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Essay on The Economics of Human Exploration and Migration

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The Economics of Human Exploration and Migration


Somewhere between insatiable curiosity and voracious appetite for the accumulation of wealth lies the motivation for human travel. These two goalposts through which every explorer, merchant and conquistador to roam this planet sailed do not paint the idealized portrait of natural human character, but they nonetheless do accurately depict the aims of those ambitious enough to change the world and therefore merit a place in the halls of history. Even those forgotten travelers, the Irish immigrants fleeing famine in the nineteenth century, for example, traveled in search of riches, or at least wealth greater than they could find at home. Again, through the economics of profit, and quite accidentally, capitalism shows its underappreciated head. Just a curiosity killed the cat; however, the covetous person is always in want. Beyond the moral imperatives present in such a saying, lies the hidden and likely unintentional implication that other, less-obvisous consequences result from the oldest and most-American of pursuits.

Discussing the entire history of human transportation within the confines of this brief paper would be, to say the least, a hairy undertaking, so the focus here will resonate on a single individual and the potential unforseen consequences of his and his agents' perfectly intentional actions. In addition, it is far easier, more sensible, and productive, to examine a figure from the relatively distant past. So to begin with, take the case of John Jacob Astor, who died in 1848 as one of America's outstanding foreign merchants ' . Born in Germany, by the time he reached twenty, Astor had already traveled throughout Western Europe and to New York City when he began ...


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...al scale, as motivated by the drive for more and more money, is sure to have a great many effects on genetic and locational diversity of a species. What cannot be assured nor even truly judged is the magnitude and degree to which these introductions affect a given environment, as the examples of the rabbit and cane toad intentionally brought in to Australia so much more clearly show. The best option is to simply not meddle, as ecosystems have a way of sorting themselves out quite effectively. The one problem with this "best option" is obvious: it requires an end to rapid transportation and would stiffle economic development across the world.


Sources

1 Wu Leung, et.al., Part I. Proximate Composition Mineral and Vitamin Contents of East Asian Foods, (FAO & U.S. Dept. HEW: 1972).

2 Kenneth Wiggins Porter, John Jacob Astor, Business Man, (Cambridge, MA 1931).


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