Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Federation, 1889-1937

By John D. Wirth | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO The Economy

UNEVEN, MODERATE GROWTH--but not stagnation--describes the Mineiro economy from 1889 to 1937. 1 Moderate growth, however, was not commensurate with the state's political power and large population. Whereas other large states in the Center-South underwent structural transformations, the rate and direction of economic change in Minas was less profound, less supportive of modernization based on capitalist techniques and aspirations. A landlocked state with difficult internal communications, Minas did not derive enough benefits from, or participate fully in, the growing national internal market that accompanied export-led growth. If falling behind was to be the long-term fate of Minas, falling into a dependency relationship with the Federal District and São Paulo was the fear imbedded in the "loss of substance" theme. In sum, the economy expanded but not fast enough, so that Mineiros had to live with a situation of relative decline.

In 1939, Minas ranked second to São Paulo in gross agricultural and industrial production, with Rio Grande third. To be sure, the Paulistas were widening the lead they had held since the late Empire, and the Gaúchos pulled even with Minas in the 1930's. Allowing for cyclical trends, however, the production of basic food grains, beef cattle, and dairy products expanded throughout this period. Coffee, of which Minas was the second producer, was the most valuable export crop. The share of manufacturing in the state product was small but growing, sparked first by textiles in the 1870's, food products in the 1900's,

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Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Federation, 1889-1937
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Figures and Tables xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter One - the Minas Mosaic 1
  • Chapter Two - the Economy 31
  • Chapter Three - Society and Culture 65
  • Chapter Four - State Politics: Men, Events, and Structures 97
  • Chapter Five - the Political Elite 140
  • Chapter Six - State and Nation: Political Dimensions 164
  • Chapter Seven - Toward Integration 185
  • Chapter Eight Fiscal Federalism 204
  • Conclusion 225
  • Appendixes 235
  • Notes 267
  • Bibliography 295
  • Index 309
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