Thursday, July 22, 2010
Sounds suspiciously like Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, but also quite interesting.
The story told in Fur, Fortune, and Empire could be viewed as a compelling historical case study in why governments must regulate (assuming another such case study is needed after Wall Street’s terrifying shenanigans and BP’s oily behavior). For all its broad geographic and geopolitical scope, the fur trade was essentially what is known today as a “special interest,” accounting in 1833 for less than 2 percent of America’s exports. It was an extractive operation run by plutocrats like Astor who trafficked in a nonessential, luxury product by taking a resource that is seen today, at least, as belonging to society as a whole. But unfortunately Dolin declines to go there.