The Political Economy of Caribbean Development by Matthew Louis Bishop (auth.)

By Matthew Louis Bishop (auth.)

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To cite an evocative metaphor, these two siblings should be considered France’s ‘love children’ (Hintjens 1992), although they are not twins, and their respective historical trajectories have engendered important differences between them. 6 Although revolution removed Haiti/St Domingue from this particular image, British occupation of Martinique during the French Revolution of 1789 protected the position of the White Creole plantocracy and maintained Martinique’s wider level of social stratification, including the burgeoning mulatto middle class which contrasts with Guadeloupe’s notably more ‘African’ populace (we explore this further in Chapter 7).

How did their ideas fit into wider currents in development thinking? What is the state of indigenous development debates today? The answer to the final question should be noted here at the outset. Essentially, in both the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean, as in the development debate at large, something of an ‘impasse’ has been reached (Booth 1985). This manifests itself in different ways, but can be understood as a lack of vibrancy, radicalism, or originality in the kind of debates that are taking place, and, moreover, the dominant paradigm within which development is pursued is generally applied from ‘outside’.

However, aside from this obvious difference, some deeper theoretical questions emerge. Why, for example, did French Caribbean intellectuals seek integration, and their Anglophone counterparts seek independence? How did different thinkers conceptualise the developmental problématique beyond decolonisation? How did their ideas fit into wider currents in development thinking? What is the state of indigenous development debates today? The answer to the final question should be noted here at the outset.

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