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MexicoWhy a Few Are Rich and the People Poor$
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Ramon Ruiz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262355

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262355.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

Colonialism’s Thumb

Colonialism’s Thumb

(p.83) Five Colonialism’s Thumb


University of California Press

The golden age of capitalism, when the tree of the Industrial Revolution bore ripe fruit, was no time for the peripheral world to free itself from colonialism's thumb. Known as the Gilded Age in the United States, Mexico's new trading partner, it saw the triumph of the world economy of industrial capitalism, when Western Europe, and then the United States, embarked on imperial adventures, acquiring colonies by trade and investments and, if that failed, by rifle and cannon. As international commerce expanded, as did Western capitalists' investments in the peripheral world. Steamships, railroads, the telegraph, and bank loans opened the door for the sale of factory goods in faraway corners of the globe. During Porfirio Díaz's thirty years in office as president of Mexico, the state bowed to the wishes of the rich and powerful, natives and foreigners alike, both identified with exports. The concentration of landownership gave form and substance to the structure of poverty, putting shackles on the buying power of campesinos.

Keywords:   Mexico, capitalism, United States, Gilded Age, colonialism, Western Europe, Porfirio Díaz, exports, landownership, poverty

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