Back in 2005, well before she would bring the Fogo Island Inn to her hometown in Newfoundland, Zita Cobb was staying in nearby Stag Harbour. There was no Internet, but her New York Times subscription went a long way, as it was passed along to neighbour after neighbour. Soon, the Sunday edition reached Amos, who was captivated by the inside front page advertisement for designer purses. “Can you explain to me why I can’t get 49 cents for a pound of wild codfish and people are paying $5,000 for a handbag? Do we have to turn fish into a positional good?” Cobb recalls Amos asking. “That’s exactly what we have to do,” Cobb answered.

What Amos the fisherman was essentially asking was, Why is a fish just something you eat while a purse is a…

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