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

By Mary Proudfoot | Go to book overview

Chapter VIII
ECONOMIC LIFE

I. THE ECONOMIC BACKGROUND

Both the British and the United States dependencies are, of course, poor areas as compared with their metropolitan countries. Per capita income in Jamaica during 1949 was £61·91,1 as compared with a per capita income of £2002 in the United Kingdom during the same year. Per capita income in Puerto Rico in 1944 was $228, as compared with $541 for Mississippi, the poorest of the states of the Union.3 Income is unevenly distributed in the sense that a relatively small percentage of the population enjoys a relatively large percentage of the national income.4 In Puerto Rico, for instance, eight-five per cent of the population receives twenty-nine per cent of the island's net income, and fourteen per cent the remaining seventy-one per cent. There are, however, very few people wealthy by metropolitan standards living in the area, and none the redistribution of whose income would make any significant difference in the economy.5

None of the islands has mineral deposits in commercial quantities with the exception of Trinidad, which has oil, and asphalt,6

____________________
1
New Commonwealth, July 1951, using figures supplied by the Jamaica Bureau of Statistics.

This does, however, represent a steady increase since 1938. In this year per capita income was £17·8; in 1942 it was £27·1; in 1943 it was £32·5; in 1946 it was £49·2; and in 1947 it was £52·7. Caribbean Commission Bulletin, February 1951.

2
National Income.
3
Creamer, p. 27.
4
Hanson and Perez, passim.
5
See Barbados Annual Report, 1947, p. 18. Only ten persons on the entire island paid income tax in that year on incomes in excess of £5,000.

See also Rottenberg, Antigua, p. 1. 'While there are large disparities in income between the relatively poverty-stricken and the relatively well-to-do in Antigua, casual observation seems to indicate that, with a handful of exceptions, even families that live well by Antiguan norms, do not have real incomes far above those of artisan workers of the United States.'

6
Trinidad oil-production does not exceed 0·45 per cent of the world's production. (See Colonial Geology.) Furthermore, the Trinidad oil fields are not highly productive as compared with oil fields elsewhere. For instance, the average daily yield from a well in Trinidad is somewhat less than thirty barrels,

-178-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Editor's Introduction vii
  • Author's Preface x
  • Contents xiv
  • List of Tables xx
  • Chapter I - Introductory 1
  • Chapter II - The Constitutional Relationship 10
  • Chapter III - The Economic Relationship 38
  • Chapter IV - The Structure of Society 65
  • Chapter V - The Central Government 97
  • Chapter VI - The Local Government 134
  • 3. Conclusions 151
  • Chapter VII - Political Life 153
  • Chapter VIII - Economic Life 178
  • Chapter IX - Labour 222
  • Chapter X - Social Life 243
  • Chapter XI - Education 281
  • 7. Conclusions 305
  • Chapter XII - Population Problems 307
  • Chapter XIII - The Possibilities of Federation For The British West Indies 330
  • Chapter XIV - The Alternatives for the American Dependencies 350
  • Chapter XV - General Conclusions 359
  • Abbreviations 362
  • Abbreviated References 363
  • Index 419
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