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High Country News September 12, 1988

The Reopening of the Western Frontier, Part 1


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The reopening of the Western Frontier

Thanks to a mixture of geography, climate and natural resources, the rural West became the domain of a particular way of life that has lasted for 100 years. But today its economies are in retreat, and the Western frontier is reopening.

The rural West: An artifact of the 19th century

This essay examines the blend of economic and social defenses that has kept the West on its own track for the past century.

Good fences make good calluses

To an economist, this is a subversive piece because it talks about the meaning of work, rather than about the price of labor and material.

The rural West is actually very urban

The West is empty, but it's not rural. In fact, it is the most urban of all regions, with most of its population living in a few large metropolitan areas.

During the boom, Idaho succumbed to good sense

Lest you think that the entire West succumbed to the hypnotic beat of boom, boom, boom, here is an account of how the conservative state of Idaho behaved conservatively -- resisting the lure of a coal-fired power plant that was to carry the state to the land of milk and honey.

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