The ‘Culture’ Versus ‘Economic Development’ Dichotomy in Indian Country

48 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2010

See all articles by Robert J. Miller

Robert J. Miller

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: April 8, 2010


American Indian communities are the poorest in the United States. They suffer from poverty, unemployment, and inadequate housing rates not seen elsewhere in the U.S. Yet any discussion of economic development in Indian Country is always conditioned and constrained by concerns about possible damage to historic cultural aspects arising from business development and capitalism. In fact, "capitalism" is almost a swear word to many Indians. This issue is approached from a novel angle in these two chapters excerpted from a book that is still being written. Chapter two lays out new ideas about the free-market entrepreneurship and private business and property rights that Native American cultures developed and protected over centuries. Chapter nine discusses the possible cultural changes that can arise from reservation economic development, whether they will be beneficial or negative, and whether tribal governments and communities have a choice not to pursue development and basic prosperity.

Keywords: Indian economic development, culture and economic development, reservation economic development, views of capitalism

JEL Classification: B10, A20, A2, I31, J15, N00, P16, P51, Z1

Suggested Citation

Miller, Robert J., The ‘Culture’ Versus ‘Economic Development’ Dichotomy in Indian Country (April 8, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Robert J. Miller (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
4809654085 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics