Bursting the Bubble: The Pseudo-Development Strategies of Microstates


  • Godfrey Baldacchino

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      Research Officer at the Workers' Participation Development Centre and Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Public Policy, both at the University of Malta, Msida, Malta. He is currently a PhD candidate with the University of Warwick, Coventry, researching labour policy in developing microstates.


Developing microstates are bountiful on the world political map today. Yet the concept of smallness, apart from being relativistic, conjures up a sense of deviation, indicative of a subtle discrimination which implicitly takes large to be normal and preferable. Based on an extensive yet selective literature review, this article suggests that the orthodox development paradigm, in both its liberal and radical traditions, has borne little relevance to small developing states, either in theory or in practice. On looking more closely at the survival strategies of developing micro-economies, it is proposed that a different conceptualization of ‘development’ is warranted; one which, for all its negative connotations, is both plausible and consistent with the peculiar practices of microstates.