Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Of railroads and finance: The making of market society in the Pacific Northwest

Green, Mitchell R. (2014): Of railroads and finance: The making of market society in the Pacific Northwest.

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This paper examines how the development of railroads in the region established enduring ties with financiers on the East coast and Europe, and how these ties facilitated the exercise of power for certain individuals central in their respective social networks. These men of railroads and finance acted in an institutional capacity to transform the region we now understand as the Pacific Northwest so that it was conducive to the generation of financial flows in the machine age. In doing so, they set in motion a process of cumulative development that would render the old provisioning process unviable. That is, the non-market provisioning process embedded in the complex of tribal social relations was destroyed and the peoples who flourished within it were displaced. However, the two systems shared a common thread: each bore some direct relationship with the Columbia River Basin. Hence, I use the river as my entry point in a framework of analysis that seeks to trace out the many relations that account for such radical change.

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