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Colonialism and the Economy of Caribbean Countries

Colonialism could be defined as the domination of another country over another involving suppression of one people over a more inferior one. The word colonialism came from the Latin words “colonus” which means “farmer” and “imperium” which means “to command” (Khon, 2006). Over the centuries, the distinction between colonialism and imperialism has been causing confusion among the lay men and even among experts. It is because both colonialism and imperialism involve domination and control. One of the known stories ever told in world history, perhaps, is the colonialism of that happened in the Caribbean countries.

Unlike on what other people think that Caribbean is not that important and not complex, Caribbean countries astounds in being a country worth studying manifesting a very complex history and characteristics. History would tell us that the people in Caribbean countries have been actively involved in a string of struggles involving fighting for their own freedom and democracy. The people of Caribbean countries have displayed an outstanding brand of courage ready to fight imperialism and colonialism (Hillman and D`Agostino, 2003).

The United States and a number of European countries have manifested interests in taking control over the Caribbean countries. The natural resources of the country and its being a strategic crossroad would tell us why so many are willing to die just to dominate the Caribbean. More than the culture of Caribbean countries, those who tried to get the Caribbean countries had a great impact on the migration patterns and had a greater impact on the economic characteristics of the Caribbean countries (Hillman and D`Agostino, 2003). Among the problems which hound the Caribbean countries is its economic weakness.

This has been one of the adverse effects of colonialism since the fifteenth century. The skewed political interests of the different countries like those in Europe had also caused the problematic economic characteristic of the Caribbean countries. Although there have been independent efforts by the Caribbean people to boost their economy, they were, unfortunately unsuccessful. The Caribbean countries tried to be involved in the production of clothes, manufacturing of sugar, and the processing of food but all of these ended up being useless to boost their lagging economy (Hillman and D`Agostino, 2003).

This is because the effect of colonialism is also tailing in the Caribbean economy up to now. Certain “colonial” economic policies have been preventing the Caribbean economy to be in full bloom (Harpelle, 1997). Industrialized countries like the United States benefit from the “free-trade policy” which permits a lower tariff for imported goods or products (Hillman and D`Agostino, 2003). This could also be a form of neo colonialism since the interest of a superior country is being taken care of. The reduction of tariffs among the imported goods and products would later cause the local products to profit nothing.

Since the tariffs or taxes paid by the “superior” countries are relatively cheaper, the consumers would, of course, prefer buying imported products that are cheaper. More so, issues related to labor could also be considered as an after-effect of the legacy of colonialism. During the time of colonialism in the Caribbean countries, workers are considered as extremely inferior by their employers thus imposing a very low salary among them. They are also deprived of the benefits that are the vested rights among workers.

In these modern times, the legacies of the violation of the rights of the workers are committed by multi national companies thriving in Caribbean countries. The “colonial mentality” on the imposition of labor policies was handed on. As we know, issues on labor are closely related in a county’s economic condition. This is why no wonder, the economy of Caribbean countries is having a hard time coping with the industrialized countries. The legacies of colonialism would continue to hound the Caribbean countries if “colonial economic policies” would still be implemented.

The economy is a very vital part and foundation of a country which should not be affected by external factors, or in this case, foreign countries. Although the international community is of great help is attaining a booming economy, the interest of the country should always be considered first.

References: D`Agostino, R. H. T. (2003). Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean Boulder, CO 80301 USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers Harpelle, R. (1997). Struggles for Freedom: Essays on Slavery, Colonialism and Culture in the Caribbean and Central America. Canadian Journal of History, 334 Khon, M. (Ed. ) (2006) Stanord Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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