This discussion of Peter James Hudson’s Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean focuses on the way transnational banks are revealed to be players of multiple roles in the development of past and present Caribbean economies. The banks were hardly mere stalking horses for imperialism, and their considerable autonomy and self-interest were sometimes at odds with the objectives of both host governments and metropoles. They acquired a cosmopolitan character that allowed them to bypass particular national identities when convenient. Caribbean markets lay at the epicenter of their financial projects, which employed racism as a technology to banking interests, and racial capitalism grafted itself onto existing hierarchical systems. Hudson has shown the banks to be heirs to a long history of Caribbean commerce that tracks the shadowy line between the legal and the illicit and the piracy and smuggling of the past to the money laundering, tax evasion, and drug smuggling of the present.
Dark Finance, Dark People
Brenda Gayle Plummer is the Merze Tate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of works on the African diaspora, Haiti, and African Americans. Her most recent book is In Search of Power: African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956–1974 (2012).
Brenda Gayle Plummer; Dark Finance, Dark People. Small Axe 1 July 2020; 24 (2 (62)): 187–196. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8604598
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