Cuban Sugar in the Age of Mass Production: Technology and the Economics of the Sugar Central, 1899-1929

Stanford University Press, 1998 - 343 páginas
This book examines the modernization of the Cuban sugar industry from the end of the Cuban War of Independence throughout the ensuing boom in the sugar industry. An underlying theme of the book is the close connection between the technical and organizational changes in the Cuban sugar industry and the technological changes behind the managerial revolution in industrial countries.

The technical changes in the sugar industry, marked by the diffusion of mass production technologies and the adoption in Cuba of modern central factories, were characteristic of most progressive industries of that time. In general, the application of mass production technologies heralded the transition from proprietorships to modern hierarchical and corporate forms of business organization. This book links the development in the Cuban sugar industry to the global movement in business organization and technology that has been referred to as the rise of managerial capitalism.

The first three decades of the twentieth century have been recognized as critical in Cuba's history, because the economic foundations -- including the rise of sugar latifundismo -- were laid for the Cuban revolution. Most of the existing literature has focused on the social impact of the profound socio-economic and institutional changes that came with the massive entrance of capital from North America. The line of investigation in this book is unique in that it examines the economic factors that underlay these socio-economic and institutional changes. What have frequently been seen as the effects of political intervention or imperialism the author identifies as economic outcomes caused by mass production technology.

This is the firstbook to apply the tools of the "new economic history" to Cuba, complementing traditional historical methods with rigorous use of economic theory, transaction-cost economics, and quantitative methods to arrive at its conclusions.

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