Wyoming: The Paradox of Plenty

By David Freudenthal
Governor of Wyoming 2003–2011

“Our children and grandchildren leave to find a job and build their future elsewhere.”

In commodity dependent regions of the United States, it’s a common complaint. Whether the commodity is agricultural or mineral, the complaint is eventually voiced by the residents who remain when the economy no longer attaches value to the region’s production. Similar voices have been heard in areas dependent on a manufacturing economy, such as textiles or furniture. Common to all these is a deep, often historical, over dependence on a single industry or industrial sector for jobs, economic activity, and tax revenues to support public services.

Wyoming’s economy is consistently ranked among the least diversified in the United States. Originally based on agriculture, the state soon transformed into a minerals-based economy,  largely energy minerals. Buffeted by the ups and downs of commodity markets, citizens either leave or adopt a stoic attitude.

Rethinking Wyoming’s future means those of us enjoying today’s low tax—high service reality will need to carry more of our own weight.

This book examines the political history of Wyoming with an emphasis on the period between 1966 and 1986. During these 20 years, underlying historical trends were accelerated by American energy, economic, and environmental policies that define much of Wyoming’s economic predicament today.


Book Information:

  • $20.00 paperback
  • 266 pages, 6″ x 9″
  • 12 black & white images
  • Published December 2022
  • ISBN: 978-1-7334897-0-6
  • Library of Congress Control Number: 2022921565
  • Subject: Wyoming and U.S. history, politics, economics

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“This book is both historical and contemporary to an understanding of Wyoming’s political pathway from statehood to the 1980s. It examines policy, politics, power and influence. Dave Freudenthal uses his vast knowledge, painstaking research, and his characteristically irreverent approach to provide a very interesting and readable experience. In the process, Freudenthal reflects that Wyoming’s challenges have not significantly changed in the 132 years since statehood. It is the evidence supporting this conclusion that recommends the book for those interested in Wyoming’s past and future.”
— Mike Sullivan
Governor of Wyoming 1987–1995, Ambassador to Ireland 1999–2001

“Governor Freudenthal is one of Wyoming’s brightest political minds. He doesn’t just have a brilliance in the art of politics, but even more important, for decades he has used his considerable political talent to serve his unshakable desire to help Wyoming and her citizens. I highly recommend Governor Freudenthal’s well researched “Paradox of Plenty.” It will be very helpful to all of Wyoming’s elected leaders and to any seeking to be elected. “Paradox of Plenty” provides an excellent history of Wyoming’s “plenty” and it is a call to all Wyoming citizens to examine our tax policy for the benefit of all.”
— Matthew Mead
Governor of Wyoming 2011–2019