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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11672/the-no-so-wild-wild-west/

The No So Wild, Wild West

February 15, 2010 by

The West during this time is often perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life. Our research indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected, and civil order prevailed. FULL ARTICLE by Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill


Bruce Koerber February 15, 2010 at 7:59 am

I am a big fan of Gunsmoke.

Most of the time it shows examples of the principles of classical liberalism at work.

Andras February 15, 2010 at 2:04 pm

What about indian “troubles”? They had just a different set of rules. How successfully were they integrated during this transition period? When was the cavalry called in?

Mordy Oberstein February 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

You may also want to check out Iceland who has a history of anarcho-capitalism as well

Elwood P. Dowd February 16, 2010 at 1:13 am

Very interesting. I find the discussion of Schelling points particularly provocative. Is it possible that with several generations of Americans raised without the need for finding agreement with their neighbors; because it has been easier to appeal to the coercive power of central government; that there is no possibility of a Schelling Point anymore?

TokyoTom February 16, 2010 at 1:24 am

Word to the wary: those of you encountering Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill or the first time might not be aware they are stalwarts of “Free-Market” Environmentalism – IOW, they are also evil greenies like me.

I first met Terry in the early 80s. He runs PERC – the Property and Environment Research Center, which John Baden founded in Bozeman, Montana in the 1970s, and which has been very productive in finding ways for individuals, communities, firms and interest groups to work together to address environmental concerns about “common” resources – despite hurdles imposed by government ownership and regulation of resources.

PERC, Anderson, Baden and Hill have all been discussed in my blog previously; see:





TokyoTom February 16, 2010 at 1:26 am

I note that my review of an ethno-centric analysis by P.J. Hill on the near-extirpation of the bison was negative (it was my first blogged discussion of Avatar-type problems):


Michael A. Clem February 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Nice. It doesn’t completely vindicate anarcho-capitalism, but neither does it vindicate the state.

Justin DeWind February 17, 2010 at 6:04 am

It does not surprise me that not all disputes or conflicts could be resolved via arbitration. The example at the end (Warring Shelby County) illustrates, like in business, that sometimes things just do *not* work out.

It begs the question whether we should treat failing businesses same way we would treat a failing community. When a business fails it is liquidated and shareholders are dealt the losses.

For a community, it means that they must either (A resolve their differences B) Kill each other. If they kill each other it leads to the eventual ‘liquidation’ of the populace, which is eventually replaced by another.

I personally feel that greater loss of life occurs when coercive government exists. And as such, situations like Shelby County are an unfortunate part of the evolution of human society. Which government is ill-equipped to solve.

mpolzkill February 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

Ha! All we hear is Justin DeWind.

I’d never heard that one before, good one (I hope. Personal all-time faves: Howie Feltersnach and Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian dAntonio).

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