Somewhere Over the Rainbow!

8 July 2011 at 11:48 am 2 comments

| Peter Lewin |

I am envious. My brother in law and my nephew are in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. He is sending short reports via his Blackberry. His descriptions are graphic — he is awe-struck. Sounds incredible, beyond imagination — to those of us veteran Africans used to having to search hard for game on our game park safaris. In the Serengeti there is game in exaggerated profusion. Lions, leopards, and cheetah virtually next to each other. Huge migrations of herds, hundreds of thousands strong. A trip for a lifetime. I should live so long.

It seems clear that this wonder of nature (a giant crater-bubble full of wild life) would not exist in the absence of the revenue from international tourism. Though government managed, it is subject to vigorous competition from other game parks in that part of Africa. The area is the traditional homeland of the legendary Masai tribe, who have a cattle-based economy. Population growth, technological change, and the pace of modernity threatened to destroy their world. Now they seem to be flourishing. The Masai have turned out to be successful entrepreneurs! I wonder if this is an instance of Ostrom’s successful local initiatives.

More generally, the preservation of wild-life in Africa has turned on the successful management of a plethora of wild-life game parks (many of them quite small relatively speaking), some having the status of super luxury hotels. There is an irony in there somewhere. (I wonder what it is like to have to manage a wild-life park as a business firm).

Of course most of the environmentalists never tell you about the preservation successes of market competition.

Entry filed under: Corporate Governance, Cultural Conservatism, Entrepreneurship, Former Guest Bloggers. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. African Entrepreneurship « entrepreneurship@McQuinn  |  8 July 2011 at 12:10 pm

    […] Peter Lewin, guest blogging at Organizations and Markets, notes the rise of tourism entrepreneurship (touripreneurship?) among the Masai people of Tanzania. Entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa is a fascinating subject (follow the Timbuktu Chronicles blog to keep up). There’s even some academic research on Masai entrepreneurship. Karol Boudreaux and Paul Dragos Aligica’s 2007 book Paths to Property: Approaches to Institutional Change in International Development has some useful information, as does Boudreaux and Jutta Tobias’s 2009 paper “The Role of Entrepreneurship in Conflict Reduction in the Post-Genocide Rwandan Coffee Industry: Quantitative Evidence from a Field Study.” Obviously this is an important area for future entrepreneurship research. […]

  • 2. Entrepreneurship in Africa « Organizations and Markets  |  6 August 2011 at 10:01 am

    […] by Peter Lewin’s recent post on the beauty of Africa, I decided to hop on a plane to Peter’s native South Africa. I haven’t been to a […]

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