Pure Poison

Megan McArdle on Alex Tabarrok on agricultural terrorism:

There are forms of extortion, and terrorism, that are shockingly easy to get away with, shockingly effective–and yet, shockingly rare. For example, it’s very easy to wreak considerable agricultural damage undetected, as Alex Tabarrok notes:

Single bottles of wine from La Romanée-Conti, the legendary vineyard of Burgundy, sell for upwards of $10,000. In 2010 the owner received a threat, the vineyard would be poisoned unless the owner paid one million euro. When the owner didn’t pay a map was delivered that identified several vines that had already been poisoned by drill and syringe. The French don’t want to talk about this and for good reason, agricultural extortion is very easy and they fear copycats.

. . . Of course, a terrorist doesn’t even have to collect damages to succeed-just a bit of mad cow or corn rust and we are in trouble (and those aren’t even the biggest threats.)

I worry that this one of those dangers that is so threatening we are afraid to worry about it.

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