Amber Waves of Grain
By Amy Willis
If you’ve started playing a drinking game for every time EconTalk host RussRoberts has said the word “prairie” in recent episodes, this week’s conversation with Pete Geddes of the American Prairie Reserve is sure to top your favorites list!
What are your thoughts on this attempt to re-create a prairie? Please respond to the prompts below.
1. The role of incentives in conservation is a dominant theme throughout the conversation, and Geddes notes early on that part of his objective is to “flip” the incentives of the ranchers surrounding the reserve. What do you think of his proposals for doing so? What additional incentive modifications would you suggest?
2. Geddes stresses that the “problem” the American Prairie Reserve is trying to fix is a sociological, not an economic, one. What does he mean by this? How is his organization trying to solve the problem.
3. Long-time listeners have had the opportunity to get to know more and more about Russ Roberts. We know he loves Broadway musicals, baseball, and national parks as emphasized in this week’s episode. To what extent do you think Roberts romanticizes such things? Is there a problem with romanticizing as such or is it a good thing?
4. Some might wonder what prairies have to do with economics. But this week’s episode contains an elegant example of a classic insight from a great economist and past EconTalk guest. What is that insight and who is that economist?