Colombia’s involvement in world trade began when most other “third-world” nations’ did, after the Second World War (Antrosio 2002: 1111). This may seem a bit counter-intuitive: how could this country have been in participation in such a lucrative global economy for the past 67 years when the rate of poverty is 37%? The answer is as long as it is complicated, however, one word can best sum it up: culture. The social-economic culture in Colombia, and most of Latin America for that matter, has leaned towards a social aristocracy; the rich getting ever richer, while the poor get poorer. In Colombia specifically the prevailing attitude towards the development of the nation by foreign investors, according to Stephen Gudeman and Alberto Rivera (two leading anthropologists studying Colombia) “[…] Colombian peasants […] constitute a house model based on livelihood that resists the official market model valorizing profit.” (Antrosio 1111) What could the effects of this anti-corporation attitude have upon Colombia’s growing coffee exports? Who do you think will tend the coffee fields? Starbucks barristas?
Some suggested readings (skim them):