Small Island Economies: Structure and Performance in the English-Speaking Caribbean since 1970

Small Island Economies: Structure and Performance in the English-Speaking Caribbean since 1970

Small Island Economies: Structure and Performance in the English-Speaking Caribbean since 1970

Small Island Economies: Structure and Performance in the English-Speaking Caribbean since 1970

Synopsis

"This is an especially impressive study, one really without equal in terms of its coverage and sophistication. . . . While the analysis is predominately neoclassical, it is sensibly and sensitively done, and there is much to be learned from these pages on the immense difficulties involved in designing and implementing appropriate small-state economic policy. The tug of economic reality facing small economies in an open-world economy make the push coming from internal interests a real balancing act, as Worrell appreciates. There are other points one might have liked Worrell to have touched upon, but this work is really in a class by itself; there is no other general economic study of the region that is even remotely comparable." Choice

Excerpt

Conscious economic management became a feature of English-speaking Caribbean countries in the late 1960s, just as the world economy moved from a phase of relative stability into a period of recurring crisis and uncertainty. National economic plans began to appear in the Caribbean around 1950, but they turned out to be more in the nature of sophisticated political manifestoes than aids to economic management. Attempts to influence economic outcomes by use of official policy date from the 1960s. Finance ministries developed departments for budgeting and economic analysis out of their small planning units, economic statistics were collected, central banks set up and annual reviews of the economies were published.

With the demise of colonial administration, Caribbean peoples looked to their new leaders for initiatives that would enhance their material well- being. Progress made during the 1960s raised popular expectations for continued enhancement of standards of living. the advent in the 1970s of stagflation in industrial countries and price fluctuations, however, may have limited the Caribbean's prospects for sustaining earlier growth rates. the new circumstances certainly made economic management more challenging. Governments now had to contend with volatile exchange rates, interest rates and commodity prices, while there were rapid changes in the possibilities and risks of external finance. Moreover, the growing size of government in the national economy made its role very influential, for good or harm.

By and large Caribbean economies have failed to live up to the expectations of their peoples in recent times. For the majority real levels of living have not improved since 1970; in a few major cases there has been a serious decline. If the Caribbean is to improve on the performance of the last 15 years we must explore the roots of this failure. the present work is an effort in this direction. By comparing economic performance among Caribbean countries, relating the prospects as they appeared in 1970 to . . .

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