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Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World

Tucker, Richard P.

34 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0520220870 / ISBN 13: 9780520220874
Published by University of California Press, U.S.A., 2000
New Condition: New Hardcover
From PORT HOLE BOOKS and PUBLISHING (Florence, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Brand new first edition clothbound hardcover in new dust jacket. Note that previous owner was a collector who carefully reinforced the dust jacket with what appears to be archival tape along the interior edges to prevent shelf wear. The book itself is in pristine new, clean, crisp, tight and unread condition. Bookseller Inventory # 046193

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Insatiable Appetite: The United States and ...

Publisher: University of California Press, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In the late 1800s American entrepreneurs became participants in the 400-year history of European economic and ecological hegemony in the tropics. Beginning as buyers in the tropical ports of the Atlantic and Pacific, they evolved into land speculators, controlling and managing the areas where tropical crops were grown for carefully fostered consumer markets at home. As corporate agro-industry emerged, the speculators took direct control of the ecological destinies of many tropical lands. Supported by the U.S. government's diplomatic and military protection, they migrated and built private empires in the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.

Yankee investors and plantation managers mobilized engineers, agronomists, and loggers to undertake what they called the "Conquest of the Tropics," claiming to bring civilization to benighted peoples and cultivation to unproductive nature. In competitive cooperation with local landed and political elites, they not only cleared natural forests but also displaced multicrop tribal and peasant lands with monocrop export plantations rooted in private property regimes.

This book is a rich history of the transformation of the tropics in modern times, pointing ultimately to the declining biodiversity that has resulted from the domestication of widely varied natural systems. Richard P. Tucker graphically illustrates his study with six major crops, each a virtual empire in itself—sugar, bananas, coffee, rubber, beef, and timber. He concludes that as long as corporate-dominated free trade is ascendant, paying little heed to its long-term ecological consequences, the health of the tropical world is gravely endangered.

From the Back Cover:

"This is a fascinating book. Tucker draws together an amazing amount of material to demonstrate how the U.S., through exploitation, consumption, and demand over the past several centuries, has had a major impact on the ecology of tropical landscapes. It is a sobering, much-needed wake-up call to those who view the tropics as an endless cornucopia of resources." --Charles M. Peters, The New York Botanical Garden

"This well-written book presents a critical and much-needed new insight into an important problem." --Otto T. Solbrig, Bussey Professor of Biology, Harvard University

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