lewis-the-plantation-school-sept-05

lewis-the-plantation-school-sept-05 - Social and Economic...

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Social and Economic Studies,54:3 (September 2005): 198-221 W.A. Lewis, the Plantation School and Dependency: An Interpretation Norman GIRVAN * Abstract : This paper examines differences and similarities in the approach to economic development of the Plantation School of Caribbean economists and of W.A. Lewis by locating them within their respective theoretical frameworks. By tracing the evolution of Lewis’s thinking in three stages from Caribbean industrialisation to the dual economy and then to trade and development, it identified a change in emphasis in Lewis’s later work that brought him closer to ‘dependency’ explanations of underdevelopment, of which the Plantation School was an expression. It draws attention Lewis’s own perspective on the dependency thesis and the related thesis that imperialism is the cause underdevelopment. The paper goes on to review the Plantation School's critiques of Lewis’s industrialisation model for the Caribbean and its proposals for an alternative theoretical approach in the form of models of Plantation Economy, and compares this to Lewis’s analytical framework to show the differences and similarities. The final section discusses the contemporary relevance of the comparison of the approaches of Lewis and the Plantation School. * Norman Girvan is Professorial Research Fellow at the UWI Institute of International Relations in St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. He was previously Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States, and Professor of Development Studies and University Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), University of the West Indies. This is a revised version of a paper presented at a Demas-Rampersad Memorial Seminar of the Department of Economics, U.W.I. St. Augustine in April 2005. The author wishes to acknowledge the helpful comments of participants at that seminar, as well as the assistance of Denyse Dookie in the revision and preparation of the paper for publication, and remains responsible for any errors it might contain.
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Social and Economic Studies,54:3 (September 2005): 198-221 2 W.A. Lewis, the Plantation School and Dependency: An Interpretation INTRODUCTION Differences between the Plantation School of Caribbean economists and W.A. Lewis over policies for Caribbean industrialisation have long attracted the interest of scholars (Figueroa 1998; Benn 2004: Ch. 5). This paper examines the differences in the context of the respective theoretical frameworks that informed the two approaches. It suggests that a more complete reading of Lewis’s work also reveals significant points of coincidence between the two, and suggests ‘lessons to be learnt’ from the areas of agreement and of disagreement. The paper first traces the evolution of Lewis’s thinking in three stages: Caribbean industrialisation, the dual economy, and trade and development. It suggests that there was a change in emphasis in Lewis’s later work with respect to the implications of low
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