Early Globalization and the Economic Development of the United States and Brazil

Early Globalization and the Economic Development of the United States and Brazil

Early Globalization and the Economic Development of the United States and Brazil

Early Globalization and the Economic Development of the United States and Brazil

Synopsis

Placing the controversial globalization process in historical context, DeWitt brings this increasingly important topic to life through the experiences of the two most populous states of the Western Hemisphere--Brazil and the United States. Comparing their development processes from the Colonial Era to 1900, he highlights the dramatically different consequences that are incorporated into the world economy for these two states. Sharing similar experiences during the Colonial Era, the countries' internal differences and differing relationships with Great Britain, the economic superpower of the 19th century, led to very different development paths. By 1900 the United States had become a member of the economic core, while Brazil remained mired in the semi-periphery.

Excerpt

As the two most populous states of the Americas, the United States and Brazil have long attracted close attention. The populations of both states include descendants of Native Americans and voluntary and involuntary immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Today the United States and Brazil possess productive and efficient industries and are major exporters of agricultural products. Both countries are proud of their international contributions to art, literature, music, sport, theater, and cinema.

From small, scattered colonial outposts on the Atlantic coast in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Brazil and the United States expanded aggressively, as colonies and as independent states, at the expense of weaker neighbors to obtain national territories of continental proportions by 1900. Brazil is larger than the contiguous territory of the United States, but in total national territory the United States ranks fourth in the world and Brazil fifth. Both states have a federal form of government to reconcile regional differences in their vast domains. (See Maps 1 and 2)

Brazil and the United States began as colonies of powerful European maritime states that practiced mercantilism to increase the economic strength of the mother country. Both developed plantation agriculture to export crops to Europe. Mainland British America was a world leader in the production of tobacco, rice, and indigo. Portuguese America was the most important sugar exporter of the globe for one hundred years.

Following independence the United States produced more cotton than any other country in the world, and Brazil was the global leader in the export of coffee. To provide labor for their plantations, Brazil and the United

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