There are numerous examples of how exports have been a dynamic and essential factor in the growth of national economies. This has undoubtedly been the case in the past; external trade was the best indication of the general health, not just economic health, of any society. The Central American experience is an outstanding example of how articulation with the world market in the second half of the nineteenth century conditioned the formation of the nation state, with all that this means as a totality of causes and effects. In fact, the region could only survive the post-independence period (1821) through the export of certain primary products. But these were short cycles and insufficient to reorder the colonial legacy. It was also evident that the incorporation of these societies into the flow of international trade could only be carried out through agricultural products when ‘comparative advantage’ worked effectively.
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