Oysters, elk, and ungulates, oh, my! Who knew that a political storm could develop over oysters? EconTalk guest, Summer Brennan, did. Russ chatted with the author of The Oyster War on the nature of wilderness, competing interests, and the nature of truth.


1. Russ cites a common economics mantra in relation to the story of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Can you think of a controversy similar to this one that also illustrates this principle?

2. What does “wilderness” mean to you? How do you enjoy “wilderness?” How well does the political process define it?

3. Check out the American Prairie Reserve. How might its management and access differ from a traditional national park?

4. Why is the idea of equilibrium so comforting in both economics and ecology? What are the dangers of pushing this concept too far in either area?