When it came to production and wealth, the colonies of the Golden Circle, that is the plantation colonies of the Caribbean and nearby mainland colonies, far exceeded the Northeastern non-plantation bourgeois colonies.
Dr. Jack Greene, professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, wrote in South Carolina and Barbados Connections: Selections from the South Carolina Historical Magazine (Home House Press, 2011) of the first British plantation colony which served as a mother colony to Carolina and the mainland South:
…Barbados, in 1670, was certainly, as Richard S. Dunn has written, “the richest, most developed, most prosperous, and most congested English colony in America, with a thriving sugar industry and 50,000 inhabitants, including 30,000 Negroes.”
…By 1660, the wealth of Barbados, the earliest and best developed of the island colonies, exceeded that of any other contemporary English overseas possession.
Greene, a liberal academic who was highly critical of the plantation system, went on to write in the same publication that the center of the plantation civilization created the greatest wealth, and as one traveled away from the center toward the Northern colonies the wealth tended to diminish, though even in the Upper South it still exceeded that of the North:
If staple agriculture and slavery brought South Carolina danger for whites and degradation for blacks, it also, by the middle of the eighteenth century brought whites wealth that, while considerably less than that enjoyed by their counterparts in Jamaica, far exceeded that of any other settler population in British North America. Per capita wealth in the Charleston District of South Carolina in 1774 was an astonishing £2,337.7, more than four times that of people living in the tobacco areas of the Chesapeake and nearly six times greater than that of people living in the towns of New York and Philadelphia.