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Ongoing Chakra Check-In Class

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Ryan Gomez
Ryan Gomez

Institutions And Small Settler Economies: A Comparative Study Of New Zealand And Uruguay, 1870 ##HOT##

The broad storyline is, roughly, familiar: at first anchored to commodity exports (wool in New Zealand, wheat in Canada, hides in Argentina), settler economies climbed the value chain toward mass consumption, reorienting their economies away from the British metropole with greater or lesser success by 1970. The collection's strength, of course, is in the attention to the details of these broad processes. Three essays give the flavor of the analysis. Grietje Verhoef's study of the role played by financial intermediaries in South Africa's 19th and 20th century economic development emphasizes how closely its few banks were integrated into a British financial system whose conservative lending largely shielded these early institutions from the kind of speculative frenzies and panics that regularly roiled banks in the United States.4

Institutions and Small Settler Economies: A Comparative Study of New Zealand and Uruguay, 1870

Those engaged by the economic histories collected by Lloyd, Meltzer, and Sutch will find more to think about in two of the essays Caroline Elkins and Susan Pedersen have edited for Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century. Jun Uchida's study of Japanese and Korean businesses in Japanese-occupied Korea, demonstrates that, while Japanese business elites reinforced their privileged positions in Korea, self-interest compelled them to collaborate with Korean elites "to press for greater political concessions and increase their bargaining power vis-à-vis colonial and metropolitan authorities." However, Japan's Korean interlocutors increasingly used their leverage to press for greater power within the imperial system, destabilizing the system. Roger Owens interrogates the economic motives animating European settler colonies in the Middle East and North Africa. Unlike the Japanese in Korea, settlers in Palestine, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco sought to build agricultural colonies, ideally segregated from (and often hostile to) local elites. Ironically, it took considerable subsidies to sustain limited self-sufficiency. Acknowledging the limited data on smallholdings available from the archives, Owens wonders whether some of these colonies did, in fact, achieve some kind of economic viability. This matters: Did settler identity deepen despite economic hardship and dependence or because of the sense of self-sufficiency that comes with economic success?12


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