Jamaica in the Twenty-First Century: Contending Choices Grace Kennedy Foundation, Kingston: 2001
Sixteen years after its delivery as the Grace Kennedy Lecture 2001, Jamaica in the 21st Century: Contending Choices has been validated in its assertion that demographics, ecology, knowledge and technological revolution will continue to be the imperatives driving change in human society and civilization as they have been in previous millennia and centuries. Moreover, several of the noted trends in globalization, regionalization, political economy and middle-income countries in 2000 are already proving to be prophetic in the first two decades of the century. This includes the observation that the rise and decline of nations that have marked the history of civilization will continue in the 21st century.
Jamaica is located in the global matrix of change as a modern country of lesser means that has been integrated into the West for the last five hundred years. Jamaica’s future is the 21st century is discussed with respect to three broad scenarios: Forward to the Past, Freezing the Present State of Flux, and A Date with Destiny: Fashioning a Just Society. Each of these scenarios is discussed in detail with respect to the choices by political parties, corporations, unions, schools, and people that would bring them about. Each of these scenarios is also evaluated in the effort, risks, and consequences likely in the 21st century. The conclusion is the third option even if globalization proves to be a downward spiraling sinkhole for small and middle-income countries bearing in mind the counsel of Jamaican poet Claude McKay to those facing hopeless odds.