Book Launch: Essays on the Theory of the Plantation Economy

Event Date(s): 25/02/2010

Location: Faculty of Social Sciences lounge

The UWI Department of Economics will hold a Book Launch for the book Essays on the Theory of the Plantation Economy, written by on February 25th, 2010, from 7-9 pm, at the Faculty of Social Sciences lounge.


Essays on the Theory of the Plantation Economy:

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 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 characterized 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.   

“The book is offers a genuinely ‘indigenous’ perspective on the challenges facing the Caribbean. It is both pioneering in its thrust and sophisticated in content and methodological approach. It is undoubtedly one of the most important economic texts ever produced on the Caribbean.” – Denis Benn, Michael Manley Professor of Public Affairs/Public Policy, University of the West Indies, Jamaica.   

Lloyd Best pioneered the New World Movement and its journal, New World Quarterly; and Tapia, a movement, a journal and a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. 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 the author of Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom and co-author (with Eric St Cyr) of Economic Policy and Management Choices: A Contemporary Economic History of Trinidad and Tobago,1950–2005.   

Kari Polanyi Levitt is Professor Emerita, 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. She is founder of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development and of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy in Canada.


Attendance at this event is by invitation only.