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The models are conceptualisations, advance to explain Caribbean societies. They were attempts to make sense of the Caribbean social reality while using theoretical ideas from classical sociology. They were therefore articulations, explanations and conceptualisations. The models used to explain Caribbean societies were the creole model, the plantation model and the plural society model. This essay will critically access the plantation society model and then a comparison will be made between the creole society model and the plural society model to show the relevance of the plantation society in the contemporary Caribbean societies.
A contemporary society is a modern society in which the human beings are interacting closely, business entities competing and the technological, politico-economics and socio-cultural factors has a large impact on these interactions. The plantation society model was heavily based on Marxism. This model is very radical in its outlook, it is a wide range model and it seeks to explain stratification, as well as under development. Theorists who proposed this model stated that the plantation society developed in stages. These four stages are: the absence of society, pure plantation society, plantation society modified, and the plantation society further modified stage. The plantation society model has sought to explain wide ranging aspects of the political economy of Caribbean societies. The Pure Plantation Economy which was discussed by Rose, E. (2002) examines the different phases of the plantation economy as outlined by Best and Levitt. The pure plantation economy phase began in the 1600s and ended in the year1838 this phase originated from the old mercantilism period which began with European exploration and colonization of the Caribbean at the end of the fifteenth century. It is significant in that it established the framework for the Caribbean as an overseas economy of distant metropolitan powers, where most decisions concerning the territories were made. Imperialism, mercantilism and slavery ensured that the income generated from plantation production served to promote industrialization and development in metropolitan countries. As a consequence, dependence on outside forces was instituted into the Caribbean economy from the outset. Apart from land all the requirements of the plantation economy were imported. The metropolitan powers provided organisation, capital, transport, supplies, markets and even slave labour from West Africa.
This phase was characterized by the establishment of slave-based plantation institutions to produce export staples. The economies did not experience any considerable or sustained relief from their dependence on the export staple. The local economy was composed entirely of the plantation sector with no internal interdependence. Each plantation operated as an independent unit that was linked to a metropolitan Merchant House through a joint-stock trading company, and as a result, each secured its supplies from and disposed of its output through its own metropolitan agent. As a result, there was no structural interdependence in within the pure plantation economy system, either between production units or between production and consumption units. The pure plantation economy was conceived as part of the metropolitan economy and served as a highly successful and profitable enterprise for its European colonizers in its foundational period. On the other hand, it laid the foundation for the region’s underdevelopment and economic dependence and its subordinate position in within the international division of labour. The third stage of the plantation economy was the Plantation Economy Modified. This phase was created because adjustments were forced upon the plantation during the first half of the nineteenth century according to Best and Levitt. The period was characterized by two principal modifications: the abolition of slavery and the removal of imperial preference for sugar by Britain as it entered the free trade era. These developments led to other adjustments such as the emergence of a peasant class of mainly former black slaves on non-plantation land, a new wave of mainly indentured labour mainly from India and a rationalization of the plantation sector. The ex-slaves did not have any other skill or training than tilling the land. Not only were the ex-slaves in completion with the planter class for land but they also competed for other resources, especially farming equipment, credit, marketing facilities and domestic markets. Government was geared to the maintenance of the plantation sector and thereby checked the expansion of the peasantry and of domestic agriculture.
The last phase/stage was the Plantation Economy Further Modified stage. This stage is characterized by import substitution industrialization, the growth of new mineral export sectors like bauxite and petroleum and the extensive promotion of tourism as an industry, all these activities fuelled by an inflow of foreign capital investment. Despite the high rates of growth in this era, many of the features of the pure plantation era are replicated in this modern period, notwithstanding the prominent role played by the state in most of the economic initiatives developed in the post-1945 era. For Best and Levitt, the transnational corporations which have come to play such a dominant role in the Caribbean economy serve just as effectively to integrate the region just as effectively into the metropolitan economic system as did the joint stock trading companies of the pure plantation era. Far from breaking the plantation legacy, the post war development strategy of the region has only reinforced the constraints of Caribbean economic history. The defining feature of Caribbean development which remains is the high level of foreign ownership and control. The plantation economy was a dependent economy that resulted from Caribbean land, African slave labour and European capital as a settlement, plantation institutions brought together enterprise, capital, and labour from various parts of the world into the Caribbean where land was free and available for production of a staple. In the process a system of authority and control was vested in the institution.
One of the scholars associated with this model was George Beckford. Persistent poverty was written by George Beckford, and in this book, it was discussed how the Caribbean needed to delink from the global capitalist economic system. Beckford argued that the plantation economy is a form of dependant capitalism. The major characteristics of these economies were foreign domination, the monopoly control of resources, rigid class race hierarchies, political elitism and patronage and persistent poverty and alienation for the masses.
In his book George Beckford states that we must ask our -selves the question of why the plantation economies have been left behind? And why is that after four hundred years of direct participation in the modern world economy the plantation economies of the world still find themselves underdeveloped and countries with the bulk of their inhabitants living or rather existing in the most wretched conditions of poverty? The plantation was introduced into certain countries of the third world by the metropolitan nations of the north Atlantic for the benefit of these nations. The people of these third world countries have inherited the plantation system and all the legacies which come with it. Although many of these countries have achieved constitutional independence the planting system with all its inherent social hierarchies and central authority and dependence on the outside world still dominates the lives of their people in fundamental ways. The creole society model was based on structural functionalist view. The social scientists who used this model to explain Caribbean scientist were interested in how descendants of slaves and interested in how descendants of slaves and slave masters went about creating a society that held together themes of structural functional

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