Industrialization and Urbanization in Latin America

The period between 1914 and 1932 is the period between the two great world wars: WWI and WWII. During this period, many countries in Latin America underwent great transformation in terms of industrialization and urbanization. In Brazil, industrialization started in the 1900s as Brazil attempted recover from the destruction it had suffered during the colonial era as well as during the WWI. One of the effects of industrialization in Brazil during the period between 1914 and 1932 was emergency and development of heavy industries (Hyunwoo, 2008). Such industries included steel, clothing and textile, chemical and petrochemicals, and food processing. Statistics indicate that the Brazilian steel industry was established in 1911. However, from the year 1914, it started recording the highest volume of production through out the world (Hyunwoo, 2008). The petrochemical industry was also not left out. Starting the year 1915, output levels of the Brazilian crude petroleum products increased substantially.

With the high industrialization, there was a need to develop transport infrastructures to aid in movement of raw materials to the industries as well as movement of finished goods to the markets. This led to commencement of development of Brazilian transport sector (Hyunwoo, 2008). Many areas in Brazil were serviced with transportation networks. In fact, it is argued that Brazil is the pioneer country of aircrafts: the first man to fly was a Brazilian named Alberto Santos-Dumont (Hyunwoo, 2008). Although development of modern air, rail, and road transportation infrastructures started after the WWII, during the period between 1914 and 1932, there was substantial development of the Brazilian transportation sector, which was accelerated by the heavy industrialization that was taking place during that time.

Moreover, heavy industrialization between 1914 and 1932 led to heavy reliance on locally manufactured goods by the Brazilians. This in return made imports to Brazil to lose market, causing the Brazilian government to impose heavy tariffs on imported goods. Statistics indicate that in 1915, Brazil recorded the highest import tariff (39.7 percent) than any other country in Latin America as well as the US and Canada (Hyunwoo, 2008). High tariff charges led to creation of monopolies in Brazil, which hindered full exploitation of Brazil’s resources.

Industrialization in Brazil during the period between 1914 and 1932 affected the Brazilians way of life. Previously, the Brazilian economy was reliant of agriculture: mainly coffee farming. There were fewer jobs and the colonialists had rendered many people peasants. However, with the onset of industrialization, many people were able to find employment in the industries/factories where the peasants were able to secure jobs as unskilled laborers (Hyunwoo, 2008). This changed the lives of peasants from peasantry to working class. As industrialization in Brazil continued to achieve its goals, workers’ wages also continued to increase. Rise in money wages led to improvement of lifestyle among the Brazilians, thanks to industrialization. Industrialization also led to improvement of the public welfare (Hyunwoo, 2008).

Industrialization in Brazil led to development of urbanization (Gutberlet, 2007). This was due to development of auxiliary services around the physical locations of the industries, which eventually led to development of urban areas in these areas. The individuals who were working in the industries also settled near the industries thus, leading to development of urban areas. Urbanization in Brazil between the year 1914 and 1932 led to commencement of rural-urban migration (Gutberlet, 2007). As urban areas started to emerge around the physical locations of the industries/factories, people started to move to those areas in search of employment in the industries. Others started moving to the urban areas in order to look for self-employment through provision of services to those who had already settled in the cities. Urbanization also led to demise of the peasantry system that existed in Brazil. This is because a great number of peasants were able to find employment in the urban areas. In addition, urbanization caused disruption of the activities of the farming communities in Brazil, thus contributing to the demise of peasantry system (Gutberlet, 2007).

Both industrialization and urbanization in Brazil between 1914 and 1932 are responsible for the demise of farming in Brazil. Industries such as steel (iron making) were set on agricultural land, thus replacing farming activities. Urbanization disrupted farming activities of agricultural communities through rural-urban migration (Gutberlet, 2007; (Hyunwoo, 2008)).

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