Back in September, 2006, we were talking illegal immigrants and artisanal shipbuilding in West Africa, over at the Fistful.
one of the curious economic details you could notice was how the process was in fact exhibiting an increasing returns type feature, in that the increased demand for boats increasingly meant that a number of would-be migrants were actually not sailing but staying since they could make a reasonable living in the newly developing artisanal shipyard industry, with the consequence that more boats were being built as knowledge and experience (human capital) was being accumulated…
One other interesting detail is that the level of workmanship seemed good. They even use, as I say, 1980s style Volvo teams rather than Adam Smith like pin production lines.
As it happened, the crisis passed, and the big attractor – the Spanish housing bubble – collapsed not long afterwards. So, I was wondering what had become of that sudden industry churning out huge versions of traditional boat designs. After all, there is more than one use for a boat in the black economy.
And you know what? I’ve no idea. As far as I can make out, that particular route lost salience during 2007, almost certainly because of the macroeconomic crisis rather than the arrival of EU FRONTEX assistance. With that, it’s passed completely out of the news environment. I couldn’t find anything useful in the way of statistics either; Eurostat is just what you’d expect from someone’s dentist,
So, are there thousands of wooden vessels abandoned on the beaches? Does anyone know? (I’d like this post to grow if possible.)