Sugar research was only one of a large number of new projects created with the passing of the 1940 Colonial Development and Welfare Act. The Act included a Research Fund that made the Colonial Office the second largest sponsor of civil scientific research in Britain. Scientists and officials spoke of the need to use the Research Fund to support more ‘fundamental research’. The key value that informed the new arrangements intended to expand fundamental research was ‘freedom’. Scientists at the Colonial Office claimed that for the highest quality research to occur, scientists had to be free to choose their own research problems. When it came to sponsoring sugar research as the basis for new industry, freedom was also key. The Colonial Office formed a Colonial Products Research Council to fund research into the basic reactions of sugar, avoiding narrowly defined problems that directly related to the work of any individual firm. Researchers would pursue research of the broadest possible nature, leaving individual companies to apply the results according to their interests. In this way, state-sponsored research would not contravene the principles of liberal political economy.
moderns over the ancients. This spirit had pushed back the boundaries of
knowledge, and paved the way for future progress. Providentialism,
however, was neither as pervasive nor as powerful as he suggests; in one
neglected area crucial to Britain’s ascent, namely, politicaleconomy, divine will featured much less prominently. 4 The rise of commercial society and
the attendant problems of liberal governmentality demanded more
imports in an effort to support local business.
With its rejection of tariffs and the provision of tax holidays and duty-free imports, the legislation of Shenfield and Gomes was in keeping with the recommendations of the Colonial Office. The Trinidad ordinances were underpinned by an attachment to a more liberal politicaleconomy than the more far-reaching and state-directed strategies advocated by Lewis or the Caribbean Commission. One account of the emergence of the Pioneer Industries Legislation in Trinidad claims that Gomes acknowledged in his
research on the lines of the sugar research that was done at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad funded by the CPRC. 68
Aside from rejecting the proposals that came out of the industrial survey of 1948 on the grounds of politicaleconomy, the Colonial Office also expressed its concern about the political implications of the proposals set out by Fauvel, describing them as ‘controversial and far-reaching’. 69 The new instruments of the Caribbean Commission recommended by Fauvel and the US Section threatened to give the
to restore finances after the massive debts incurred by 1857, an income
tax was levied on urban elites; more fundamentally, the politicaleconomy of India was oriented toward the export of agricultural raw
In this period of post-traumatic shock and ensuing
stabilization more measured responses to Indian affairs were heard.
Kaye, who had written with such calm authority on the good government
Julie Evans, Patricia Grimshaw, David Philips, and Shurlee Swain
In 1841, Herman Merivale, professor of
politicaleconomy at Oxford University and soon to be appointed
under-secretary of state for the colonies, made the following remarks about
the nature of colonisation:
The history of the European settlements in
America, Africa, and Australia, presents everywhere the same general
features – a
domain of the politicaleconomy of the poor, it has opened up useful
avenues of inquiry into his contribution to an understanding of their
racial and cultural identity. 66 In a valuable analysis of Mayhew, Karel
Williams has demonstrated that the non-unitary, unstable and
unsystematic qualities of the material published in the Morning
Chronicle and London Labour and the London Poor both
industrial progress. This rationale carefully delineated government funding of industrial research so that the involvement of the state in manufacturing did not compromise the tenets of liberal politicaleconomy.
Wiggins and his team pursued a number of lines of enquiry at the new laboratory in the grounds of the ICTA. These included the first in-depth study to identify the chemical constituents of cane juice and the production of itaconic acid by cultures of a fungus, aspergillus terreus , grown on a sugar medium. Itaconic acid could be used to make
interests. The argument that is made here is that while the late colonial period was a high-water mark for state-led development in Britain’s colonies, a time when there was unprecedented emphasis on science and much talk of planning, the vision of British West Indian economic development employed by the Colonial Office was essentially liberal in character.
Aside from providing a resolution to a central issue in the politicaleconomy of industrial development, knowledge and expert advice also became increasingly important to the maintenance of Britain’s control over
W. Arthur Lewis, 1913–91, born St Lucia;
studied London School of Economics; editor of League of Coloured
Peoples journal, The Keys 1935–36; taught at LSE
1938–47; author of Labour in the West Indies (1939);
wartime civil servant in Board of Trade and Colonial Office; Stanley
Jevons professor of politicaleconomy, University of Manchester