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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 Schumpeter’s discussion of the importance of entrepreneurs to economic development and North’s 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 region’s colonial experiences have hampered past efforts at development.Cet article soutient qu’afin 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 l’influence que ces institutions ont eue sur l’émergence d’une classe entrepreneuriale locale. L’occupation coloniale britannique, selon l’auteur, 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 l’économie et un pessimisme vis-à-vis de la possibilité de succès entrepreneuriaux. En se fondant sur la théorie Schumpeterienne sur le rôle de l’entrepreneur dans le développement économique et sur les travaux de North concernant les institutions informelles, l’auteur 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.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

Volume (Year): 12 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1-29

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:12:y:2002:i:4:n:7
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