Two centuries ago there were more buffalo than cattle in the United States. Even though millions of cattle are killed for beef consumption each year, the catttle population continues to grow while the buffalo are virtually extinct. why?
Explain in economic's term.
Becuase of market demand
In economic terms, the disparity between the population growth of cattle and the near extinction of buffalo can be attributed to various factors, including the concepts of supply and demand, market incentives, and the cost of production.
1. Supply and demand: Cattle and buffalo are both sources of beef, but their populations are driven by different factors of supply and demand. Cattle are primarily bred and raised for commercial purposes, responding to market demand for beef products. The supply of cattle has increased over time as ranchers and farmers have invested in breeding and raising them to meet this demand. However, buffalo populations have not been as actively managed for commercial purposes, resulting in a decline in their numbers.
2. Market incentives: Economic incentives play a crucial role in influencing the decisions made by producers. Cattle farming has been found to be more economically rewarding compared to buffalo ranching. This is largely due to factors such as established markets, infrastructure, and consumer preferences. The beef industry has developed extensive distribution networks, processing facilities, and consumer demand for specific beef products, allowing for greater profitability in cattle farming. On the other hand, the market for buffalo products has been comparatively smaller and less developed, offering fewer economic incentives for ranchers to invest in buffalo farming.
3. Cost of production: The cost of producing cattle versus buffalo also plays a significant role in their respective populations. Cattle have been selectively bred for generations to optimize their productivity, including traits like faster growth rates and higher meat yields. This breeding has resulted in more efficient cattle production systems, making it easier and more cost-effective to raise cattle as compared to buffalo. Additionally, due to their domestication, cattle have adapted to various climatic conditions and can be easily managed, whereas buffalo require more specialized care and are not as easily domesticated.
In summary, the growth of the cattle population and the decline of buffalo can be explained through economic factors such as supply and demand, market incentives, and the cost of production. The beef industry's well-developed market, economic incentives for cattle farming, and the efficiency of cattle production systems have contributed to the continued growth of the cattle population, while buffalo populations have declined due to a lack of similar market development and economic incentives for ranchers.