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Re: JVP, SVP...too many 'VP's...

On Fri, 26 May 2000 Buckaroobwana@aol.com wrote:

> Greetings,
> Kudos for standing up against socialism. More private collectors means less 
> fossils erode. We need to find a way for capitalism to work for paleontology, 
> because socialism never works and it never will...end of rant

Please learn to distinguish between the concept of "amateur collector",
and the concept of "commercial collector".  They are not the same, and I
argue that they are usually not even in the same ballpark.

Most professional paleontologists encourage amateur participation in the
science (provided that the activity is legally conducted), because it
means more fossils (and often more importantly, new fossil *sites*) for
museums. Most fossil transactions between amateur collectors and museums
do not involve an exchange of money.  Most amateurs understand the
intangible scientific value of "good" finds, and they are happy to part
with important specimens (and the associated information) with little
expected in return (well, maybe a "thank you" would be nice). The
unfortunate capitalistic 3-ring circuses like "Sue" and "Banbiraptor" are
extremely rare, and hopefully will stay that way.

Commercial collectors live by a different paradigm: profit first and
science a (generally) close second.  They serve an important role in
paleontology, but they are fundamentally a different animal than is
amateur participation. 

Regarding socialism....  Socialism works best in countries where a
pathologic paranoia of people-elected government isn't epidemic.  That
rules out the U.S. for at least the next couple of centuries.  But we can
always hope. 

"Gentlemen!  You can't fight in here!  This is the War Room!"
(from Dr. Strangelove)