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The British Whaling Trade$
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Gordon Jackson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780973007398

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780973007398.001.0001

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Chapter 14 Regulated Recklessness, 1932-1939

Chapter 14 Regulated Recklessness, 1932-1939

(p.193) Chapter 14 Regulated Recklessness, 1932-1939
The British Whaling Trade

Gordon Jackson

Liverpool University Press

The great slump of 1929-1931 may have aggravated the difficulties in the whaling trade, but it did not cause them. They sprang, rather, from a reckless investment in relatively cheap shipping which produced too much oil and killed too many whales. The ships could be laid up and the investment written off, but only slowly did it dawn upon consumers and producers alike that the whales could not be replaced. Whales are not a wasting resource like coal or mineral oil; given sensible exploitation they would reproduce themselves for ever. But exploitation was not sensible and whales were being wasted. They were slaughtered in unprecedented numbers less because the additional oil was needed, than because additional ships went out to take them; and competition that was ruinous for whalermen was equally ruinous for whales!...

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