The Political Economy of Colonialism: The State and Industrialization in Puerto Rico

The Political Economy of Colonialism: The State and Industrialization in Puerto Rico

The Political Economy of Colonialism: The State and Industrialization in Puerto Rico

The Political Economy of Colonialism: The State and Industrialization in Puerto Rico

Synopsis

This study examines how Puerto Rico's industrial development process has shaped and been shaped by the state, relations with Washington, and Puerto Rican society, especially in light of the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s. Sherrie Baver posits that Puerto Rico's extreme integration into the U.S. political economy was an unintended consequence of the development model, and that its result has been a state whose tasks, such as securing an environment for private capital accumulation and income redistribution, have become increasingly regulated by the federal government, challenging Puerto Rico's commonwealth status. Recommended for scholars of Latin American Politics and Third World Development.

Excerpt

I began this study, in reality, when I began studying in New York City. Almost a million Puerto Ricans live in New York, with most of this massive migration occurring after World War II. As I became increasingly involved in studying the politics of third world development, I began asking what in Puerto Rico's development had fostered such a large human exodus. In addition to the obvious answer that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, I wanted to explore the nature of both the island's relation to the United States and its development experience. Furthermore, it has not only been Puerto Ricans who have been migrating to New York; other Caribbean migrant communities have been growing in New York since the 1960s. The continuing large-scale Caribbean migration suggests that although the Puerto Rican case is in some ways unique, the findings on its industrial development effort might well have parallels in other Caribbean countries.

My intent in this study was to reexamine Puerto Rico's policy process in light of economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s. While much has been written on the island's development experience, little systematic work has been done on industrialization policymaking. This study examines how Puerto Rico's industrial development process has both shaped and been shaped by the state, relations with Washington, and society in Puerto Rico. While I have argued throughout the work that Puerto Rico is a U.S. colony, I have tried to show that both praise and blame for what Puerto Rico has become since the beginning of its modernization lie, while not equally, on both U.S. and Puerto Rican shoulders.

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