Aspects of the economic evolution of Malta since independence in 1964

Oglethorpe, Miles K. (1983) Aspects of the economic evolution of Malta since independence in 1964. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

At independence in 1964, Malta's economy remained entirely dependent upon
the revenue and employment provided by the British and NATO fortress on
the Islands. The implications of this dependence were serious as, in 1957,
the British Ministry of Defence had announced its intention to run down,
and eventually to terminate its military involvement in the Maltese Islands.
Faced with the imminent loss of a substantial proportion of the economy's
revenue and employment, successive Maltese Governments (of both the major
political parties) adopted vigorous economic diversification strategies.
It was generally accepted that domestically generated economic development
was impossible, and that economic diversification could only be achieved
through the deliberate attraction of overseas enterprise. Multinational
Corporations (MNCs) were therefore invited to participate in, and develop
the three crucial sectors of the Maltese economy - the dockyards, the new
manufacturing sector, and tourism.
Inevitably, the attraction of MNCs into the crucial sectors of the economy
ensured that control of the economy was placed in the hands of overseas
entrepreneurs, whose interests were not necessarily consistent with those
of the Maltese Islands. The subsequent development of strongly dependent
dual structures throughout key areas of the Maltese economy had by 1980
induced extreme economic instability.
Given this background, the intention of this thesis has been to evaluate
Malta's post-independence development record. One of the best means of
achieving this aim was seen as to be the adoption and adaption of a number
of themes contained within 'dependency theory'. This avenue of enquiry
has proved to be rewarding in two ways. first, the various concepts of of dependence have helped to shed light upon the development experiences
of Malta. Also important, however, is the fact that the Maltese case has
itself raised many relevant questions concerning the application of
dependency theory in empirical studies.
The thesis itself can be divided into three distinct sections. Section
One briefly discusses development, and then proceeds to examine the concept
of dependence Of particular interest is the degree to which dependency
theory is applicable to small countries, and the role of MNCs in the
generation of dependence. Section Two provides the essential historical
background to Malta's current position, and Section Three sets about
examining in some detail the development of the Maltese economy, with
particular reference to the growth of manufacturing industry and tourism.
The conclusions of the thesis again fall into two distinct groups. With
respect to dependency theory, it seems that dependency themes can be of
substantial use in the evaluation of a country's development process.
With respect to Malta, it is apparent that Malta in the 1980s is facing
a crisis of dependence that is rather more severe than that which faced
the Islands at independence in 1964. The problem has clearly been that
of excess dependence upon MNC subsidiaries. On the one hand, MNCs are
seen as essential due to the inability of the domestic economy to generate
its own industry. On the other hand, the dependent structures that have
ensued have proved to be unstable and unreliable. Clearly, a compromise
situation is desirable in which Government intervention ensures that
foreign industries are attracted to the Islands, but that they are
attracted selectively, and that their less desirable activities are
meticulously restricted by the Government.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Supervisor's Name: Morris, Dr. Arthur
Date of Award: 1983
Depositing User: Miss Louise Annan
Unique ID: glathesis:1983-6623
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2015 10:48
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 15:22
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6623

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