Between Self-Determination and Dependency: Jamaica's Foreign Relations, 1972-1989

By Holger W. Henke | Go to book overview

CONCLUSiON

Similar to the United States, where the supply side economic policies of the Reagan government - so-called Reaganomics - caused socioeconomic hardships, the austerity and structural adjustment programmes in Jamaica (cooperatively devised and implemented by the Government of Jamaica and the IMF/World Bank consortium) caused severe economic and social dislocation (cf Wilber and Jameson 1990, chap. 5). As in the US, new jobs tended to be in the low wage sectors of the economy and had fewer benefits and less security. Although Seaga, especially after 1985, attempted to cushion these effects, he was prevented from effectively doing so by his own rampant free-market rhetoric of the early 1980s, which, in the perception of the US government, had elevated him to a regional champion of neoliberal capitalism and the living antithesis of Fidel Castro.

While his concern for the social consequences of the austerity programmes was not entirely neglected in his foreign policy (especially after 1985), rights and aspirations of the working class were usually just an appendage notion. This prioritization effectively reduced the multiplicity of conflicting domestic demands in Seaga's external lobbying strategy. The ambit of his government's external interest representation therefore clearly exhibited features of a limited pluralism. Although, in the short and medium term, this strategy brought tangible benefits in terms of a renewed flow of trade and foreign investments, it bound the Jamaican government for the foreseeable future to a development model which, even in the US, did not bring about the desired results and on the global scale seems to have reached its limits with the phenomenal growth and development in a handful of newly industrializing countries.

The Rockefeller Committee and a number of similar bilateral investment committees established in conjunction with other industrial countries, introduced a new dimension to Jamaica's conduct of external relations. Together with the government's intensive lobbying on behalf of the local bourgeoisie, this approach signified an important aspect of the tendency towards an increasing corporatization of Jamaica's foreign policy. For the first time since Independence, various professional associations, basically the bourgeoisie, however, became actively involved in the country's foreign economic affairs in an organized and institutionalized fashion. Similarly, the IMF dictation of the limits of wage increases and its acceptance by the government (and, to some extent, even the trade unions) reflects the high level of international capital's interference into Jamaica's matrix of pluralism. These external limitations on the tariff autonomy certainly contradicted the concept of a free market with

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Between Self-Determination and Dependency: Jamaica's Foreign Relations, 1972-1989
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures viii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xvi
  • Abbreviations xviii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Internal Dynamics: 1972-1980 14
  • 3 - External Dynamics: 1972-1980 24
  • 4 - Caribbean TÊte-À-TÊte: Jamaica and Cuba 30
  • Conclusion 50
  • 5 - Jamaica, the Us and International Capital in the 1970s 52
  • Conclusion 66
  • 6 - Internal Dynamics: 1981-1989 69
  • Conclusion 89
  • 7 - External Dynamics: 1981-1989 91
  • Conclusion 99
  • 8 - Jamaica and the Caribbean in the 1980s 101
  • Conclusion 127
  • 9 - Jamaica's Relations with International Capital and the Us in the 1980s 130
  • Conclusion 151
  • 10 - Conclusion 154
  • Appendix 171
  • Notes 174
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 207
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