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later, a crowd attacked Government House in Bridgetown, Barbados. Four days of unrest followed across the sugar estates of the island, including attacks on shops and lorries and instances of arson, and the Royal Navy were called again. The next year, police fired on a group of protestors at a sugar estate in Frome, Jamaica, leading to a period of violence in the colony. This time the British government responded by appointing a Royal Commission, headed by Lord Moyne, to investigate the conditions that had provoked Caribbean populations to protest on such a scale

in Science at the end of empire
Experts and the development of the British Caribbean, 1940–62

This book produces a major rethinking of the history of development after 1940 through an exploration of Britain’s ambitions for industrialisation in its Caribbean colonies. Industrial development is a neglected topic in histories of the British Colonial Empire, and we know very little of plans for Britain’s Caribbean colonies in general in the late colonial period, despite the role played by riots in the region in prompting an increase in development spending. This account shows the importance of knowledge and expertise in the promotion of a model of Caribbean development that is best described as liberal rather than state-centred and authoritarian. It explores how the post-war period saw an attempt by the Colonial Office to revive Caribbean economies by transforming cane sugar from a low-value foodstuff into a lucrative starting compound for making fuels, plastics and medical products. In addition, it shows that as Caribbean territories moved towards independence and America sought to shape the future of the region, scientific and economic advice became a key strategy for the maintenance of British control of the West Indian colonies. Britain needed to counter attempts by American-backed experts to promote a very different approach to industrial development after 1945 informed by the priorities of US foreign policy.

The work of the CPRC to identify new uses for sugar was incorporated into Colonial Office plans to encourage industrial development in Britain’s Caribbean colonies. Expanding on its role as a sponsor of research at British universities, the CPRC created a new laboratory for sugar research in Trinidad in 1951 with the goal of inspiring West Indian sugar producers to diversify their interests and establish chemical factories in the Caribbean. A second laboratory was created in Trinidad to carry out research into microbiological problems

in Science at the end of empire

In 1941 the Colonial Office made a commitment to fund scientific research into the chemistry of sugar. If sugar cane could be used to make plastics, building materials, drugs and other synthetic products, then it was hoped the British West Indies would find themselves in the fortunate position of being producers of a lucrative raw material for the chemical industry rather than a low-value foodstuff. This was a vision that endowed laboratory research with the power to transform the economic and social life of the British West Indies. But how

in Science at the end of empire

promoted as institutions at the cutting edge of international scientific research whilst at the same time performing an important service in stimulating industry across the British Caribbean and wider Colonial Empire. The potential of new industry based on the use of cane sugar was endorsed in a report sponsored by the Caribbean Commission, and singled out for praise by the mission of British industrialists that had visited the Caribbean in 1952. When Colonial Office officials considered the achievements of Britain in terms of technical work of benefit to the colonies

in Science at the end of empire
An instituted economic process approach

12 Markets, supermarkets and the macro-social shaping of demand: an instituted economic process approach Mark Harvey It is not because an English washerwoman cannot sit down to breakfast without tea and sugar, that the world has been circumnavigated; but it is because the world has been circumnavigated that an English washerwoman requires tea and sugar for breakfast [4]. According to the power of exchanging are the desires of individuals and societies [3]. But every increase of desires, or wants, has a tendency to supply the means of gratification [2] … In

in Innovation by demand
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Science and industrial development: lessons from Britain’s imperial past

into cane sugar, with the aim of generating power alcohols, plastics and drugs that could be commercially produced. This was an ambitious plan in which the transformation of sugar into an industrial raw material would supposedly allow the British West Indies to escape the trap of being producers of low-value foodstuffs in oversupply. It was also a vision that confirmed the liberal values of the Economics Department of the Colonial Office. The Colonial Office committed funds for the scientific study of cane sugar on the basis that firms would take up the production of

in Science at the end of empire

conditions that Trinidad was facing, including some economic diversification. In the post-war period, Trinidad was almost completely reliant on two industries, sugar and oil, and of these, the sugar industry was in poor shape. Production of sugar had fallen dramatically during the war. In 1944 an inquiry chaired by F. C. C. Benham, the Economic Advisor of the CDW Org, had described Trinidad’s sugar industry as ‘heading towards extinction’. Wartime conditions were responsible on two counts – soaring food prices had led independent cane farmers to switch to producing food

in Science at the end of empire
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dissent. Colonial Office plans included a vision of economic development that gave a key role to scientific research. The Colonial Office was inspired by recent discoveries such as nylon, polythene and penicillin to sponsor laboratory research that would transform sugar from a low-value foodstuff into a starting compound for the expanding chemical and fermentation industries. The expectation was that new factories producing the constituents of plastics, drugs and fuels from sugar would be established in the Caribbean itself. In this vision of industrialisation, state

in Science at the end of empire
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Frontier patterns old and new

the second boom in the price of sugar, the fear of increasing costs resulting from the abolition of slavery, and growing difficulties in obtaining property sales of plantations encumbered by high mortgages and with the abandonment of certain estates, a dramatic change occurred, in perceptions of both the fabulously wealthy West Indian and the value of a close colonial relationship. The change leads

in Frontiers of the Caribbean