As a product of small islands, Demas has introduced the dimension of size into the theoretical discussion. He has raised the important question as to the relation between scale and the institutional framework. In this lies his real contribution as a theorist.
As a planner. however, he falls into a more conventional mould. We have seen him prescribe for the Caribbean, a harmonisation of national and corporation policies, and a simultaneous generation of local centres of decision. This places him comfortably among such expositors of the Puerto Rican school as Moscoso. Mayne, Echcnique, Lewis and Brown. The key measure advocated by this school has been Government promotion of manufacturing industry on a large scale. This programme is expected, ultimately, to teach local industrialists the tricks of enterprise and foreign marketing. Income is expected to rise sufficiently to bring an eventual increase in the local share of investment and a gradual take over of economic control from foreign business. It is anticipated that enough jobs will be created to bring the unemployment rate gradually down and at the same time open the way to a reorganisation of the agricultural sector by, (at least), the consolidation of small holdings. Moreover, the economy is expected to become less vulnerable to disturbances in foreign markets and, in the case of the West Indies, powerful forces towards regional economic integration are expected to emerge.
The experience of Puerto Rico, the best case to date of this programme in operation, suggests that early success can be achieved with income growth only, and at the high price of political independence, yet it is too early to adjudge the programme an over-all failure. But the lagging agriculture, the stickiness of unemployment at a high level, and re-assertion of mercantilist links which now distinguish the Puerto Rican economy, must make Demas, on reflection, wonder how practical is his economics.