This important book provides a fascinating insight into the conceptual underpinnings of the theory of plantation economy, initiated by Lloyd Best and Kari Levitt in the 1960s, as a basis for analysing the nature of the Caribbean economy. While acknowledging an intellectual debt to Latin American structuralists Raul Prebisch, Celso Furtado and Osvaldo Sunkel, and also to the work of Dudley Seers and William Demas, the authors develop an original and innovative analytical framework as a counter to more 'universalist' models which failed to take account of the Caribbean reality. Their work identifies the main features of the plantation economy as a hinterland characterised by subordination and dependency on the dominant metropole.
Distinguishing between hinterlands of conquest, settlement and exploitation, Best and Levitt analyse the rules that determine this complex relationship with the metropole. Their economic theories are presented against a background of the historical factors that gave rise to the 'structural continuity' of Caribbean economies and which now impede meaningful structural transformation.
Lloyd Best is an internationally recognised economist and Caribbean intellectual whose contribution is captured in the title of his seminal work, Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom. He pioneered the New World Movement and its journal, New World Quarterly. He also founded the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies (now the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies) as a think tank for research and discussion of Caribbean issues. Most of his writings were published as newspaper columns spanning decades of endeavour. He is also the co-author of Economic Policy and Management Choices: A Contemporary Economic History of Trinidad and Tobago, 1950-2005. In 2002 he received the Order of the Caribbean Community. Kari Polanyi Levitt is Professor Emerita in the Department of Economics, McGill University, Canada. Among her publications are Silent Surrender: The Multinational Corporation in Canada, Reclaiming Development: Independent Thought and Caribbean Community, and a comprehensive collection, The George Beckford Papers. From 1989 to 1997, she was Visiting Professor at the Consortium Graduate School and the first George Beckford Professor of Political Economy at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She was founder of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development and of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy in Canada.