Caribbean Political Economy

Guyana: The Recent Scramble for its Natural Resources, C.Y. Thomas

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Distinguished Professor C.Y.Thomas assesses Guyana’s macroeconomic performance and outlook and critically evaluates the Guyana-Norway ‘partnership’ to exploit its rainforest potential.

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A Different Future for the Trinidad and Tobago Economy? John Cavanaugh & Robin Broad

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As citizens successfully block a proposed aluminum smelter, is Trinidad and Tobago changing course away from dependence to mega-industrial projects gas to supporting small-scale farmers and fishers?…

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A Tale of Two Disasters, Raffique Shah

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In “Myth of all men created equal”, Raffique Shah documents the double standards revealed by the handling of the Bhopal disaster in 1984, which killed thousands and maimed many more, with that of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster of 2010.

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Part 2: Injustice sows seeds of terrorism Raffique Shah

Every time you have to go through those annoying, intrusive and demeaning security checks at an airport, who do you blame? The ‘terrorists’, of course! Ever stop to wonder why?

Transnational Restructuring and Jamaican Bauxite, Lou Anne Barclay and Norman Girvan

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Revised version of a paper presented at a Pre-Conference on the Global Economic History of Bauxite,,  Paris, September,  2008.

Since the late 1970s, the Jamaican government has progressively changed its policy stance vis-a-vis the Transnational Corporations (TNCs) operating in its bauxite industry from relatively confrontational to relatively accommodating.,   The changes were due to a steep decline in the government’s bargaining power in relation to the traditional TNCs players and to the new players in the global industry; manifested in a dramatic fall in Jamaica’s global bauxite and alumina market share and the perceived need to restore international competitiveness. The policy changes, in the context of the global restructuring of the aluminium industry; resulted in new investment with increases in plant capacity and production; but aggregate returns from the industry have not grown significantly as per unit returns have declined; and the recent global economic slowdown has resulted in plant closures. The paper argues that taxation as a policy tool for securing benefits and externalities from the bauxite industry may have reached the limits of its effectiveness in Jamaica. …

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Company-Country Agreements in Bauxite, Norman Girvan

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” Making the Rules of the Game: Company-Country Agreements in the Bauxite Industry”, Social and Economic Studies, 20,4; December 1971; pp. 378-419

This paper is concerned with statutory and administrative law,,   and written agreements, under which aluminium multinational firms secure access to needed raw materials in in bauxite producing countries. It seeks to show that by means of these agreements the companies institutionalise company-country relationships that are overwhelmingly to the benefit of the former.


MNCs and Dependent Underdevelopment, Norman Girvan

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“Multinational Corporations and Dependent Underdevelopment in Mineral-Export Economies”, Social and Economic Studies, 19, 4 (December 1970), pp. 490-526. This paper was first published under the same title,  by the Economic Growth Center of,  Yale University, as Center Paper No. 182, 1970.

The purpose of this paper is to establish a framework for the analysis of the anatomy of dependent underdevelopment for economies which are structured around,  mineral-export industries operated by large multinational firms. In Hinterland America, the economies of Venezuela, Chile,,  Suriname, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad-Tobago and the Dutch Antilles all fall into this category,  to a greater or lesser degree…

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The Caribbean Bauxite Industry, Norman Girvan

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The Caribbean Bauxite Industry: The Scope for Rationalization and Regional Collaboration. Mona: Institute of Social and Economic Research, (I.S.E.R.), University of the West Indies, 1967; pp.,   26. Also classified as Vol. II, No . 2 of Studies in Regional Economic Integration, (generally known as the “U.W.I. Integration Studies” ); published by the I.S.E.R. in 1967.

The Caribbean Bauxite Industry supplies nine-tenths of the raw material needs of the aluminium industry of North America, which in turn produces 50 percent of world aluminium output….The income created by the various stages of processing and manufacture is substantial…(but) while bauxite has been an important source of economic growth to the Caribbean producers in the past, its economic contribution relative to its potential has been low…it is argued that regional collaboration is essential to the rationalization of the bauxite industry of each Caribbean producer, including Suriname, the Dominican Reublic and Haiti…

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