By Paul Garner
Among 1889 and 1919, Weetman Pearson grew to become one of many world's most vital engineering contractors, a pioneer within the foreign oil undefined, and one among Britain's wealthiest males. on the middle of his international company empire have been his pursuits in Mexico.While Pearson's remarkable good fortune in Mexico happened in the context of remarkable degrees of British alternate with and funding in Latin the USA, Garner argues that Pearson might be understood much less as an agent of British imperialism than as an agent of Porfirian country construction and modernization. Pearson used to be capable of safe contracts for a few of nineteenth-century Mexico's most crucial public works initiatives largely as a result of his reliability, his empathy with the developmentalist undertaking of Mexican President Porfirio Díaz, and his assiduous cultivation of a clientelist community in the Mexican political elite. His good fortune therefore offers a chance to reappraise the function performed by means of in a foreign country pursuits within the nationwide improvement of Mexico.
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Additional resources for British Lions and Mexican Eagles. Business, Politics, and Empire in the Career of Weetman Pearson in Mexico, 1889-1919
In fact, British “interests” in Latin America over the course of the nineteenth century, whether strategic, commercial, or political, were neither homogeneous nor consistent. 24 Nevertheless, it is a fact that, in the period which concerns us here—from the 1860s until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914—British trade and investment in Latin America increased exponentially. As has already been highlighted, a number of factors contributed to this significant shift: inter alia, increased demand in the industrialising world for foodstuffs and raw materials, the revolution in global communication and transportation, Britain’s commitment to free trade, Latin America’s commitment to exportled growth, and the restoration of Latin America’s credit on the London bond markets.
19 As he would prove on many occasions over his long career, Pearson was highly capable and highly effective in each of these domains. In fact, Pearson’s ability to harness the skills and talents of a range of managers and employees and to create an extraordinarily diverse and vertically integrated business organisation which employed many thousands of men around the globe, all controlled by a single, privately controlled holding company (S. Pearson and Son), suggests that Pearson might well be seen as the model of a late Victorian entrepreneur.
Finally, the chapter also seeks to examine the guiding principles and practices of Pearson’s business modus operandi, which would also be transferred to Mexico after 1889. One of the most distinctive and dynamic sectors of the British economy which flourished in the Victorian era was that of construction and engineering, most clearly manifest in the transport revolution and the dramatic extension of Britain’s domestic infrastructure of public works, railways, shipbuilding, and ports. Within the construction industry in Britain, competition was always fierce, but the business opportunities opened up by the planning and execution of large-scale public works and engineering projects were unparalleled.