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The United States of America, The United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa - Geography and history

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  1. The United States of America
  2. The United Kingdom
  3. Ireland
  4. South Africa

USA is the largest agricultural producer in the world with an agricultural trade surplus of 16.5 billion dollars. It is a major producer of oil (but still needs to import), gas and coal, the second largest producter of silver, gold and copper. Its industry is powerful with a leading position in many sectors (aerospace, communications, electronics, armaments). Production is often concentrated in a specific geographical area: the manufacturing belt of the North-East, the car industry in Detroit, aeronautics in the West (Seattle). The UK is the fifth industrial power in the world with industries employing only 25% of the working population (70% are in the service sector). In the 19th century, the country was the most powerful industrial country in the world, it had a large empire (on which the sun never set!), and the Industrial Revolution had deeply affected the society (once mainly peasants, people had become factory workers and were concentrated in cities). After the first World War, major economic difficulties were ignited (world crisis, competition with other countries, unemployment, lack of investment). In the 1970's and 1980's, the crisis worsened as the entire industrial areas in the North witnessed high unemployment figures, long bitter strikes to try and prevent closures of mines. Since the late 1980's, through recovery measures like modernization of certain industries (British Steel for example), foreign investment (in the car industry with Japanese firms), incentives to attract companies in depressed areas, privatization of formerly state-owned companies (higher competitivity in communications, air transport), and active financial markets has stabilized the economy.

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