Catalans (Països Catalans) - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Roughly 10 percent of the active population of the Països Catalans is engaged in agriculture, with 45 percent in industry and 45 percent in service. The last is the most productive sector (60 percent of the net product), mainly because of international tourism.

Agricultural production is dominated by arboriculture: citrus, grapes, and olives, all of which are now highly industrialized in production. The need for irrigation constrains other crops, although rice is characteristic of Valencian agriculture and cuisine. The typical production unit is a horta ( huerta ), a small, single-family irrigated garden of less than one hectare. These gardens produce domestic foodstuffs as well as flowers and specialties for urban markets. Domestic animals may include cattle, pigs, and sheep, but milk and meat products are generally industrialized. Fishing, despite a long economic and cultural tradition, has largely disappeared.

The Països Catalans lack natural energy resources for industry; growth relied on imported fuels until the construction of nuclear reactors. Cottage industries in the eighteenth century gave way to family-controlled urban factories and rural mill towns ( colònies ) in the nineteenth. Textiles were the foundation of growth; chemicals, leather, construction materials, automobiles, and appliances have also been important, organized as government or multinational corporations. Commerce and finance were linked to industrial growth, especially in the development of a petite bourgeoisie (shopkeeper and small merchant) infrastructure.

Division of Labor. This follows gender and class. Women of rural and working-class households participate actively in the production process; middle-class and upper-class women have been less incorporated into the labor market than in similar developed areas. Class division has been a source of conflict for centuries.

Land Tenure. The Països Catalans are typified by small and medium landholdings; even among the bourgeoisie, money tends to be heavily invested in land, both rural and urban.

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