Revisiting the Plantation Society

The New World Group and the Critique of Capitalism

Scott Timcke
This paper examines the critique of capitalism provided by the New World Group. Emerging from the West Indian Society for the Study of Social Issues at The University of The West Indies, Mona, the Group was formed in 1963 specifically to address the reformation of social and political forces in the wake of Caribbean territories gaining formal independence from European colonial powers. This reformation was broader than the political-economy, it included psychological and ideological reworkings, all items necessary to evaluate the kinds societies West Indians could strive for. Set within intra-Marxist debates on early capitalist development, this paper focuses on the collaboration and creative tensions between Norman Girvan, George Beckford, and Lloyd Best as they helped one another construct their respective political philosophy, social theory, and economic analysis of the logic of plantation societies, which while incomplete from our vantage, did mostly capture the historical dynamics found in the Caribbean.