Essay on the Economy of Brazil (1559 Words)
by Santosh Kumar
The approximate time periods during which the ‘king products’ dominated the Brazilian economy are as follows: Brazil wood cycle-1500 to 1550; sugarcane cycle-1550 to 1700; gold cycle-1700 to 1775; rubber and coffee cycle-1850 to 1930.
Each economic cycle had its own areas of origin, growth and decay, and had different ramifications with regard to the economy as a whole. For instance, Brazil wood came from a relatively narrow strip of land along the coastline. With the depletion of the product in accessible areas, interest in the trade of Brazil wood waned.
Sugar plantation grew and flourished in the Northeast of Brazil, until the Dutch found it economical and less expensive to develop sugar industry in the Caribbean region. In the wake of gold cycle, Serra do Espinhaco in Minas Gerais became the centre of economic activity, leading to the development of cattle ranching in the peripheral areas of Sertao and south of Sao Paulo.
It was necessary because of the growing demand for food, i.e., beef and beasts of burden. Coffee production was mostly concentrated in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and later in Parana.
The growth of coffee sector, in its wake, contributed to large scale foreign immigration, development of railways, and stimulated urbanisation and promoted domestic market that favoured the growth of indigenous industry.
Each economic cycle developed in isolation and remained unrelated to the other and also, prospered during different time periods, as stated earlier. More so, the cycle of limited period/ duration, such as gold and rubber, left behind vacuum, causing stagnation and economic recession in the Brazilian economy.
The prosperous period of each cycle was heavily dependent on the peak export of the product.
As and when the periods of decline in exports approached, the boom was nearly over. In the third quarter of the 17th Century, international...