Convergence of Caribbean Economies: A Critique
AbstractIn his paper 'A New Frontier for Caribbean Convergence', Winston Dookeran attempted to define how the Caribbean region should respond to new global challenges. He rightly identified a conflict between integration and convergence, in that structural integration is a problem that could be overcome by greater convergence, the latter defined as regional expansion with increased competitiveness via financial integration and the clustering of industries in which private-public-sector partnerships have an important role to play. We argue here that, although Dookeran's analysis opens up important lines of enquiry, there are three primary omissions in this idea of convergence: first, the use of supply push, meaning the development of regional capital markets, systems of transport and communications, the pooling of resources, and an expanded education sector; second, how the demand for this supply push will be selected and generated; and finally, how to overcome the current production mores of the region's entrepreneurs, which are grounded in a culture of import-buy-sell which is sustained by one-horse export economies. We suggest that, by creating a national - or even regional - innovation system it may be possible to transform the on-shore sectors into genuinely export-oriented sectors.