Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration

Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration

Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration

Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration

Synopsis

Focusing on the organization of production and labor use in the Caribbean's second largest sugar industry, this work depicts the reality of the Dominican sugar economy of the 1980s. It describes the progressive replacement of national labor by foreign workers. Comparing the three distinct sugar corporations, it concludes that all three exploited foreign labor. Refuting modern slavery charges through social science theory and extensive field research, this study suggests these charges resulted from superficial analyses of symbols. In depth analyses display one of the 20th century's most extensive forms of super exploitation.

Excerpt

The Dominican Republic and its insertion into the world economic order, like that of many other Caribbean countries, is intimately associated with its sugar industry. I even dare to say that it is impossible to comprehend fully the Dominican Republic in its historical or present form without studying its principal agroindustrial enterprise. It has been responsible for dramatic changes in the economy, political structures, society, culture, and demographics of the country.

The work presented here was designed primarily to describe and explain the logic of production and the use of labor in the fields of today's Dominican plantations. However, it also analyzes the historical development of the industry, provides a comparative analysis of the labor utilization strategies of the three very distinct sugar corporations present in the country, and extensively discusses various facets of foreign labor integration on the plantations, including migration and the development and maintenance of a de facto ethnic division of labor.

Much of the material presented in this book was gathered through an extensive, four-year field study. Primary financial support for that field work came from a generous fellowship in social change from the Inter- American Foundation, Rosslyn, Virginia. Subsequent and indirect funding was received from the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, Santo Domingo, in the form of employment as a researcher. This relationship with the Museo allowed me to continue with my study of the sugar industry, as well as other aspects of Dominican society and culture. I was also employed as a consultant to the Consejo Estatal del Azúcar (State Sugar Council) (1983- 1984) through a project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and managed by the Fondo para el Avance de las Ciencias Sociales, Santo Domingo.

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