With libertarian leaning political successes outside the left/right party paradigm, Keynesian end times upon us, and the nastiness of the pseudo free market BP disaster, the governing elites blame freedom, and not themselves. The NYT continues the trend, blaming the free market in Mongolia for too many (re: not centrally planned) goats over sheep. The article says that 40 million head of livestock (camels, horses, cattle, sheep, and goats) is a quadrupling of the 1990 numbers. This just ain't so.
It's not even a doubling of the grass eaters on the steppes. Furthermore, the trends under Chinese central management from 1930 through 1990 included not only more massive and less appropriate agricultural production methods (just as it was in the Soviet Union and in socialized agriculture everywhere), but led to 12% more camels, 37% more horses, 55% more cattle, and a 20% increase in goats, while sheep held steady. Furthermore, unlike the NYT assertions, goats are browsers rather than grazers, and all else being equal, are less damaging to grass than sheep. But horses (traditional) and cattle (not traditional) are both hard on pasture and less efficient food converters than sheep or goats. So much for government management "tightly controlling the size of the nation's [?] herds." The Times points out "Environmentalists and government officials agree that the two decades of unbridled privatization and a boom in cashmere exports upended the traditional mix of livestock, which had long favored sheep over goats." I'm sure they do. A more knowledgeable source explains the same situation "Mongolia is home to 43 million head of livestock, consisting mostly of goats, sheep, horses, cattle, and camels. This number has increased in recent years because Mongolia has not had a dzud for several years. (A dzud is a winter disaster that covers pastures with ice and causes mass livestock starvation.) The most recent dzuds affected Mongolia in 1996-1997, 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 — the last of which killed 13 per cent of the country’s total livestock." Well, the NYT article does report the latest dzud as "the worst winter that anyone can remember," before making predictable demands for more socialized agriculture and less liberty.