Agricultural commercialization and state development in Central America: the political economy of the coffee industry from 1838 to 1940
Kauck, David M., 1954-
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation is a comparative study of the historical development of the state in the three leading coffee producing countries of Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. It focuses explicitly upon the historical impact of the development of coffee cultivation upon agrarian politics and the process of state formation in those countries. It traces the emergence of the coffee industry and of the region's modern political systems, in an effort to determine to what extent the divergent patterns of modern political development in Central America were related to structual differences in the leading export sector.This research suggests that Central American development has been influenced by the historical interaction between a set of regionally distinctive geographic factors and international economic conditions. Class relations and industrial arrangements inherited from the colonial era conditioned the development of export agriculture in the nineteenth century. A two-stage historical model of these interactions is presented.Two broadly different national experiences were associated with the advent of coffee cultivation. In Guatemala and El Salvador, where the inital expansion of coffee was blocked by landholding villages and surviving colonial institutions, export agriculture was associated with serious agrarian conflict and the development of authoritarian political systems. In Costa Rica, coffee production began early, expanded gradually, and was not associated with serious agrarian conflict.Cross-national differences in the relative value of land and labor subsequently led to regional variation in patterns of land use and tenure, the organization of labor markets, and the economic position of elites and peasants. These factors account for regional differences in patterns of class conflict during the period of worldwide overproduction and price instability which culminated in the depression of the 1930's.
- Sociology