Political Economies of Sugar: Views from a Former Sugar Cane Industry

Marisa Wilson, Vishala Parmasad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Recent transformations of sugar landscapes in the West Indies have accompanied ideological shifts in discussions of development and trade, as trade blocs like the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) and countries like Trinidad and Tobago are drawn into the global race for so-called ‘sustainable economic development’ (Bernal 2008a). In this chapter we show how international political economies of sugar in the past established ‘pathways of power’ (Wolf 2001) traceable to the present, if increasingly under the material and discursive influence of neoliberal models for development. Such powerful nodes are present both within and between countries, though global institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization set the rules for global market entry which are often more amenable to countries of a more ‘developed’ status. By comparing interconnected scales of sugar production and consumption, we offer a more empirical view of the history, economics and politics of sugar than more structural accounts of sugar’s political economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDietary Sugars and Health
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Biology to Policy
EditorsMichael Goran, Luc Tappy, Kim-Anne Le, Stanley Ulijaszek
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-1-46-659377-0
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2014


  • sugar, health, politics, economics, west indies, trinidad


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