Saturday, August 17, 2013

Quote of the Week

"Scientific forestry was originally developed from about 1765 to 1800, largely in Prussia and Saxony. Eventually, it would become the basis of forest management techniques in France, England, and the United States and throughout the Third World. Its emergence cannot be understood outside the larger context of the centralized state-making initiatives of the period. In fact, the new forestry science was a subdiscipline of what was called cameral science, an effort to reduce the fiscal management of a kingdom to scientific principles that would allow systemic planning. Traditional domainal forestry had hitherto simply divided the forest into roughly equal plots, with the number of plots coinciding with the number of years in the assumed growth cycle. One plot was cut each year on the assumption of equal yields (and value) from plots of equal size. Because of poor maps, the uneven distribution of the most valuable large trees (Hochwald), and very approximate cordwood (Bruststaerke) measures, the results were unsatisfactory for fiscal planning."
That's from Seeing Like A State by James C. Scott. It's a fantastic analytical history of the terrible damage caused by central planning initiatives throughout the twentieth century.

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