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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10040) 12 years ago
It would be interesting to see a similar analysis of other western states - Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas - and see how they would stack up.


"Was the Alaska Purchase a Good Deal?"
David Barker / Email: david-barker @ uiowa.edu
University of Iowa
August 10, 2009

Abstract
The purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, ridiculed in 1867 as "Seward's Folly," is now viewed as a shrewd business deal. A purely financial analysis of the transaction, however, shows that the price was greater than the net present value of cash flow from Alaska to the federal government from 1867 to 2007. Possible non-financial benefits of the Alaska purchase are also examined. . . .

Continued at:

http://news-releases.uiow...Alaska.pdf
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[This message has been edited by Hal Neumann (11/7/2009)]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15082) 12 years ago
With a assessed value of 5.4 billion in 2008, Campbell County Wyoming sure seems like a good deal. The entire Louisiana purchase cost 15 million.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...a_Purchase
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10040) 12 years ago
>>With a assessed value of 5.4 billion in 2008, Campbell County Wyoming sure seems like a good deal.

I'm sure a person could take a snapshot of individual locales in any of the states acquired by purchase and come up with great numbers. Arctic Slope Borough at the profit-peak period for the pipeline and Prudhoe Bay generated some big numbers. But, I think the point of the article was to try and do something like a cost-benefits analysis across the whole time period since acquisition.

I don't think the guy from Iowa pulled that off well, but I'd like to see him used his same methodology on another state - Wyoming would be a good one to compare against his Alaska study.


>>The entire Louisiana purchase cost 15 million.

I wonder what that might be in today's dollars?

I've tried to figure things like out before - there are even online calculators that say they can convert the value of historical money to the present. But I'm pretty skeptical of computations like that. How do you really determine the value of a dollar in say 1809 or 1909 as it would compare to a dollar in 2009? There are a whole lot of variables that need to factored in.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15082) 12 years ago
But, I think the point of the article was to try and do something like a cost-benefits analysis across the whole time period since acquisition.


I understand what he is doing. What I don't understand is why. Hindsight is usually 20-20. Any insight?
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Posted by howdy (+4950) 12 years ago
If your foresite was as good as your hindsight, you would be a darn sight better off....
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10040) 12 years ago
>>I understand what he is doing. What I don't understand is why. Hindsight is usually 20-20. Any insight?

He's a college professor, so I'm assuming that it's part of a larger body of work he's engaged in that will serve some purpose (if only to heed the dictate: publish or perish).

But then who knows? From what I read in the Anchorage Daily News he's a Palinista, so could be he's pursuing some political agenda - I chose not to pursue that far enough to try and figure out his angle.

On the whole, I do think it worthwhile to explore the role of public expenditures on things such as infrastructure and the relationship between those expenditures and economic and civic growth. But it's challenging to hold discussions like that without the conversation getting "political." As you know, once a discussion hits the "political" phase, folks will generally be long on opinions, short on facts, and none too concerned with logic ; -)
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Hindsight? Foresight?

Heck, half the time I think we just need open our eyes and see what's right in front of our faces ; -)
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17731) 12 years ago
Personally, I think that any territory taken over by the United States of America has nothing but benefits for the existing inhabitants.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15082) 12 years ago
Since this guy concludes that AK wasn't worth the expense, maybe we should give AK to China reducing our debt to them, let them drill ANWR, and we import the oil.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (11/9/2009)]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10040) 12 years ago
Interesting concept for raising revenues Richard.

Seems to me we could cut a better deal though if we offered to sell Campbell County, WY, to the Chinese. Some folks say it's a real prize:
http://milescity.com/foru...&hl=#30509

And heck . . . all we'd be losing is Gillette ; -)
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15082) 12 years ago
Actually, we are shipping/selling parts of "Campbell County" to China one trainload at a time.
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Posted by JCF (+388) 12 years ago
I think its better to sell Campbell county to the chinese as personalty (i.e., train loads of coal) vice realty (i.e. fee simple deed to the land). We still get to keep the empty pits that way.
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