banana republic

noun Usually Disparaging.
any of the small countries in the tropics, especially in the Western Hemisphere, whose economies are largely dependent on fruit exports, tourism, and foreign investors.

Origin:
1930–35

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World English Dictionary
banana republic
 
n
derogatory a small country, esp in Central America, that is politically unstable and has an economy dominated by foreign interest, usually dependent on one export, such as bananas

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

banana republic
"small Central American state with an economy dependent on banana production," 1935, Amer.Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
If you read much popular science, you'd be forgiven for thinking that biology has become something of a banana republic.
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