Runaway game prices – an economic bubblewith major conservation risks?
There has been a lot of press coverage recently about the investment potential of game animals, especially disease-free buffalo of East African origin, sable antelope, roan antelope and Livingstone’s eland. Articles like the one in the FM of 16 August 2013, where game industry participants are quoted as saying: “There will be market fluctuations and prices will go up and down, but the bubble will never burst.” and “The rise in prices is more than sustainable.” and “Annual returns on investment of 80% or more are feasible on top breeding animals.” place this industry fairly and squarely within the bubble definition.
Sir Isaac Newton’s quote: “What goes up must go down” has been in common use in the financial investment field for many years. It is equally applicable to any other investment where there have been price increases of the magnitude of the game industry’s. Like religion is based (taking a simplistic view) on the struggle between good and evil, markets operate against the background struggle of greed and fear. When greed is in the ascendancy, you have a bull market; when fear triumphs, you have a bear market. When high returns are stressed, stimulating greed, and risks are glossed over, reducing fear, you create an imbalance and thereby fertile ground for an economic bubble.