China is to ban ivory trading! It’s a huge step towards the end of elephant poaching. But it’s more – it’s an endorsement of Lord Renfrew’s mantra: “collectors are the real looters” and a recognition that demand and supply are the same force. Most people accept that but those with vested interests in denying it do so. Thus, US antiquities dealer Dave Welsh says the Renfrew hypothesis is “an unproven assumption“. Well, it won’t be soon for in three years Earth will have loads more elephants, thereby demonstrating Renfrew was right.
Of course, that begs the British question: how come that in his own country Renfrew’s rule is acknowledged to apply to elephants but not to recordable artefacts? Why is it legal in Britain to acquire or sell recently dug-up but unreported antiquities when everyone except those with a vested interest can see it damages the common interest?