Costa Rica and Civilization in the Caribbean

Costa Rica and Civilization in the Caribbean

Costa Rica and Civilization in the Caribbean

Costa Rica and Civilization in the Caribbean

Excerpt

Discussions of the social, economic, and political affairs of these United States often lack the factual basis which they should have among a people as practical as we feel ourselves to be. It is less strange that our conversations and writings about countries other than our own often show features fanciful, whimsical, and almost fantastic. Least to cause wonder are our vagaries of opinion about the tropics. All this is true because our national thinking is characterized by localism. We know too little of our own affairs, less of those of our European and other world neighbors of temperate zones -- and often, it seems, next to nothing about the states and civilizations which lie between the lines that mark the tropics.

For roughly a century and a quarter after the beginning of our independent history we had "free land." We were developing the resources of our own country -- becoming "independent" of the rest of the world. But during the past generation the course of development has reversed itself. We "depend" on the rest of the world for increasing supplies of raw materials and manufactures and we "depend" on it also to take our rising surpluses. "World economics" has had growing importance.

In the course of this development great changes have occurred. An illustration may be given from our national economic advance. Farm products had an estimated value of three and a half billion dollars in 1899 but were worth almost thirteen billion in 1926. On a changed basis of estimate they were worth slightly less than twelve billion in 1929. The number of wage earners in manufacturing rose between 1899 and 1929 from 4.7 million to 8.8, wages from 2 billion dollars to 11.6 billion, the value of manufactured products from 11 to 70 billion dollars.

These changes were attended by shifts in amount and character of our foreign trade. Imports rose from 849 millions, to 4,399 . . .

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