By Carl Stone

 

Abstract

A great deal has been written about Caribbean economic problems and policy issues, but no effort has been made thus far to develop a typology of Caribbean economies based on a careful qualitative and quantitative appraisal of the critical differences and similarities among the various economies of the region. This paper represents a tentative step in this direction. The focus is both on structural features of Caribbean economies as well as on levels of performance and advancement, which together facilitate a framework for developing comparisons. The objective is to reach beyond typology construction and to establish a basis for evaluating economic policy progress comparatively by identifying the limits inherent in these structural features and the critical variables or forces associated with economic advancement in the postwar period.

The conclusion drawn is that an emphasis on export orientation is unavoidable in the region, but that this has to be combined with strategic import substitution in basic-goods production, strategies for diversification of asset ownership, and forms of management to ensure a maximum spread of benefits to the majority classes. In short, Caribbean economies must walk on "two legs" to develop beyond their present levels.