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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

                                                                            Copyright © 2000 International Development Options

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Volume Two                                                                      Winter 1999-Spring 2000                                                           Numbers 1-2.

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                                        THEME: CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES: ISSUES AND OPTIONS

       THE IMPORTANCE OF MIGRATION FOR CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT

 

       Dennis Conway

        Department of Geography

        Indiana University

        Bloomington, Indiana 47405

        Published Online: December 15, 2016

 

 

        ABSTRACT

 

Since the incorporation of Caribbean nations into the external spheres of European mercantilism in the sixteenth century, they have both prospered and suffered under colonialism.  They underwent fundamental demo­graphic changes during the plantation era; and their social and economic history is one of successive phases of immigration, emigration, and circulation.  These international mobility processes have both transformed the densely settled Caribbean island systems and contributed to their identities.  While Caribbean insular economies are now struggling to find appropriate frameworks, the current global shifts and neoliberal restructuring of the Western Hemisphere's international realms do not appear to favor the prospects of small island nations.  Migration has invariably been cast as a necessary detriment: as a "safety valve," a "brain drain," an escape, a de-population process, a severing of ties, and a perpetuation of dependency.  Rarely has migration been viewed as a strategic necessity and a global process with multi-faceted consequences, many of which are positive.  This article assesses some of the challenges faced by the island micro-states of the Caribbean in the current world of macro-structural changes, and it identifies some promising potential progressive "development" avenues .  Integral to this assessment is the continuing significance of transnational migration traditions in the lives of the region's people.  There are several ways migration and its consequences are likely to contribute to a sustainable future for Caribbean people and places.  Far from being a negative outcome of persistent underdevelopment, the impact of migration holds out promise for the twenty-first century.

 

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