By Mark Weisbrot, National Review, November 21, 2019″What’s the real reason that America’s timber industry has collapsed in the last decade?
Why hasn’t it taken off?” asks former U.K. Prime Minister John Major, the former head of the world’s largest timber companies, when he addresses a U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen later this month.
Major is the former British prime minister who, while leading the UK into the Iraq war, was also the man responsible for Britain’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, which led to the deaths of over 2,000 Iraqis.
The U.R.O.C. has compiled the following comprehensive list of the most important stories of the global timber industry from the U.H.G.C., the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations World Resources Institute.
(We are including the most significant companies from the WTO and the World Resources Initiative here for historical perspective.)
Weisbroth’s “story” begins with a story about the first world war.
After the war, Major and the rest of the British government were told they needed to “stop burning” and “buy” timber.
This was the “buy the wood” policy, and it worked.
The U.B.C.’s timber exports rose to nearly $1 billion in the late 1920s, and by the early 1930s Britain was the largest timber producer in the world.
By the early 1940s, however, the British had begun to suffer from a devastating epidemic of tuberculosis, the most common and deadly form of the disease in the developed world.
This, in turn, led to a sudden drop in British exports of timber, from $1.7 billion in 1936 to just $2.4 billion in 1943.
By 1944, the government’s inability to pay its timber bill meant that Britain’s timber producers had to sell to the U