Jamaica under Manley: Dilemmas of Socialism and Democracy


282 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-919946-58-5





Reviewed by Ross Willmot

Ross Willmot is Executive Director of the Ontario Association for
Continuing Education.


This York University teacher and writer has produced an important, well-researched study of the possible effects, in other Third World countries, of such an experiment in social democratic change as Michael Manley attempted in Jamaica. The reasons for the Manley Government’s defeat in 1980 to Seaga’s free enterprise party after eight years of profound social reform are examined in detail with perspicacity. Dr. Kaufman first describes the socioeconomic structure of Jamaica related to international forces as well as to Jamaican politics, class, and race. Then he analyzes the programs of Manley’s People’s National Party. Finally he summarizes the problems faced by the PNP and suggests alternative possibilities of a viable, popular, economic program with ways of building institutions outside the parliamentary arena to defend advances made. Important changes and a decisive shift in social attitudes made by the PNP are detailed. The country’s near-bankruptcy, serious political violence, destabilization, and strikes, as well as the flight of capital, skilled workers, and professionals are not glossed over. Appendices on the role of the International Monetary Fund in Jamaica in the ‘70s (with many economic tables), extensive notes, and a chronology help make the book an excellent reference.


Kaufman, Michael, “Jamaica under Manley: Dilemmas of Socialism and Democracy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/36288.