Copyright © 2007 International Development Options
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Volume Four Winter 2006-Spring 2007 Numbers 3-4.
Theme: Global Labor Migration and Emerging Trends in Development Finance: An Assessment of the
Economic and Social Impact of Migrant (Worker) Remittances in Central America and the Caribbean
THE IMPORTANCE OF REMITTANCES FOR THE CARIBBEAN'S FUTURE TRANSCENDS THEIR
Department of Geography
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Published Online: February 10, 2017
Early research on remittances focused on the unproductive nature of recipient expenditures and the impact of the various problems associated with return migration on Caribbean post-colonial societies. The first part of this conceptual re-appraisal of the increasing importance of remittances questions this mistaken early view and advocates the need for a change in the direction(s) of assessment. The second part of the article presents a more inclusive conceptualization of Caribbean transnational migration-remittances systems. It is argued that as interlinked and contemporary global-to-local phenomenon, remittances, return migration and transnational network formation are migration-determined, social, economic and political forces of considerable value to the future development of the Caribbean. Beyond the macroeconomic impact of remittances, there are complex, flexible strategies and behaviors that ensue, which are derived from the nexus of remittances-migration-transnational network inter-relationships being forged between Caribbean ‘homelands’ and their overseas citizenry. The resulting greater mobility of different forms of capital – human, social, cultural and resource-rich — bring external and internal benefits, rather than dependency and vulnerability. A set of consequences for local societal change and local development also follow, some of which might well be constructive and productive, entrepreneurial and innovative.