East Asia and Pacific; Africa; Middle East and North Africa; Latin America & Caribbean
Summary: In economics, as in biology, small islands can provide illuminating examples of the interactions of internal dynamics and external pressures in a restricted space. This book examines five small open economies - Hong Kong, Singapore, Jamaica, Mauritius, and Malta - and traces how they dealt with the opportunities and challenges of the postcolonial world. Through a comparative study of their social, political, and economic structures and development, the authors attempt to account for differences in the growth performance of these economies over the latter part of the twentieth century. No one path has proved to be a sure road to success. The resource-poor city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore - one with a laissez-faire government, the other more interventionist - have prospered economically while improving their distribution of income. Jamaica, despite its agricultural and mineral resources, has been the least successful, perhaps because competing parties have pushed redistribution at the expense of growth. Mauritius, a multiethnic society, has turned to manufactured exports and tourism as an alternative to reliance on sugar production. Malta overcame the shock of losing a British naval base and has grown rapidly. This volume is the sixth to emerge from the comparative study "The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity, and Growth," sponsored by the World Bank. Each volume provides both a historical narrative and a deeper explanation of how and why a selected pair of group of countries had their particular experiences of growth and income distribution between 1950 and 1985.
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