Astute collectors however recognize that the ruling does not lessen the scale of destruction and the resulting loss of knowledge that is taking place in Eastern European countries like Bulgaria. One collector remarked:
"This change may be a victory for collectors, but I don't see that it has any impact on the looting problem.
It seems that Bulgarian collectors will be able to keep and 'legitimize' their collections (which in turn may then be eligible for legal export and sale?). But the provenance will be 'so-and-so's collection' as opposed to anything useful....
Of course, I would love to see a PAS-type system there [Bulgaria] in the future, but the first priority with a dying patient is to stop the bleeding."
Many collectors like this one realize that large scale demand and unconcerned attitudes in the acquisition of objects for resale drive the loss of knowledge caused by looting. After all, the U.S. is a market nation which imports looted material from countries like Bulgaria by the ton. Even in collector magazines, collectors have written editorials begging that something be done and proposing ways that collectors and dealers might address how market activities contribute to the problems and work on remedies. But these individuals, their concerns, and their ideas are often dismissed or ignored.
Why is the commercial lobby, which claims to be "anti-looting," unwilling to acknowledge or address the problem and the way that the current market structure contributes to it? If, as its titulature suggests, it caters to a collector interest, why are the concerns of conscientious collectors not being addressed?
I suggest that the archaeological community ought to distinguish better between collector and commercial. It ought to embrace that element which acquires objects out of a passion for history and a love of learning. The consumers are concerned and, if they feel empowered to do so, can be agents of proactive change. Others are content with a detrimental status quo.