Plundered Promise: Capitalism Politics and the Fate of the Federal Lands / Edition 1

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Overview

<p>What has been done to our public lands? Irreplaceable forests harvested for lumber. Vast expanses of rangeland leased at rates far below market value. Mineral resources extracted with little or no royalties paid. These and other actions have brought unparalleled benefit to private interests-and massive costs to society at large. They are but the most visible signs of the fundamental flaws in the current system of federal lands management. In Plundered Promise, leading resource management scholar Richard W. Behan presents an engrossing history and analysis of public lands management in the United States, as he describes how we arrived at the current situation and examines what we can do to rectify it.<p>Behan begins by outlining his provocative thesis that American political and economic institutions have overshot their historic roles, and, rather than responding to public needs, have drawn society into their service. He then offers a detailed analysis of the development of the federal resource management agencies from the nation's founding through successive legislative eras, highlighting the human actors responsible for their growth and change, and showing their relationship to the evolving institutions of American politics and capitalism.<p>The author's analysis ultimately focuses on the power of federal "iron triangles," and in particular the influence of the one nonpublic institution-"the unfettered and immortal institution of the American corporation"-that he holds responsible for the ongoing devastation of the public lands. Behan stresses the urgent need for reform and presents a radical proposal for getting there: The devolution of authority over public lands to "localized constituencies," and the reining in of corporations.<p>Behan's unique combination of social criticism, institutional analysis, history, and political science is guided by a strong moral compass, with a palpable sense of outrage bolstered by rigorous scholarship. The book is must reading for anyone interested in the past or future of our public lands, or in the influence of contemporary politics and capitalism.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Behan (forestry, Northern Arizona University, emeritus) argues that American political and economic institutions have overstepped the bounds of their historic roles, resulting in the widespread exploitation of public resources for private gain. He details he history of public lands management in the U.S., and describes the basic flaws in the current system. He also proposes reforms leading to localized control of natural resources. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559638487
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 The Overture, in Theory and Practice 1
Ch. 2 The Foundations of License: The Economics and Politics of Freedom, 1788-1891 43
Ch. 3 Altering the Foundations of License, 1891-1934 77
Ch. 4 A Prelude to Overshoot: Professional Management for the Federal Lands, 1934-76 115
Ch. 5 The Economics and Politics of License: Corruption and Predation, 1976 to the Present 159
Ch. 6 Revoking the License 197
Index 229
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