Effects Of Physical Geography On Latin America

1763 Words8 Pages
This essay, firstly, will look at to what extent physical geography has affected Latin America in terms of economic growth. Secondly, it will focus on the other possible factors which have affected its economic growth. There has been much debate over the cause with some stating that geography is the culprit while others blame more social aspects such as politics and political instability, inequality, and educational attainment. This essay will attempt to evaluate to what extent these claims are true.
Agriculture is arguably the main focus of discussion when considering the geographical cause of low economic development. The different climate and soil conditions in tropical ecological zones (Gallup et al., 2003, p.32), mean there is less
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natural disasters). Gallup et al. (2003, pp.41, 46) have estimated that natural disasters in Latin America over the last 30 years have cost up to $3.3 billion and in extreme disasters costs can reach 10 per cent of a country’s GDP. This, coupled with the fact that they suffer regularly from natural disasters due to their location, means that they find it harder to recover from them. The destruction of crops causes vast economic loss which cannot be regained as farmers rely on monoculture. Furthermore, many buildings in developing countries are often built from weak materials which causes mass destruction and costly re-construction which these countries cannot afford.
In addition, diseases such as Hookworm and Malaria–brought to Latin America through colonisation and slavery–cause economic problems to this day. According to Hausmann (2009): “countries at a high risk of malaria grow 0.6 per cent slower than countries free from malaria”. Exports can be affected such as during the Cholera outbreak in Peru in 1991 which cost the fishing industry $800 million (Hausmann, 2009). It also increases healthcare costs and reduces worker productivity (Hausmann, 2009). Presently, resistance means that cheap medications for treatment of and protection from malaria are becoming less effective (Gallup et al., 2003, p.135). As
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