Montana - a Modern Day Paradigm for Collapse?

Energy and Environment, Vol.16, No. 3&4, pp. 493-512, 2005

21 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2005

See all articles by Kendra C. Okonski

Kendra C. Okonski

International Policy Network - Europe


In Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond suggests that the US state of Montana is a modern paradigm for his theory of ecocide, where a society's failure to recognise environmental degradation ultimately leads to its demise. However, Diamond's analysis of Montana is factually flawed and lacks a historical understanding of institutions and incentives which have both caused problems and resolved conflicting ideas about how natural resources such as water, forests and minerals, should be managed. Montana is actually a modern paradigm for why the changing preferences and values of any society are best accommodated by institutions that enable values to be expressed through voluntary decision-making rather than through the political process.

Keywords: Jared Diamond, Collapse, society, preferences, values, property rights, Montana, water, forests, minerals, mines, voluntary, institutions, environment

Suggested Citation

Okonski, Kendra C., Montana - a Modern Day Paradigm for Collapse?. Energy and Environment, Vol.16, No. 3&4, pp. 493-512, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Kendra C. Okonski (Contact Author)

International Policy Network - Europe ( email )

London SW1P 3YB
United Kingdom
+4420 7836 0750 (Phone)


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