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Managing the hinterland beyond: Two ideal-type strategies of economic development for small island territories

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Rarely does one come across critical analysis which looks at islands as the strategic and candid promoters of a role as political and economic usufructuaries over external resources. This paper is premised on the proposition that a small territory is especially obliged to use extra-territorial resources as its hinterland for economic success. Such resources extend over a whole range of goods and services and include access to investment, welfare, security, stable currency, international relations, specialised labour power, transfers, markets and higher education. The MIRAB syndrome is one way of articulating this condition. This paper proposes a second cluster of features that are, or can be, deployed by small territories in a manner somewhat different from MIRAB; this second cluster has a more proactive policy orientation and a disposition towards carving out procedural and jurisdictional powers. It is thus proposed to consider a small territory's engagement with the external hinterland as a position on a sliding scale, a strategic mix of options located between two distinct development trajectories, of which MIRAB is one and the PROFIT model the other.

Keywords: MIRAB; PROFIT syndrome; economic development; hinterland; small island

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2006

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