The three contributions are all cast within the same broad argument: That the presence of metropolitan – largely U.S. – subsidiaries in American countries provides the most powerful single explanation of the lack of economic dynamism. The subsidiaries influence on patterns of investment, technology, employment, and trade, seldom squares with national objectives. Against this background Edwin Carrington explores recent industrial policy in Trinidad and Tobago while Norman Girvan and Owen Jefferson comment on the possibility of integration between Latin America and the Caribbean.
The main statement, however, is made by Kari Levitt who attempts a comprehensive analysis of the Canadian case. She points to strains in the Canadian Confederation, (which West Indians may find remarkably akin to the forces which broke up their Federation, and Latin Americans very much like those frustrating the aims of LAFTA). Canada is shown to be a branch-plant economy belonging to the Inter-American System even though she is not a card-carrying member, as it were, of the Organization of American States. Ottawa is virtually a client administration of ‘Washington and is everyday becoming more and more so as the locus of power shifts further to the U.S. corporations. Since Canada is “well endowed” with a “modem” North Atlantic culture the inference we are invited to draw is that “underdevelopment” in the’ Americas may have less to do with size, resource endowments, and “traditional” cultures than is normally assumed, and more to do with the location of discretion in the metropolitan centres.
More complete cooperative study of American economies is in hand under the aegis of THE “‘WEST INDIES INDUSTRY PROJECT which gives institutional expression to the kind of collaboration we wish to promote between researchers from rich and poor countries. Such collaboration is based on explorations of the same theoretical hypotheses and use of common methodologies. This approach has already made real communication possible between Associates in North and South America and in the Caribbean.
We had hoped here to present statements on the rhythm of Latin American economic development in the post-war period and on the question of size as a factor in economic survival. But we have had difficulties both with. space and printing. We plan to make the deficiency good in future issues.