Economic Research Institute Study paper
Utah State University
When Mormon settlers arrived in the Great Basin in the summer of 1847, the region was still Mexican territory notable mainly for its iso1ation--1,OOO miles to the nearest markets--and for its inhospitable environment. The economic isolation of Utah ended with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. During the interim, the Mormons developed a regional economic system which coined and printed its own medium of exchange, engaged in "foreign trade" with the "States," dealt with balance-of-payments problems, assimilated large numbers of immigrants, and began the process of economic development. The affairs of this regional commonwealth were directed by Brigham Young, not from his position as Governor of Utah Territory, but by virtue of his position as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Group economic self-sufficiency was stressed, and uncontrolled market capitalism was rejected in favor of cooperative and cornmunitarian economic institutions and centralized theocratic direction and control.
Israelsen, L. Dwight, "Religion and Economic Development in Utah, 1847-1900" (1982). Economic Research Institute Study Papers. Paper 397.