-day somehow.

5 msgkings February 2, 2011 at 7:38 am

And, the thread is now completed. Yancey Ward wins.

6 msgkings February 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

And, the thread is now completed. Yancey Ward wins.

7 Ann February 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm

"This would never go on with people so it shoudn't go on with pandas."

Are you serious? China began selling its surplus babies years ago. And, as Barbara points out regarding the pandas, selling has meant that the babies "have the chance to have longer and fuller lives". China finally recognized that those 'dying rooms' were destroying valuable inventory.

8 Ann February 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Sadly, it's better than the alternative.

9 Bill Jones February 3, 2011 at 6:45 am

Descartes : By definition Capitalism doesn't mean "total consumerism" The core of capitalism is conservation. If you you do not conserve your income you cannot accumulate capital. Capitalism recognizes that there is a trade off between current consumption and capital accumulation.

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