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The Big Ditch: How America Took, Built, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal

by

The Big Ditch: How America Took, Built, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Meticulously researched and brilliantly argued, The Big Ditch provides a seminal analysis of the economic motivations and consequences of American imperialism. The book is not just about the Panama Canal, but also much more broadly about the nature and legacy of Western colonialism. It will force many of us to rethink what we thought we knew."--James Robinson, coauthor of Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

"Why did the United States build the Panama Canal at tremendous cost in lives and treasure, and then give it away to the Panamanians? What exactly did we do with the Canal when we owned it? Did it make money or was it a boondoggle? Read this fascinating book and learn the answers."--Stephen Haber, Stanford University

"This landmark book offers important new insights that will significantly advance our understanding of the national and global economic consequences of the Panama Canal. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and represents a contribution to the emergent literature on the new political economy of empire."--Alan Dye, Barnard College, Columbia University

"This dynamic and entertaining book provides the first modern and quantitative interpretation of the economic and political history of the Panama Canal, one of the largest infrastructure works ever connected to the creation of a new country, the prevention of malaria and yellow fever, the reduction of transport prices, the promotion of international trade, and the redistribution of wealth in the United States."--Xavier Duran, London School of Economics and Political Science and Northwestern University

Synopsis:

On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened for business, forever changing the face of global trade and military power, as well as the role of the United States on the world stage. The Canal's creation is often seen as an example of U.S. triumphalism, but Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu reveal a more complex story. Examining the Canal's influence on Panama, the United States, and the world, The Big Ditch deftly chronicles the economic and political history of the Canal, from Spain's earliest proposals in 1529 through the final handover of the Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999, to the present day.

The authors show that the Canal produced great economic dividends for the first quarter-century following its opening, despite massive cost overruns and delays. Relying on geographical advantage and military might, the United States captured most of these benefits. By the 1970s, however, when the Carter administration negotiated the eventual turnover of the Canal back to Panama, the strategic and economic value of the Canal had disappeared. And yet, contrary to skeptics who believed it was impossible for a fledgling nation plagued by corruption to manage the Canal, when the Panamanians finally had control, they switched the Canal from a public utility to a for-profit corporation, ultimately running it better than their northern patrons.

A remarkable tale, The Big Ditch offers vital lessons about the impact of large-scale infrastructure projects, American overseas interventions on institutional development, and the ability of governments to run companies effectively.

Synopsis:

"Meticulously researched and brilliantly argued, The Big Ditch provides a seminal analysis of the economic motivations and consequences of American imperialism. The book is not just about the Panama Canal, but also much more broadly about the nature and legacy of Western colonialism. It will force many of us to rethink what we thought we knew."--James Robinson, coauthor of Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

"Why did the United States build the Panama Canal at tremendous cost in lives and treasure, and then give it away to the Panamanians? What exactly did we do with the Canal when we owned it? Did it make money or was it a boondoggle? Read this fascinating book and learn the answers."--Stephen Haber, Stanford University

"This landmark book offers important new insights that will significantly advance our understanding of the national and global economic consequences of the Panama Canal. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and represents a contribution to the emergent literature on the new political economy of empire."--Alan Dye, Barnard College, Columbia University

"This dynamic and entertaining book provides the first modern and quantitative interpretation of the economic and political history of the Panama Canal, one of the largest infrastructure works ever connected to the creation of a new country, the prevention of malaria and yellow fever, the reduction of transport prices, the promotion of international trade, and the redistribution of wealth in the United States."--Xavier Duran, London School of Economics and Political Science and Northwestern University

About the Author

Noel Maurer is associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. His books include "The Power and the Money, The Politics of Property Rights", and "Mexico since 1980". Carlos Yu is an economic historian and private consultant based in New York City.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
List of Tables ix
Preface xiii
Chapter One: Introduction to the Ditch 1
Chapter Two: Before the Ditch 13
Chapter Three: Preparing the Ditch 55
Chapter Four: Digging the Ditch 97
Chapter Five: Crossing the Ditch 139
Chapter Six: Passed by the Ditch 189
Chapter Seven: Sliding into Irrelevancy 212
Chapter Eight: Ditching the Ditch 264
Chapter Nine: Concluding the Ditch 313
Notes 333
Index 401

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691147383
Author:
Maurer, Noel
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Yu, Carlos
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Subject:
United States Foreign relations Panama.
Subject:
Panama Foreign relations United States.
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Economics
Subject:
World History/Comparative History
Subject:
Business-History and Biography
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20101131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 halftone. 30 line illus. 48 tables. 6
Pages:
440
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 27 oz

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Latin America » Panama
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Big Ditch: How America Took, Built, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$42.50 In Stock
Product details 440 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691147383 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened for business, forever changing the face of global trade and military power, as well as the role of the United States on the world stage. The Canal's creation is often seen as an example of U.S. triumphalism, but Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu reveal a more complex story. Examining the Canal's influence on Panama, the United States, and the world, The Big Ditch deftly chronicles the economic and political history of the Canal, from Spain's earliest proposals in 1529 through the final handover of the Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999, to the present day.

The authors show that the Canal produced great economic dividends for the first quarter-century following its opening, despite massive cost overruns and delays. Relying on geographical advantage and military might, the United States captured most of these benefits. By the 1970s, however, when the Carter administration negotiated the eventual turnover of the Canal back to Panama, the strategic and economic value of the Canal had disappeared. And yet, contrary to skeptics who believed it was impossible for a fledgling nation plagued by corruption to manage the Canal, when the Panamanians finally had control, they switched the Canal from a public utility to a for-profit corporation, ultimately running it better than their northern patrons.

A remarkable tale, The Big Ditch offers vital lessons about the impact of large-scale infrastructure projects, American overseas interventions on institutional development, and the ability of governments to run companies effectively.

"Synopsis" by ,

"Meticulously researched and brilliantly argued, The Big Ditch provides a seminal analysis of the economic motivations and consequences of American imperialism. The book is not just about the Panama Canal, but also much more broadly about the nature and legacy of Western colonialism. It will force many of us to rethink what we thought we knew."--James Robinson, coauthor of Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

"Why did the United States build the Panama Canal at tremendous cost in lives and treasure, and then give it away to the Panamanians? What exactly did we do with the Canal when we owned it? Did it make money or was it a boondoggle? Read this fascinating book and learn the answers."--Stephen Haber, Stanford University

"This landmark book offers important new insights that will significantly advance our understanding of the national and global economic consequences of the Panama Canal. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and represents a contribution to the emergent literature on the new political economy of empire."--Alan Dye, Barnard College, Columbia University

"This dynamic and entertaining book provides the first modern and quantitative interpretation of the economic and political history of the Panama Canal, one of the largest infrastructure works ever connected to the creation of a new country, the prevention of malaria and yellow fever, the reduction of transport prices, the promotion of international trade, and the redistribution of wealth in the United States."--Xavier Duran, London School of Economics and Political Science and Northwestern University

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