The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier

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Stanford University Press, 2004 - Business & Economics - 263 pages
5 Reviews
Mention of the American West usually evokes images of rough and tumble cowboys, ranchers, and outlaws. In contrast, The Not So Wild, Wild West casts America's frontier history in a new framework that emphasizes the creation of institutions, both formal and informal, that facilitated cooperation rather than conflict. Rather than describing the frontier as a place where heroes met villains, this book argues that everyday people helped carve out legal institutions that tamed the West.

The authors emphasize that ownership of resources evolves as those resources become more valuable or as establishing property rights becomes less costly. Rules evolving at the local level will be more effective because local people have a greater stake in the outcome. This theory is brought to life in the colorful history of Indians, fur trappers, buffalo hunters, cattle drovers, homesteaders, and miners. The book concludes with a chapter that takes lessons from the American frontier and applies them to our modern "frontiers"—the environment, developing countries, and space exploration.

  

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Review: The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier

User Review  - Paul S Vigil - Goodreads

I thought it was a fun read...especially since I was able to meet the author and he sat in on a class for us. Read full review

Review: The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier

User Review  - msdanconia - Goodreads

Preconceptions about the Wild, Wild West will not survive this book. Anderson and Hill debunk the popular thesis that the Old West was a place of anarchy and lawlessness before the entry of government ... Read full review

Contents

Heroes Villains and Real Cowboys
1
The Institutions That Tamed the West
9
Property Rights in Indian Country
34
Might Takes Rights in Indian Country
53
Traders Trappers and Hunters
77
Theres Property Rights in Them Thar Hills
104
WagonTrain Governments
120
Cowboys and Contracts
138
Home on the Range
159
Making the Desert Bloom
177
New Frontiers
201
Notes
213
Bibliography
237
Index
251
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About the author (2004)

Terry L. Anderson is Executive Director of PERC, the Center for Free Market Environmentalism; Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; and Professor Emeritus at Montana State University. He has published 28 books. P. J. Hill is Professor of Economics at Wheaton College, Illinois, and a PERC Senior Associate. This is his eleventh book.

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