Twenty-first Century Transhumants: Social and Economic Change in the Alta Ribagorça
The role that the border has played in defining the current activities in Andorra needs to be emphasized again. In effect, if Andorra had not developed a cross-border economy, tobacco cultivation would not exist because it would not make any sense. It is the fact that Andorra is a micro-state, with a special political and legal status, free from the regulation and taxation that is applied in neighbouring countries. It has favoured the cultivation and manufacture of tobacco, because it has benefited from the difference in prices with Spain and France. Andorra has taken strategic advantage of its old privileges to place itself within an international economy. Cultivating poor quality tobacco at high altitudes, paying a really high price for it and then destroying most of it is not at all irrational if it is understood within the economic, political, and social relations that make up the social system of Andorra as a whole.