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All We've learnt: Colonial Teachings and Caribean Underdevelopment


  • Storr Virgil Henry

    (George Mason University)


This paper argues that in order to understand West Indian economic underdevelopment, the saliency of the informal institutions that emerged during its colonial period and the effect these institutions have had on the emergence of a local entrepreneurial class can not be discounted. British colonial occupation, I contend, gave rise to two persistent informal institutions that have affected development: a belief in the ability and responsibility of government to direct the economy and pessimism regarding the possibility of entrepreneurial success. Relying on Schumpeters discussion of the importance of entrepreneurs to economic development and Norths work on informal institutions, I examine how the poverty of entrepreneurs in the region and the cultures of corruption, privilege and intervention that evolved as a result of the regions colonial experiences have hampered past efforts at development.Cet article soutient quafin de comprendre le sous-développement économique des Caraïbes, il est important de ne pas négliger la prédominance des institutions informelles qui ont émergé durant la période coloniale et linfluence que ces institutions ont eue sur lémergence dune classe entrepreneuriale locale. Loccupation coloniale britannique, selon lauteur, a donné naissance à deux institutions informelles persistantes qui ont affecté le développement : une conviction dans la capacité et la responsabilité du gouvernement à diriger léconomie et un pessimisme vis-à-vis de la possibilité de succès entrepreneuriaux. En se fondant sur la théorie Schumpeterienne sur le rôle de lentrepreneur dans le développement économique et sur les travaux de North concernant les institutions informelles, lauteur examine comment la rareté des entrepreneurs dans la région et la corruption, les privilèges et les interventions qui ont évolué en résultat des expériences coloniales de la région, ont entravé les efforts de développement dans le passé.

Suggested Citation

  • Storr Virgil Henry, 2002. "All We've learnt: Colonial Teachings and Caribean Underdevelopment," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 12(4), pages 1-29, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:12:y:2002:i:4:n:7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Emily Chamlee-Wright, 2005. "Entrepreneurial Response to “Bottom-up” Development Strategies in Zimbabwe," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 5-28, January.
    2. Peter J. Boettke (ed.), 1994. "The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 53.
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    Cited by:

    1. Virgil Henry Storr, 2015. "Weber’s spirit of capitalism and the Bahamas’ Junkanoo ethic," Chapters,in: Culture and Economic Action, chapter 11, pages 243-266 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Laura E. Grube, 2015. "The role of culture in the persistence of traditional leadership: evidence from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa," Chapters,in: Culture and Economic Action, chapter 17, pages 375-397 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Shruti Rajagopalan & Virgil Storr, 2012. "The rationality of taking to the hills," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 53-62, March.
    4. Virgil Henry Storr, 2015. "Context matters: the importance of time and place in economic narratives," Chapters,in: Culture and Economic Action, chapter 8, pages 180-204 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Solomon Stein & Virgil Storr, 2013. "The difficulty of applying the economics of time and ignorance," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 27-37, March.
    6. Virgil Storr, 2011. "On the hermeneutics debate: An introduction to a symposium on Don Lavoie's “The Interpretive Dimension of Economics—Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxeology”," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 85-89, June.
    7. Virgil Henry Storr & Bridget Colon, 2015. "Subalternity and entrepreneurship: tales of marginalized but enterprising characters, oppressive settings and haunting plots," Chapters,in: Culture and Economic Action, chapter 15, pages 337-354 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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