Banana republic

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The phrase banana republic was coined (ca. 1904) by the American writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862–1910).
United States shown in blue, where United Fruit Company was based. The countries shown in red are some examples of "banana republics" (Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama) where the United Fruit Company held considerable influence.

A banana republic is a politically unstable country whose economy depends on the export of one product in limited supply, such as agricultural products like bananas or minerals. A banana republic has social classes that are divided by wealth. These include a large, poor working class and a small ruling class (elite) made up of the businessmen, politicians, and the military.[1] The ruling class controls and exploits the country's economy.[2]

Characteristics of a Banana Republic

The way the phrase banana republic is used has evolved since it was introduced more than a century ago. It is no longer limited to countries in Central America or the tropics. Key characteristics of a banana republic in the modern world include:

Examples of Banana Republics

In the modern world, whether or not a country could accurately be described as a banana republic government is a matter of opinion. A number of countries have been described as banana republics at some point.

A country that at some point might exhibit all of the characteristics of a banana republic could change, which would mean that the term would no longer apply. The fact that someone refers to a country as a banana republic does not mean that the country really is one. The phrase is a derogatory description rather than an actual type of government.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. White, Richard Alan (1984). The Morass. United States Intervention in Central America. New York: Harper & Row. p. 319. ISBN 978-0-06-091145-4.
  2. "Big-business Greed Killing the Banana (p. A19)". The Independent, Via the New Zealand Herald. 24 May 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2012.