Geographia Polonica (1983) vol. 47

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Formation of settlement systems out of the former colonial systems : The case of Latin America

Luis F. Chaves

Geographia Polonica (1983) vol. 47, pp. 67-84

Abstract

As a theoretical framework this paper makes several assumptions regarding: 1) the historical character of national settlement systems, 2) the historical character of settle-ment systems in general. 3) the historical character of the sedentary life of the human population. Historically there were: 1) unsettled or non sedentary populations, 2) settled populations in which settlements were not organized into systems, and 3) settled po-pulations in which settlements were organized in non national settlement systems.

There is a general recognition that, in the process of the transformation of the settle-ment system, changes in the control of the production of raw materials, intermediate products and unproductive goods have been essential.

In mature underdeveloped countries, the economy has became subjected to the deci-sions of three main organizations: the multi-international corporations, large national oligopolistic groups and the state. However the largest part of national capital is not concentrated in these groups.

The accumulation of capital has become geographically differentiated at levels which, although defined in terms of political economy (that is, as levels of capital accumulation), appear also in the sphere of microeconomics (that is, in terms of the spatial differen-tiation of the demand for goods and services).

The way in which accumulation levels become articulated in the different settlement types (metropolises, specialized urban settlements, central places in which either economic or social and administrative functions are more important, etc.) should be considered in any study of settlement systems. It is equally important to define the flows between the levels as well as between the various components (within each level).

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Luis F. Chaves, University of the Andes, Merida, Venezuela