China bans ivory imports

I have yet to read the entire news story but I saw the blurb at the head of the San Francisco Chronicle today and wanted to celebrate….sort of.

The government of China is corrupt; officials dealing in trade and commerce have always levied their positions into ones of personal profit. It would take much more than a totalitarian regime to stifle that instinct. It is, indeed, a right that comes with the job. In the old colonial days the Chinese “comprador” — a Portuguese word meaning “buyer” but actually a delicate interpretation of “middle man” became millionaires bringing together foreign and domestic business interests. Compradores were so influential that foreigners could well forget about establishing any kind of foothold in China if a generous commission wasn’t paid first.

Black markets the world over are comprador enterprises. My tuition at Loretto School was paid with U.S. dollars purchased on the black market.

What has all this to do with the ban on ivory? I may be excused for being cynical about the effectiveness of the ban because very likely the ban will give rise to the black market in the ivory trade. There are ways, so many porous ways–Thailand being one channel– that ivory will continue to enter the country. It will cost more, but hey, what’s a million more or less to the new manufacturing billionaires? Think of the snob value of owning forbidden gewgaws made of elephant teeth!

I hope I am very wrong. For the rapidly dwindling elephant population I hope so with all my heart.


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