May 16, 2014 3:00 pm - May 16, 2014 4:30 pm
Where: Cramer Hall 250 at PSU
Speaker: Mitch Green
Topic: Of Railroads & Finance: The Making of Market Society in the Pacific Northwest
Mitch Green was an honors economics student at PSU and is currently finishing a Ph.D. at UMKC. Join us for his seminar presentation "Of Railroads & Finance: The Making of Market Society in the Pacific Northwest"
Economic systems are peculiar to time and place. They are embedded within an institutional fabric. Consequently, it is appropriate to think of them in the general sense as systems of social provisioning. Mitch Green is interested in how the provisioning process in the Pacific Northwest undergoes qualitative change with the rise of market-based activity. More specifically, he examines how the development of the 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, Green uses the river as his entry point in a framework of analysis that seeks to trace out the many relations that account for such radical change.