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From Silver to Cocaine: Latin American Commodity Chains and the Building of the World Economy, 1500-2000 (American Encounters/Global Interactions)by Steven (edt) Topik
Synopses & Reviews
Demonstrating that globalization is a centuries-old phenomenon, From Silver to Cocaine examines the commodity chains that have connected producers in Latin America with consumers around the world for five hundred years. In clear, accessible essays, historians from Latin America, England, and the United States trace the paths of many of Latin Americaandrsquo;s most important exports: coffee, bananas, rubber, sugar, tobacco, silver, henequen (fiber), fertilizers, cacao, cocaine, indigo, and cochineal (insects used to make dye). Each contributor follows a specific commodity from its inception, through its development and transport, to its final destination in the hands of consumers. The essays are arranged in chronological order, according to when the production of a particular commodity became significant to Latin Americaandrsquo;s economy. Someandmdash;such as silver, sugar, and tobaccoandmdash;were actively produced and traded in the sixteenth century; othersandmdash;such as bananas and rubberandmdash;only at the end of the nineteenth century; and cocaine only in the twentieth.
By focusing on changing patterns of production and consumption over time, the contributors reconstruct complex webs of relationships and economic processes, highlighting Latin Americaandrsquo;s central and interactive place in the world economy. They show how changes in coffee consumption habits, clothing fashions, drug usage, or tire technologies in Europe, Asia, and the Americas reverberate through Latin American commodity chains in profound ways. The social and economic outcomes of the continentandrsquo;s export experience have been mixed. By analyzing the dynamics of a wide range of commodities over a five-hundred-year period, From Silver to Cocaine highlights this diversity at the same time that it provides a basis for comparison and points to new ways of doing global history.
Contributors. Marcelo Bucheli, Horacio Crespo, Zephyr Frank, Paul Gootenberg, Robert Greenhill, Mary Ann Mahony, Carlos Marichal, David McCreery, Rory Miller, Aldo Musacchio, Laura Nater, Ian Read, Mario Samper, Steven Topik, Allen Wells
""From Silver to Cocaine" is an important and innovative collection. It provides a corrective to the purely national studies of commodities and of export sectors, and to studies that posit influence in only one direction, focusing on the international penetration of capital and trade into Latin America. This book makes a strong statement about the direction of future research: it should be required reading for anyone interested in the economic history of Latin America, broadly conceived."--Edward Beatty, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame
Claims that the history of commodities in Latin America (or anywhere) cannot be understood without considering their global context, often from a long-term perspective.
About the Author
Steven Topik is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. His books include The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture, and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present (with Kenneth Pomeranz) and Trade and Gunboats: The United States and Brazil in the Age of Empire.
Carlos Marichal is Professor in the Centro de Estudios Histandoacute;ricos at El Colegio de Mandeacute;xico. He is the author of A Century of Debt Crises in Latin America: From Independence to the Great Depression, 1820andndash;1930 and numerous books in Spanish.
Zephyr Frank is Assistant Professor of Latin American History at Stanford University. He is the author of Dutraandrsquo;s World: Wealth and Family in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro.
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