Fish Catches – Polynesians were smarter than today US Hawaiians

Polynesians were smarter than today US Hawaiians. What looks like a bold statement and is of course too generalised has some truth in it as far as fishing is concerned. In ancient times, fish catch dictated how many people the islands could sustain and was therefore highly regulated. A very sophisticated quota and hatching system guaranteed that no fish species would be overexploited and maximised the yields. A system so efficient that it provided 3-4 times the amount of fish that is thought to be sustainable today.

ON-green-policy. So what is the link of that inspiring news to policy? Well, from my perspectives it provides a hint that the state has an important duty in setting up some rules that limit individuals benefit seeking but improves living conditions for the society. Fish catches are one obvious example; another modern time example is emission targets. Reducing emissions for an industry may not be interesting for individual owners who may live far away from polluted areas and enjoy higher profits. However the society as a whole is clearly better off, if emissions are controlled. As in old Hawaii, such rules must be controlled and offenders must be punished to maximise societal instead of individual benefit and that exactly is a job that only a central government and thus policy can get done.

Source: New Scientist

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