Whale democracy

The moment voting is done by blocks of states, regardless of population size, of intensity of support or opposition, and of property rights, then there is a tendency for the worst decision-making to occur.

The International Whaling Commission allows any country, whose government levies the taxes (or borrows) to pay a subscription, an equal vote to decide whether the hunting of whales should be permitted, and if so, how much.

For years the animal lovers have successfully bullied and bribed their way: offering inducements and partial expemtions for eskimos and "scientific research" in exchange for a "commercial whaling" ban. One country, Norway, has refused to play ball and two other, Japan and Iceland, have managed to get whale meat caught for "scientific purposes" to end up on the dinner table.

It was only a matter of time before scarcity drove the price up, making whale meat an exotic luxury, so that the consumers have now bullied and bribed their own way to getting the votes overturned, if not this year, then surely in the near future. [Report in French here]

Watch out for votes coming from those countries where whaling is such a way of life: Rwanda, Burundi, Chad, Bhutan, Nepal, Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia.

Also watch out for some sour grapes as environmentalists complain that some governments vote for reasons other than animal welfare or hunters' rights.

It's the same problem in the Eurovision Song Contest, and the European Union generally.