New Thinking in Political Economy series
Edited by José Casas Pardo and Pedro Schwartz
Chapter 19: The Mystery of Brazil
Gordon Tullock On the American continents there are three very large countries, Brazil, Canada and the United States. One of them, Canada, is mostly too far north to support a dense population and hence is largely unpopulated. The other two, however, are very similar. They are roughly the same size and both have, along the Atlantic Coast, a large area which is a mix of level ground and low hills and mountains with their eastern drainage into the Atlantic. These areas were largely forested when Europeans ﬁrst arrived. In both of these cases when you get through this rather large coastal area you come to the tributaries of a major river, the Amazon in one case and the Mississippi in the other. Both areas before the Europeans arrived were inhabited by scattered Indian tribes. Mostly these Indian tribes were in the hunting and gathering stage, but agriculture was practiced by some of them. As is the custom with primitive people, the tribes were mainly at war with each other. The high civilizations of some Indians in Mexico and the Andes did not reach the area eventually occupied by either Brazil or the United States. The Maya, probably the highest of the Indian civilizations, had died out several hundred years before Columbus. The very unpleasant Aztecs had their center in Mexico and the successfully imperialistic Incas were west of the area which eventually became Brazil. In spite of this geographic similarity, there are very great diﬀerences between the two countries....
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