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On the Problem of Dependent People: hyperbolic discounting in Atlantic Canadian island jurisdictions

Funk, Matt (2007): On the Problem of Dependent People: hyperbolic discounting in Atlantic Canadian island jurisdictions.

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Prince Edward Island's Economics, Statistics and Federal Fiscal Relations Division's 33rd Annual Statistical Review reports the total value of 2006 fish landings was CAD $166.6 MM. This paper discloses a preliminary finding that the actual total value of fish landings for 2006 was approximately CAD 416.5 MM. Furthermore, this discourse submits that this entrenched systemic error has been consistently generated for all 33 years that the Annual Statistical Review has been published. Moreover, this systemic error creates a ripple-effect and promotes bias through all relative natural resource valuations. This significant conjecture is presented within an institutional context which serves as the foundation for this error generation, including other errors associated with The Problem of Induction and The Tragedy of the Commons. Within this broad context, this paper focuses upon deficient resource valuation methods, especially as they relate to dependency and valuation errors. Our analysis contrasts the failure of fishery management amongst dependent Canadian islanders,and the relative success of fishery management amongst independent Icelandic islanders. The possibilities that independent people enjoy higher levels of rationality, efficiency, happiness, economic sustainability, Darwinian fitness, resource holding power, and, are thus, ceteris paribus, less likely to commit errors associated with The Problem of Induction are taken into consideration. Likewise, consideration is given to the notion that dependent people are more likely to exhibit irrational behaviour, develop deeper dependencies, and to contribute to a wide array of maladaptive behaviours, such as those which exacerbate The Tragedy of the Commons.

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