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South America

South American Economy

The South America consists of twelve countries, Brazil being the largest in the territory, most populous, industrialized and the strongest economy. These countries had a late industrialization, being at a disadvantage compared to the world economy, until today. In the middle of the 20th century, South American countries began a modest industrialization, based on the import substitution model. The end of the 20th century marks the opening of markets, causing a serious crisis in the industry and a change in the productive arrangement of countries, forcing greater productive specialization, concentrated mainly in the primary sector.

The primary sector, extraction and agriculture, is the sector that most contributes to the economy of South America. Agriculture is practiced in two models, subsistence and monoculture. Subsistence agriculture is practiced on small properties, with family labor, planting different cultures and with the objective of feeding the individual and the family. This model is responsible for supplying the domestic market. Monoculture is practiced on large properties, with contracted labor, planting a single crop, intense mechanization (where the terrain allows) and targeting the foreign market. The main products are coffee, in Colombia and Brazil, wheat, in Argentina, soy, in Brazil and Argentina, cocoa, in Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador, sugar cane, in Peru and Brazil (which also produces ethanol), banana, in Ecuador and Brazil and cotton, in Peru and Brazil, in addition to other fruits like pear, grape and apple, in Argentina, and orange, in Brazil. Livestock farming is practiced for both the domestic and foreign markets and is of great importance for exports from countries such as Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The main herds are cattle, pigs, sheep and horses. Taking advantage of the large fields in the territories of these countries, livestock is practiced extensively, despite the use of cutting-edge technology. Mineral extraction is the flagship of many South American economies, mainly targeting the foreign market. Venezuela has the seventh largest oil reserve in the world, which also occurs in the Brazilian Sea and the Pacific Ocean. South America has large deposits of iron in Brazil and Venezuela, copper in Chile and tin in Bolivian territory, which has most of the ores in the southern hemisphere. Other important ores such as niobium, bauxite, silver, vanadium, are also found in South American territory. See abbreviations and countries in South America on Abbreviationfinder.

The secondary sector, of industries, lost strength from the 1980s, but has been recovering, since the beginning of the 21st century, with the improvement of the population's purchasing power, reduction of unemployment and economic and political stability. The most industrialized countries are Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Uruguay. The main sectors are appliances, automobiles, textiles, metallurgy, naval and aviation.

The tertiary, services and trade sector is the sector that suffered the most from bad administration in the countries of South America. Transport is very deficient and does not seek continental integration, but rather the flow of production from the primary sector to ports. Thus, the subcontinent has few railways and highways that interconnect their countries. Although there is an extensive river network, it is little used. Commercial aviation is widely explored, especially in Brazil.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in South America, mainly due to its natural attractions. In international trade, it is important to mention the MERCOSUR (Common Market of the South), an economic bloc that covers all the countries of South America, and which facilitated the commercial exchange, with the reduction of customs tariffs between the member countries.

Countries in South America
  1. Argentina
  2. Bolivia
  3. Brazil
  4. Chile
  5. Colombia
  6. Ecuador
  7. Guyana
  8. Paraguay
  9. Peru
  10. Suriname
  11. Uruguay
  12. Venezuela

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