The Political Economy of Caribbean Regionalism in the Twenty-First Century: Rebirth or Resuscitation?
CitationRaynold, Curtis. 2012. The Political Economy of Caribbean Regionalism in the Twenty-First Century: Rebirth or Resuscitation? Master's thesis, Harvard Division of Continuing Education.
AbstractAlthough the states comprising the English-speaking Caribbean have much in common, integrating them politically and economically has proven to be an extremely challenging endeavor. All three integration initiatives since 1958 whether political or economic have failed to deliver their economic development and trade expansion goals. Uncompromising insular political interests of the key participants were at the heart of the demise of the West Indies Federation, the Caribbean’s first integration attempt. These interests have continued to be a dominant influence in the outcomes of the later attempts to integrate. Integration efforts have, been hampered by the absence of a strong political commitment to regionalization. Despite the chequered history of Caribbean integration, the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) were established in 2006. That arrangement essentially provided for a deeper form of economic integration, requiring a higher level of political commitment to integration than ever before.
Specifically this paper seeks to answer the question: is this latest arrangement any different from its three predecessors in terms of its expected results? The following discussion shows that while the concept of the CSME is radically different, the current approach to its implementation is not fundamentally different to that of the three previous ventures. As such, it does not represent the rebirth of Caribbean regionalism but rather, an attempt to resuscitate a politically and structurally flawed development strategy. The renewed ambition to integrate is not matched by the requisite political will and commitment to effectively carry the new venture forward. I use a combination of historical, political, and economic analysis as the primary methodological approach to test this hypothesis. I conclude that while a renewed political will might have overcome some past hurdles, that commitment still falls far short of the unified force required to create a robust and deeper form of integration that addresses economic and other challenges and keeps the region afloat in the relentless tidal flow of economic globalization.
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