Trade Competition in the Regions of Recent Settlement
Sir Robert Giffen, at the turn of the century, asked whether many of the complaints levelled at Britain’s competitive decline may not have had a simple explanation. Trade could not be expected to expand equally in every area. Within the limit of what was practicable, British merchants and manufacturers deliberately abandoned less promising markets within a widely extended trade, and then concentrated on the few in which their energies were amply and profitably employed.1 These included, naturally, the ‘regions of recent settlement’, a term first coined by Folke Hilgerdt to describe European settlement, post USA, in the world’s temperate latitudes — Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and Australasia — to which he might have added Chile and (Southern) Brazil. The attraction was a matching requirement in trade: exports to Europe of foodstuffs and raw materials, imports from Europe of capital and manufactures. Nationality and allegiance turned some settler regions towards the Continent (Brazil and Chile to Germany) and others (Argentina and the British Dominions) to Britain. It was a true meeting of the minds, a happy union of requirements and tastes. Britain’s success in Argentina was attributed by Britain’s consul-general in Buenos Aires to the ‘widely different economic conditions of the two countries, which place each in a position to supply what the other requires’.2
KeywordsUnited States Interim Report Recent Settlement Import Trade Southern Cone
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