Economic Problems of Latin America

By Seymour E. Harris | Go to book overview
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Chapter III War and Postwar Agricultural Problems of Latin America

by L. A. WHEELER

WHILE the agriculture of Latin America hs its own problems, which are many and varied, those which are most important can best be considered in their relation to the agricultural economy of the rest of the world. Even under a policy of extreme hemispheric self-sufficiency, Latin American countries could not escape the impact of global agricultural problems.

It is these broader aspects of Latin American agriculture that are to be considered in this chapter. Emphasis will be placed on commodities rather than on countries, as economic problems are not limited by political boundaries. Other chapters in this volume will treat of the economies of individual countries and will refer to the role of agriculture in these economies.


THE GENERAL SITUATION BEFORE THE WAR

Before taking up the war and postwar problems of Latin America it is necessary to have in mind certain general aspects of the prewar situation.

The first of these general aspects concerns the position of the Western Hemisphere as a whole and of Latin America in particular as a surplus producer of agricultural products. For more than three centuries the Western Hemisphere as a whole has produced certain agricultural commodities over and above its own requirements. In the years just preceding the war, the great surplus agricultural

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