Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development

By Mary Proudfoot | Go to book overview
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AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The relationship between the developed and the relatively undeveloped areas of the world is now generally recognized as one of the major problems of our time. In the past the strong spilled out over their weaker neighbours, often invigorating those able to survive the ordeal. By these means the backward countries sometimes became, in their turn, the leaders in the march of civilization. Public opinion in the democracies of the west has long ceased to commend these ancient and ruthless processes. The alternative policy of the nineteenth century was the doctrine of laissez faire, every state, as every individual, being left to work out its own salvation. The political complement of laissez faire was the policy of non-annexation, individuals and societies being left to develop in a condition of free competition. But already, before the end of the century, the more thoughtful were beginning to discover that laissez faire provided no real solution because the undeveloped countries could not advance except by contact with those more fully developed. In the nineties the positive conception of trusteeship, first ennunciated by Burke, was being advanced by ministers--notably Lord Salisbury and Joseph Chamberlain--and by administrators led by Lord Lugard, in the direction of developing backward areas in the interests at once of their own inhabitants and of the world in general. But just as, formerly, the old annexationist process fell into disrepute, so the philosophy of trusteeship, implying as it did a paternal relationship between advanced and backward peoples, has now been discarded as undemocratic. All states must be treated as equal in status, however unequal in fact. A new method has therefore to be evolved whereby undeveloped areas may be developed without conquest, and without the establishment or continuance of any form of paternal overlordship.

This difficult problem has acquired a much greater urgency within the last decade, because formerly separated and self- sufficient parts of the world are being linked swiftly together by scientific and other discoveries, so that the enormous disparity in standards of living, as between the inhabitants of the few advanced and the many backward areas, becomes ever more apparent. And, as it becomes more apparent, it becomes also more ominous, for just as a handful of rich men cannot long live happily, or,

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