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

By Holger W. Henke | Go to book overview
Save to active project


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


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

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


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 222

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?