So the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association (DHPA) claims that by opening up a market for pony meat, we save them from the “tragedy of the commons.” According to DHPA, pony populations have declined from 25000 in the 1930s to less than 800 today. Ponies have been seen as common pool resource goods, meaning they have low excludability and high rivalry among consumers. As a result, no one values them as much as they should be valued. By opening up the pony market, DHPA claims, that consumers will value them more and thereby setting a price on ponies. And assuming a perfectly competitive market, it could help allocate the pony market more efficiently.
However, this is now a question, and one that many animal welfare groups like the ASPCA and other animal-lovers like some of you may be asking. Do ponies hold sentimental value? Is this an ethical market? What is the true cost that man is paying for ponies? Well, put it simply, all these questions simply fall under the same umbrella of Economics. The study of choices, the study of scarcity–limited resources but unlimited wants. That just by considering the true cost of paying for ponies, trying to efficiently allocate the pony market from its current situation as a common pool resource good, is no more different than, say, deciding when and how much to produce and when to stop.
Economics is ubiquitous. We are simply driven by our own self-interests, and that in the long run, markets tend toward equilibrium. So, when the market is allocated inefficiently, it is our responsibilities to bring it back to the efficient allocation.