Globalizing the Caribbean

Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class

Jeb Sprague
Book Cover

PB: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1655-1
Publication: Aug 20

HC: $74.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1654-4
Publication: Jul 19

Ebook: $74.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1656-8
Publication: Jul 19

346 pages
6 x 9
12 tables, 36 figs., 3 maps

How global capitalism finds new ways to mutate and grow in the Caribbean

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


The beautiful Caribbean basin is fertile ground for a study of capitalism past and present. Transnational corporations move money and use labor around the region, as national regulations are reworked to promote conditions benefiting private capital. Globalizing the Caribbean offers a probing account of the region’s experience of economic globalization while considering gendered and racialized social relations under conditions of the exploitation of workers.

Jeb Sprague focuses on the social and material nature of this new era in the history of world capitalism. He combines an historical overview of capitalism in the region with theoretical analysis backed by case studies. Sprague elaborates upon the role of class formation, marginalization, and the restructuring of local states. He considers both U.S. hegemony, and how various upsurges from below and crises occur. He examines the globalization of the cruise ship and mining businesses, looks at the growth of migrant labor and reverse flow of remittances, and describes the evolving role of export processing and supranational associations. In doing so, Sprague shows how transnationally oriented elites have come to rule the Caribbean, and how capitalist globalization in the region occurs alongside shifting political, institutional, and organizational dynamics.


"Jeb Sprague has made a major contribution by updating the study of the Caribbean to the current era of transnational capital.... (E)ye opening in its breadth of detail, and its forceful exposure of contemporary capitalism and originality.... Sprague has accomplished what should become a classic work on contemporary Caribbean conditions. Breaking through limited nation-centric viewpoints, he has given us a book built on original theoretical analysis and backed by fully grounded research to uncover how global capitalism has transformed social relations in the Caribbean."
— Race & Class

In this, his latest book, Jeb Sprague has demonstrated without doubt that he is one of the premier analysts of the Caribbean, a sprawling region that has been of profound significance for the North American mainland for centuries. With a deft writing style and a profound penchant for sophisticated analysis, Sprague has written a book that will fascinate students of economics, history, political science, and Caribbean studies alike.
Gerald Horne, author of The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean

This important new book provides a comprehensive political economy of global capitalism in the Caribbean. From the ecological impact of the cruise ship industry to growing forced labor migration, Sprague reveals the devastating impact of globalization in the region and underlines the need for cross-border strategies to counteract it.
Sujatha Fernandes, author of Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela

As the first book specifically on the transnational capitalist class in the Caribbean, Sprague documents the sweeping changes to the region’s political economy over the late-20th and early-21st centuries. He skillfully analyses the particularities and contradictions of this process, its different populations, industries, and institutions. This book reinvigorates an interest in the political economy of the region, showing how capitalist globalization combines long histories of colonial capitalism with the contemporary role of U.S. imperialism and new supranational organizations. This is a vital read not only for scholars and students interested in the sociology of the Caribbean basin but to all those interested in global studies and international political economy.
Leslie Sklair, author of The Transnational Capitalist Class

" It is heartening to see Sprague digging deep into the eternal verities of class and power relations. This social cartography of global capitalism in the Caribbean is both exhilaratingly wide ranging and reassuringly detailed and well researched. While the author describes a number of labor, social, and political movements that conflict and engage in different ways with the hegemonic discourse and increasingly repressive manipulations of the transnational elites, his conclusion is somber: the future is either a postcapitalist progressive world or barbarism."
Ankie Hoogvelt, author of Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development

" Jeb Sprague’s new book Globalizing the Caribbean makes an outstanding, innovative and timely contribution to the scholarly literature on the political economy of the Caribbean in the moment of global capitalism. The study spans the hispanophone, francophone and anglophone Caribbean, and pays careful attention to problems and challenges that affect the entire region. The book, which targets college students, scholars, policy makers and others in the Caribbean and beyond, provides an intellectually stimulating political economy perspective that offers a sound alternative to the cultural/literary turn in Caribbean studies in an updated manner for the 21st century."
Hilbourne Watson, editor of Globalization, Sovereignty and Citizenship in the Caribbean

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Selected Abbreviations

1. The Caribbean and Global Capitalism
2. The Challenge of Understanding Social Formation in the Global Era
3. History of the Modern Caribbean
4. The Caribbean Cruise Ship Business and the Emergence of a Transnational Capitalist Class
5. Migration, Remittances, and Accumulation in the Globalizing Caribbean
6. Globally Competitive Export Processing and Exploitation in the Caribbean
7. From International to Transnational Mining: The Industry’s Shifting Political Economy and the Caribbean
Conclusion: Transnational Processes and the Restructuring of the Caribbean’s Political Economy


About the Author(s)

Jeb Sprague is a Research Associate at the University of California, Riverside, and formerly taught at the University of Virginia and at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti, and the editor of Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania. He is a founding member of the Network for Critical Studies of Global Capitalism (NCSGC). Visit him online at: