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Canterbury book draws international celebration

Published on October 25, 2021

Canterbury book draws international celebration

Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury
Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury

On Oct. 7, the world-renowned Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana in Legon, Ghana, West Africa, brought together scholars from Ghana, the United States, Guyana, Antigua and Nigeria, along with professors from Howard University, Eastern Connecticut State University and SUNY-Stony Brook, for a celebration of Eastern Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury’s highly acclaimed new book, “Caribbean Development in the New Multipolar World Order.”

The book examines capitalism and the role of the United States, the European Union, China and Russia in attempting to dominate global natural resources and markets.

Institute of African Studies Director Dzod-zi Tsi-ka-ta arranged the Zoom meeting, as part of the institute’s prestigious Seminar Series. Dr. Kojo Opoku Aidoo, senior research associate of history and politics at the University of Ghana, served as discussion host and moderator. He said he finds Canterbury’s book to be “very important and a great contribution to the existing body of knowledge on the changing dynamics of global power architecture.”

Canterbury addressed three major areas of concern, including the idea of development alternatives in the new multipolar world order, the current global realignment of economic power that is taking place and CARICOM (Caribbean Community) realignment.

Canterbury said the CARICOM states are in the political independence stage of their historical evolution, from being colonies of imperial European powers. “They have had half a century to transcend the neocolonial trap set for them at the time of their political independence. But, in many of those 50 years, their political economic policies were constrained by a United States-led unipolar global order. Today, there are clear signs that the United States-led unipolar neoliberal global order is ending, and a new multipolar world model is emerging.”

 He also said, the principal challenge for the CARICOM states in the 21st century is to create an autonomous economic and social development strategy for the region. “They must reverse neoliberal financialization and pursue a more win-win self-reliant financial architecture working people by providing them with ample social protection that sustains their right to work, decent income, equality and food security.”

Adryan Wallace

Dennis Canterbury

Chika Mba

Kojo Opoku Aidoo

Peter Ikhane

Canterbury said economic indicators in the CARICOM demonstrates the extent of the crisis in the region’s economies. “The data provided by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019 shows that the Caribbean Community states failed to reach a two percent annual growth rate in gross domestic product between 2010 and 2018. Also, in 2019, the percent annual growth rate in gross domestic product ranged between -1.7 and 1.9 percent.”

Canterbury said additional studies show a major global realignment of economic power taking place from the United States and Europe, led by China. The studies “show the financial capitalists at the center of the system are embroiled in efforts to protect their interests, while maintaining their hegemony over the world capitalist production processes.”

Canterbury’s new book, “Caribbean Development in the New Multipolar World Order.”
Canterbury’s new book, “Caribbean Development in the New Multipolar World Order.”

Canterbury said research shows “the United States must share the world stage with China, which has joined the ranks of great powers: Russia and the EU, which exercises imperialist powers in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Two obvious stumbling blocks in this endeavor, said Canterbury, are the region’s historic ties with Europe and its geographic proximity to the United States, “which considers the Caribbean as its front yard or back yard. Unfortunately, the United States exercises its military and economic power and leverage to rein in recalcitrant CARICOM states, as recent examples of American gun boat politics in Guyana, Jamaica and Grenada have shown. But the CARICOM does not have to be apologetic in declaring its intent to pursue appropriate strategies to take advantage of the global realignment of economic power.”

Adryan Wallace, a Ford Fellow, author, assistant professor of African Studies at Stony Brook University and director of the Stony Brook Ghana Study Abroad Program, described Canterbury’s book as “pivotal and absolutely essential, particularly now with COVID. The book’s analysis shows the historical economic relationship between the Caribbean community and the rest of the global economy and the economic dynamics of the pandemic, which focuses on profit and inequality. Dr. Canterbury’s book challenges us to expose the inequality in the world and offers new approaches to economic development that could serve as models for the rest of the world.”

Peter Ikhane, an international specialist in the philosophy of international development, and lecturer at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, described Canterbury’s book as a “wonderful work, well-written and providing great insight into Caribbean development.”

Scholars from Guyana, Antigua, Howard University and Eastern’s Sociology Professors Kim Dugan and Cara Bergstrom-Lynch enjoyed an interesting and lively discussion on China’s investment in infrastructure throughout the Caribbean.

Written by Dwight Bachman