Economic Handbook of the Pacific Area

Economic Handbook of the Pacific Area

Economic Handbook of the Pacific Area

Economic Handbook of the Pacific Area

Excerpt

This volume attempts a survey of the economic factors underlying present international forces in the Pacific area, and takes as a starting point the relation between the population of each country and its physical environment. No purely economic study of such a relationship involving the interplay of human behavior and all manner of natural forces can in the nature of the case pretend to give a complete picture. The roots of the question go far into the subject matters of biology and physiology on the one hand, and geology, physics and chemistry on the other. For purposes of clarity it has always been necessary to make what many consider somewhat false and arbitrary distinctions between the constantly inter-related manifestations of these social and natural forces, calling them variously, as convenient handles, psychology, sociology or economics. The special emphasis of economic studies is to furnish the material pattern of events, and in the case of this volume, of events in international affairs.

With such a preliminary qualification of the scope and pretensions of this survey, the volume may now be defined as concerned entirely with the material aspects of the vastly complicated and increasingly important economic problems of the peoples of the Pacific area. Among these problems the elemental factors of population and the use people make of the land on which they live are of first importance. From a presentation of those factors a large share of the problems and possibilities confronting the various countries become evident. A huge population on poor and restricted soil and sub-soil is in an obviously different situation from a small population living on ample and rich territory. This simple equation, if qualified a thousand times over and amplified by the non-material sciences, would give a fairly complete explanation of why and how events in the Pacific area follow each other as they do. This book has grown from the belief that without such amplification and in its economic skeleton the various component parts of the equation may be analyzed, tabulated and presented in a compact, usable form which will be of value as a source of direct information, as an implement for further study, and as a base from which coördination with the other sciences may proceed.

The first chapter of this book is concerned with population, the next one with land utilization, and subsequent chapters with derivations or elaborations of the material relations of various peoples of the Pacific to their environments. Throughout, the international aspect . . .

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