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Page 1: The African e-Journals Project has digitized full text of ...pdfproc.lib.msu.edu/?file=/DMC/African Journals...••development .•• Current theorization. taking into consideration

The African e-Journals Project has digitized full text of articles of eleven social science and humanities journals.   This item is from the digital archive maintained by Michigan State University Library. Find more at: http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/africanjournals/

Available through a partnership with

Scroll down to read the article.

Page 2: The African e-Journals Project has digitized full text of ...pdfproc.lib.msu.edu/?file=/DMC/African Journals...••development .•• Current theorization. taking into consideration


IN AFRICADr. C.S.L. ChachageSociologyDepartment

University of Dar es Salaam

Introductory Remarks

•Three decades ago, the then Briti~hPrime MmiSter madethe famous remark on the "wind of change,t in Aftica. It wasechoed aU over the world by politicians, planners, re~archers,.social scientists, etc. The "economic boom" of the 19505 and19608reinforced its impact in the minds of the African nationalistsas independence seemingly promised miracles of social andeconomic growth. Apparently, Africa had all the potentials forleaping ~m the "traditional stage" to "pre-conditions fortake-off', 'take-off", 'drive to maturity" and finally the 'ageof high mass-consumption" and catch-up with the West.1Values and norms from the West were to provide the conditionsfor "take-off" while "traditional" ones were to be supplantedby !'modern" ones. This was to.be possible through "moderniz.ing agents" people with "achievement orientation" - particu-larly in the economic sphere (in terms of levels of innovation andenterpreneurshlp). Z

This was during the heydays of the "modernization theories'era developed since the 1940 when development of the coloniesbegun to occupy a special place in world literature. Developmentand/or growth thp.n Was viewed in terms of economie indicators:it was synonymous with capital formation and industrialization.The argument was, development of the third world countriescould be possible through further intergration in the world-market, which in turn would lead to injection of capital, technologyand values. This would then narrow the gap between the 'Laza-


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UTAFIT/- Yol9 No J /987

rus" and the "Shylocks", agrarian and industrial societies."Traditional" economies of the third world countries could betransformed to "modern" ones; the barriers to this process beingin the former. The state was to play the central role in this processof transformation, together with enlightened (civilized) indivi-duals (such as enterpreneurs,. politicians, modernizing agents,etc).

The post-World War nperiod witnessed, in Europe and USA,the emergence of studies dealing with "social change"; "patternsof development't and "development strategies" which promoteeconomic prosperity. At the same time politicians and institutionssuch as the World Bank, International Labour Organization andmajor commercial banks became involved in promoting "economicgrowth" spending (and still spend) large amounts of money.

The socio-economic crisis which began early 19705 broughtto 'light the fact that something had gone wrong in Africa. Haunt- ,ing questions emerge: What has happened to Africa? How areAfrican social formations to be conceptualized? In what way canthey be transformed? Where are they heading to? etc.

Current theories of development and underdevelopmentin Africa-which have reached an impasse - are an expressionof the period of generalized crisis in which we live. Revealed bythis situation is the fact that, the more than forty years of insti-tutional development of social sciences has not yielded much interms of their capability to furnish the necessary social capacityfor the transformation of social process; social sciences beingpart and parcel of the ideological, philosophical, theoretical andpolitical struggles for and against the transformation of the ca-pitalist societies in Africa.

With the crisis, .is a profound difficulty to conceptualize andact upon a conception of the possibility to construct a socialisthuman community. Socialist revolutions, national liberationtriumphs and struggles for economic self-reliance, signifying thedefeat of imperialism, have led and are leading imperialism tocounter-attack with intense force. This aspect, led to the revival of'orthodpx Marxism" and classical liberal theories.

The revival of "orthodox Marxism" which started with thedemise ofthe "Dependency school" was a response to the "muchpublicised 'revival of Marxism' " in the last two decades.. , • " The critics of 'Dependency' insisted on the necessit;


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Chocl'06e-Developmell' Theorie.

to base analyses of processes on the sphere of production. someeven rejecting the labour theory of value and the reduction ofhistory to social ~ruggles. Of paramount impotance and a verypowerful methodological "tool" in analyses of processes and so-cial dynamics is the concept • mode of production. '.4 In otherwords. history is transformed into the processes of emergence ofproduction and their displacement.

This mode of theorization has had its impact on the conceptu-alization of African social formations and the whole process of••development .•• Current theorization. taking into considerationthe aspects of the socioeconomiccrisis, also questioQs Dependencyand neo-Marxism as a divergence from classical Marxist theory.According to Bill Warren, who revived the notion of capitalismand imperialism as historically progressiveS. "imperialism wasthe means through which techniques, culture. and institutionsthat had evolved in Western Europe over centuries ... sowedtheir revolutionary seeds in the rest of the world."

Imperialism and capitalist development in the third-worldcountries led to industrialization; and if such developments didnot take place the reasons had to be sought in the ideologies,strategies and policies pursued by the governments of the coun-tries in question. Accordingly, prospects of industrialization inthese countries are quite good, and all arguments about impe-rialism. and dependency are "reactionary petty bourgeois out-looks of Proudhon" which reject "the progressive outlook ofJohn Stuart Mill." Socialist ideologies are primitive. radical in-terventions which reject the progressive nature of capitalism tothe detriment of development.~

Goran Hyden, on Africa, declared that for development tooccur, the prerequisites are "very definite conditions of whichthe economic ones are the most decisive: the determining elementin history is ultimately the production and reproduction in reallife."', This fundamental point in "Marxist" theory needs redis-covery in "relation to the specific materialist and social conditionsprevailing in Africa."8 After all, Marxism Leninism "is only amore complex version of capitalism. ,. To quote further:

No approach to development has proved feasible withoutthe subordination of individuals to a cultural superstruc-ture in which the rules of science and technology reign.


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UTAFITI- Vol 9 No 11987

The debates about alternative life-styles that goes on inWestern societies take place without the confines ofsuch a superstructure ... It is a debate among peoplefor whom science and technology are part and parcel ofdaily existence.

Such conditions do not prevail in Africa, according to Hyden,Sandbrook and others. In Africa, productive forces are at a verylow level of development: production and organization methodsare still "largely pre-scientific, particularly so in the predomi-nantly peasant agricultural sector." 10 Due to the dominanceof the "peasant mode of production", what prevails in Africaare "neo-patrimonial relations". The African peasant who re-mains "uncaptured" by other social classes for development.purposes, given the power of the "econorr.y of affection", uses"organic power" as opposed to "inorganic energy." The pea-sants' knowledge as a successful cultivator is "not systematiz-ed into a set of abstract hypotheses ready to be tested." It is not"universalized" into separate theories; instead, it is harbouredwithin individuals as practical directives. This "organic environ-ment", has "little understanding and tolerance of experimen-tation and has limited scope for problem-solving of the kind thatwe associate with an inorganic environment."IIColonialism andmodernization attempted to challenge these organic aspects.Despite the challenge, African agriculture has remained pre-scientific. The assumption that the prevalence of capitalism in\frica is a result of imperialist global functioning is false. 12

Sandbrook, who partly shares the above argument viewsAfrican states as not being capitalist in the same sense as the ca-pitalist states are: they are simply "neo-patrimonialist" (basedon personal rule) with a variety of "economic irrationalities",which, due to instability, corruption and maladministrationimpede on productive economic activities causing the politico-economic decline. Underlying all this is the question of gover-nance of an "unintegrated peasant society." 13 As opined byHyden, it is, methodOlogically, the "economic element" whichprovides the ••general structure and context within which pro-gress must be analysed." In this regard, Marx's thesis still holdstrue: "Yet the last two decades in Africa have essentially beendevoted to denying the validity of this fundamental point of any


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Chachage-Development Theories

political economy analysis." 11. Africa needs a "set of new para~digms that better incorporates the fact that Africa is still essenti-ally pre-capitalist". What is taking place in Africa "is the battlebetween forces defending these formations and those-still muchweaker - trying to conquer them."15 Colonialism and moderni-zation failed to conquer these forces because there was no "hege-monic culture to defend the new system other than the one broughtby the colonialists. "16, Of course, Africans had their own culture,.but it was not "high" culture which would justify the position of'the ruling class. Instead it had its roots in the economy of affe-ction. "'7

Africa would be confronting less alarming problems if hercount~ies "had advanced capitalist forms of production in eitheragriculture or industry". Africa's cryin~ need "a real bourgeoi-sie with roots in African society:"i~ whose role is progressive be-cause it eliminates the pre-capitalist structures and "paves theway for productivity gains and economic expansion "19 • Thosecountries which made international capital their ally ("or at leasta necessary evil") have been able to develop national economies,than those which rejected it for fear of "nea-colonial threat"-those which attempted at self-reliance.2o

To alleviate the situation in Africa, it is necessary to re-orient the politics in such a way that it is possible to live with capi-talism and learn how to deal with it constructively. There is noneed to fear or pre-empty it; more scope should be given to mana-ging it:

Greater reliance on the market forces, for instance, willproduce growing social cleavages along class lines.Rather than assuming that some form of classless societyis possible, the questions arising from the emergence ofcleavages must be more effectively addressed. 21

So much for the profession de .foi of the current theoreti-cians of development. It is a prometheun task to deal with everyaspect ofthe current material on development. Attention here willtherefore focus on: can the current crisis be regarded as simply aneconomic crisis resulting from wrong choice of ideologies, policies,strategies of development? How plausible is it to conceptualizedevelopment or growth as economic expansion involving merelyeconomic relations? Are the institutions - the state, the party,


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UTAPm-Vol9Nol 198f

and enlightened individuals the agency for 1fce transformational'processes? Different-questions will be proposed in the process ofdealing with these issues: how has it been possible for such atendenz to occur? How are we to grasp development as an ideo-logy? What circumstances resulted in its emergency? And, whatis its social and political significance?

The Social Economic Crisis: A resume

"The plight of Africa" is currently harped in every inter-national forum. In 1984, for example, it was reported that about150 million people were facing "extreme hunger, malnutritionand, in a number of cases, with grave shortages of portablewater."22 Moreover, tension areas, civil war areas and borderconflicts have been on the increase — Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia,Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, etc. . . . Withthe* world capitalist crisis which began in the 1970s, Africancountries have been facing severe balance of payments deficits;worsening conditions of living of working people due toextensive poverty, income inequalities, inflation and shor-tage of consumer goods; decline in export of primary goods and

-agricultural products;* underutilization of industrial capacities,etc.23.

The situation is seen by economists, planners, politiciansand governments as having been caused by balance of paymentsdeficit. The latter itself is seen as having been caused by the de-cline in exports due to the adverse functioning of the world market,escalating prices of fuel, and recurrent droughs.*1 Here, eventhe neo-classical economics' wisdom which-view crises in terms ofdisequiflbrium/disproportionality between different sectors of theeconomy, for example, non-agricultural and agricultural, indu-strial and commercial, is thrown overboard, despite the lip-servicepaid to them in some of the theories. The solutions betray theseunderlying assumptions — that there is a need to strike a balancebetween the different sectors or structurally adjust the economyby, for example, increasing agricultural output. This view isbroadly held by institutions such as the IMF.?*

Such explanations lack the force of history and social deter-mination of processes. The process of social production itself isnot taken into consideration. An examination of how social pro-


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Chtlchtlge-Development Theories.

duction replaces that part of the product which satisfies the per-sonal needs of the worker and the capitalists and that which istransformed into capital26 shows that social production and theaggregate social product is divided into two departments: (a)Department I - the production of means of production (commo-dities which serve only for productive consumption). It is sub-divided into production of means of production as means of pro-duction (Department I (i» and production of raw materials (pro-duction of means of production as a means of consumption (De-partment I (ii». And, (b) Department II - production of means ofconsumption (cQmmodities which satisfy the personal needs of theworking people and the capitalists). It is sub-divided into pro-duction of necessities of life (department II (i» and that of luxurygoods (Department II (ii».

Exchange has to take place between and within the two de-partments for the system to reproduce itself. Under capitalism,only a part of surplus value is consumed by the capitalists for theirpersonal needs; the rest is consumed productively by being con-verted into productivecapitaI. This means that the variable ca-pital and surplus value of Department I must be greater than theconstant capital. of Department II so that a part of surplus value inDepartment I can be used for expansion of production. In otherwords, production of means of production becomes the mostrapid expanding branch of the economy, followed by the produ-ction of means of production as means of consumption. Productionof means of consumption grows at the slowest pace.

In so far as there is a demand of the goods produced byDepartment I, then there is a general expansion of the economy- a boom - signifying that there are investments taking placein both departments. But this expansion reaches a limit, beyondwhich Department I cannot realize its goods. Thus begins a crisisof the whole economy. In so far as regulation of production isthrough the law of value, disequlibrium is innevitable, and conse-quently, the limitless striving for accumulation and the fall in ratesof profit in some branches.

Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) which was under-taken from the 19405by the third world countries entailed massiveimportation of machinery and equipment produced by Depart-ment I (ii) from the advanced capitalist countries, paid throughexports of raw materials produced by Department I (ii) of the third


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world. The machinery were for the expansion of Department II.Expansion of Department II in third-world countries, innevitably,..could be possible only if profits were higher than in the otherbranches of the economy, and specifically Department I (ii).The result of this was the shifting of capital from agriculture tonon-agricultural branches of the economy, and, in~reasingly,the inability of those countries to pay for the imports. An at-tempt to resolve this problem in the 1960s was made throughcontinued dishing of loans, grants, and financial aid so as to keepDepartment I in the advanced capitalist countries and DepartmentII in the third world countries afloat, in the hope that the latter's'economies would recover soon. This never came about. By 1974,the world was in a financial crisis due to the accumulated debts bythird world countries.

Third world countries were already facing a balance of pay-ments crisis; and Department I in the advanced capitalist countrieswas facing' a problem of realization. This was exacerbated by theworld commodity price boom, especially in 1974-75 as a result of"the heightening contradictions among imperialist countries dueto the relative decline of British and French imperialism, theemergence of Brazil as an industrial power, and the decline ofabsolute 'hegemony of USA (marked by the defeat in Vietnam,a war whose immense costs resulted in bank-borrowing by thegovernment) to the profit of Ge~any and Japan (although shestill remains the most powerful imperialist country), Due to thesecontradictions:

In an effort to stop the rise of its rivals, American impe-rialism has, for the past decade, used economic "wea-pons", notably the rise in prices of raw materials (oil)and the continuing devaluation of the dollar (substitutedfor gold as the form of money for international reserves);this, in 1974-75 precipitated the crisis whose conditionshad long been germinating in the unequal developme~tand contradictions ofthe international monetary system. zI

Th"e~!bove is an explanation of the world crisis beginning in1970s in so far as it is taken as an expression of the contradictionsin the social relations: an economy, like a big drama is lifelesswithout the dramatic personae.


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It can be deduced, at this point that, periodic crises are partand parcel of the nature and process of accumulation (as a meansto regulate the economy) - a process which entails competitionbetween c.Iifferent forms of capital, also between capital andlabour. Crises express the level of development in the process ofsubordination of/abour to private appropriation, the contradictionsin the relations of production appearing as a disproportionalitybetween the different branches of the economy. The history ofAfrica. up to the present demonstrate such aspects, and develop-ment and modernization conceptions pointed out in the preceed-in,g section, are a flesh of the bones of that history. These are theaspects dealt with in the next section.

Systematization and Institotionallsation of Ideologies

The evolution, systematization and the belief in developmentand or growth demonstrated by economic indicators, and effectedby the state and enlightened individuals through ideologies andstrategies; its institutionalization after independence in Africaand, finally the crisis, is best grasped within the reality of the pre-datory destructive imperialist domination. This reality, as a de-spotic and totalitarian phenomenon, involved the economic,political, cultural, social and psychological subjugation of the do-minated people and their struggles against it. The eurocentricarrogance and self-righteousness in new garbs currently, found inWarren, Hyden, etc, dominate this history from the colonialperiod.

According to the findings of the explorers, adventurers,and missionaries about the "dark continent" - which found its"scientific" expression in Robert Knox (the Scottish anatomist)and Arthur de Gobineau (the French pseudo-scientific racist)- Africans had no culture, history, philosophy, and were incapa-ble of developing on their own. They were a cursed people whosevery humanity needed to be questioned because of their barba-rism, . superstition, treachery, paganism, moral depravity,sexuality, cunningness, laziness, fatalism etc. The "underde-veloped African' s int~lIectual faculties precluded retention ofabstraction. " Especially before 19205, Africans appeared in Euro-pean literature as sub-species of the homo-sapiens who belonged


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to the "child races ofthe world. "18

Central in the imperialist process of cultural and materialnegation of the subject people was religion and edn<:ation, whichalso hastened the process of separation of manual and mentallabour. Africans had to be civilized (Europeanized) so that theycould take after the image of the masters in dress, speech, man-nerism etc. It was believed that the degeneracy of Africans wasrooted in their culture and traditional systems of belief: '

Implicit in this was the replacement of traditional culturewith something 'higher' , something new, something Eu-ropean. Oothe the savage, topple the pagan idols,silence the drumming, break up the extended family,encourage individualism, abolish poligamy ..... t9

World War I recasted some of these conceptions. Before1914, Europeans used to boast of having suppresed "the constantviolence of intertribal war in Africa ... by 1919 that boast seemedempty." In the four years of the War, "more natives' had beenkilled or died ... as a result of a white war than in fourty years -perhaps a century - of the old primitive warfare of the blacks."They admitted, "The native has lost his childlike belief in thewhite as an inherently superior being. He has become more criti-cal and more restive. "50 The "civilizing mission" was in disar-ray. The war taught Africans, wrote a German missionary inTanganyika in 1919, to see "the Whiteman from a point whichhe never knew him before. The native has seen him in his hatred,his hypocricy, brutality, dishonesty and immorality: He often couldjustly say 'the blacks are better men."!1 Apart from the Joss offaith, were the continually native rebellions, which occured viole-ntly or by withdrawal of labour, refusal to produce export crops,pay taxes, etc.

The 1917 Great October Revolution also had its repercussionson a world scale. Besides the crisis facing the capitalist world andthe threat of revolutions posed within those countries, the OctoberRevolution altered the "balance of power" on the world scale.The War had messed the economies of the capitalist countries,and they needed to recover if civil wars were to be avoided; andthere were at the same time the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialstruggles in the East. The October Revolution had by 1919 esta-blished a dogma that the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist strug-


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gles were now directly linked to the socialist revolution: the capi-talist road was closed and it would take no time before it col-lapsed.5!

The civilizing mission was in a profound crisis. In the West"public opinion ... no longer felt that Western civilization had in-calculable benefits to confer upon inferior races, and was evenbeing stimulated by the discoveries of social scientists to a revivalof the romantic cult of the noble savage." 55 This eventuated in a"deepening dissatisfaction ... , and a growing recognition of theimpoverishment that had "come to the Western society".A desire to recreate the bonds which unite men with their fellowswas expressed. Accordingly, if science, machinery and industrialorganization were to reproduce European conditions in Africa -"conditions from which the best minds in the West" were "seek-ing a means to escape" - it would be a tragedy,'"

B. Malinowski was to state in the 19205 that, the primarymotive of colonization was "economic development". Whilst,Western civilization required raw materials and food crops whichwere essential to the living standards of the •'principal nations",most methods used to effect this were objectionable: they werea source of "trouble on a large scale for lasting generations." 5~

Malinowski was to report to the Rockefeller Foundation that, anew trend of anthropological theory had been developed in Ame-rica and Europe: "The functional school". Unlike the previousschools, this one did not involve itself with the private affairs ofthe "missing link" , or the reconstruction of histories. Its concernwas inquiry in the nature of human institutions and above alltheir functional value. The practice of condemning "savage"religion and beliefs as something useless had to be abandoned:

It is recognized that they possess a definite value, thetthey fulfil a specific and unique function, that they are atwork like other aspects of culture. Magic has been shownto be a principle of order and co-ordination. It has to itscredit a number of economic advantages; it provides atime sequence in those activities which it controls, suchas gardening, fishing, industries; it establishes lead~r-ship; above all, it gives primitive man the moral stanunaindispensable in many enterprises. 56 •

So why destroy that which you can use to meet the same


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ends? This was an attempt to find in the colonized subjects, ele-ments which would make the "civilizing mission" effective andalso cripple the resistance by the African masses. Malino~ski,his contemporaries and others who followed later were looking forthose elements which did not contradict Westernality. Afterall, Africans believed in the "hierachy offorces" - Gods, chiefs,etc., and even the European himselfY. Theirs was an attempt tosystematize what they considered to constitute Africanity and"African civilization" - especially those elements which woulddemobilize African resistance.

Despite the attempt to co-opt some of the elements of Africanculture in the civilizing mission, resistance by the African massescontinued. The enlightened Africans who emerged within theforms of colonial oppression and exploitation, as a result of manualand mental division of labour, had initially, before this revision,surrendered and adopted the colonizers language, customs,culture and religion. These "civilized Africans" had been nur-tured into self-hating people, ashamed of everything that identi-fied them with Africans. But that they were civilized did not negatetheir status as second or third class citizens in their own countrie!!.They were outcasts: excluded from the people's resistance againstdomination and exploitation and also denied a place in the civilizedworld. Disillusionment set in, and a journey "back to the roots"began in search of solace. Henceforth, the rediscovery, restora-tion and reassertion of their own selves was the only means toattain equality with the West. Turning to rebellion, they too tookover the systematization of what was considered African: notionsthat civilization was only European were rejected and the prooffor this, as acknowledged even by Europeans, was Egyptian civili-zation and the "ruins" of Zimbabwe.

Colonial civilization had to be destroyed, and the African wasto create his own civilization by picking the best from the West(economics and technology) 'and from African civilization (social,political and economic structures»)B This was to be the weaponagainst Eurocentrism; and in this way, European thinking and thatofthe educated African coincided.

The nationalists emerged as a result of the disenchantmentwith the dream of developing Africa in co-oper.ation between Euro-peans and "civilized" Africans. The inability to blend in naturallyunder the colonial system had pushed them to resistance and


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to theoretically refute Eurocentrism. For them, this entailed therejection of European civilization, and the development of the ideathat to be civilized was first and foremost to be African. Indeedthe "civilizing mission" had acknowledged that the African wasa human being with a civilization with similar objective as Westerncivilization; and was capable of sharing the universal views ofdevelopment. He too had the right to participate in universalhistory, in the development of his own continent. Thus, the natio-nalists' views, based on partial knowledge of African societies(a knowledge which picked from African societies only thoseelements which were acceptable to the West) did not contradictWesternality, despite their radical denial of Western values,59In essence, it was the victory of the "civilizing mission." Injectionof capital and technology and even the science of economics andlaw were acceptable; as for the values, Africanism was morehumane than European civilization which was seen as cruel andbased on the exploitation and domination of people.

The economics of nationalism. were in the demands for thecreation of a modem economy. Nationalism became wid~preadduring the height of modernization theories, when "modernizingimperialism" of the post-World War II was the main pre-occu-pation of colonial imperialism. This developed as a response tothe 1930s Depression and the strikes and rebellions in the variouscolonies. The Depression, had revealed to the colonialists. thatmost impoverished colonies were politically dangerous; and that"self-government" was soon to be on the agenda. One official inLondon was to ask: "How are we to bind these people to such away that their moral and material resources of strength willcontinue to be ranged on the side of Great Britain? ... "40 Thisidea was to give birth to the -famous Import Substitution Industri-alization (ISI).

The rise of modernization thinking had its anchorage in realexperience, just as "evolutionism" in the 19th century and earlythis century. It was not just an illusion of the epoch. Change, inthese two centuries, has been globally conceptualized as a shiftfrom statt: to state, one type of society to another. Precedentsfor these models were established by Spencer. Durkehim. Maine.Tonnies and Weber. Influential in this century has been TalcotParsons, who introduced a series of interacting factors - patternv,ariables-posing each aspect as a description of shift towards


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a more complex, differentiated, individualistic and specialized"modem" society. Societies were seen as distributed betweentwo polar types: traditional and modern, community and society'agricultural and industrial, rural and urban, particularistic anduniversalistic, low achievement orientation and high achievement,etc ... 41

In the period preceeding World War I ("progress" - the"natural" ideological mystification) also characterized the socia-list movement. The effect of this was the infiltration by the pre-mises and vocabulary of economic and technical progressof the natural sciences and Darwinism. World War I checkedthis tendency to some degree, but at the same time, the GreatOctober Revolution gave rise to a new utopian incarnation: theParty and the superstructure were transformed into history ma-kers - history being dependent on heroism, the s~ate, the party,individual initiative, sacrifice, choice of ideologies!! . Evolutionismpersisted in the colonies, increasingly becoming an a11yof thenationalists who at times fused it with "socialistic" tendenciesas a result of the ressurection of the cult of the noble savage.It is this aspect which found its expression in the myth of Africa-nism (at times quasi-socialist, as socialism was acceptable in theWest, unlike the hammer and the circle), in which it was a matterof borrowing from the West (technology and economics) and Afri-can societies (social and political structures acceptable to theWest).

With "modernizing imperialism" in the postworld WarII period, the colonial states found the justification of their exi-stence in their alleged centrality to the process of development.It was the period when the colonial states began to heed the de-mands of the nationalists who stood for fast tempo of developmentof the colonies, although they still marginalized them in the keypositions ofthe state structures. The advanced capitalist countries,at this time, were heading towards the so-ca11ed post-industrialstage which favoured the industrialization of the colonies. Andthus the "modernization theories."

The nationalists who took power after independence weretrained in the "modernization tradition." Their main concernwas tl!e development of African countries through' activegovernment involvement in the economy, protection and ImportSubstitution Industrialization in the modernization fashion. This


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meant capitai accumulation, to be made possible by keeping wagesand the prices of raw materials low.

According to modernization views, injection of capital andtechnology was meant to close the gap between the rich and thepoor, industrial and agrarian societies. The sewing of these ideaswith socialistic tendencies was possible and even attractive duringthis period because, they also championed the development ofcoionies and were sympathetic to the nationalists. Socialistsalso emphasized the key role of the state. Most fundamentalis the fact that socialism by this period was increasingly becominga development strategy. stripped of its political sharpness andwas in general being transformed into an elitist ideological guide-line to scientific and technological development: and hence stlmd~ing in defense ofthe role ofthe state and enlightened individuals.

With independence, the aim and most important task was tomodernize the primitive agricultural sector; build a base for themodern economy by accelerati~g industrial investments. Suchconception of development could not entertain or encourage anyself-activity of the common working people, the illiterate, the"uncivilized" which ran counter to "development" goals. Itcould not entertain any views that transformation of society waspossible through social struggles or conflicts; because develop-ment in the modernist sense required unity, and the urgent que-stion was that of settling accounts with backwardness and "resi-stance to change." Fundamentally, societies had to be rescuedfrom conflicts characteristic of Western societies, if developmentwas to be attained. This unity was possible only through the state,an institution which was seen as an embodiment of the principleof consensus.

The inherited states - the bourgeois colonial state - wereand remained part.and parcel of the social relations of capitalismin dominance. Within this context, the civil society had to lose itspower and independence. The mass and political organizationswere either abolished or brought under direct state control, ifthey stood in opposition to the general interests which the statessought to defend that is, increased investments whic~ had to beattracted by favourable conditions, low wages and cheap raw ma-terials. Nkrumah initiated this process, by controlling tradeunions and other civil organizations, eroding the right to strike,institutionalizing one party state, introducting the notorious de-

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tention without trial Act .... Virtually, all independent Afrl.cancountries were to follow this example, in the name of African soci-alism an:l African democracy.

The working people, who were at the core in the strugglesfor independence. suffered from poverty, ignorance and dise-ase43 • It was accelerated investments and capital formation which.could solve these problems. Thus, it become the task of the be-arers of ideology - cadres, modernizing agents, officials, thatis. those who manned the state institutions - to lead in the strug-gles against the trio enemies. In fact. English and other Europeanlanguages link poverty and ignorance. in which ignorance istaken to mean lack of knowledge and proper culture. While po-verty can be a fact and reality:

However. the myth that poverty somehow results fromignorance is an elitist, ethnocentric interpretation of aninternational problem. the roots of which lie not in realitybut in prevalent middle-class attitudes originating in theNorth. The attitudes are espoused by professionals edu-cated in European traditions. 44

The criticism of orthodox and liberal economists and ortho-doX'Marxism by the "Dependency" theoreticians, centred on:questions of exploitation of the "periphery" by the "centre";problems of poverty and unemployment; the impossibility of auto-nomous industrialization in the third world countries and Africain particular under the hegemony of world capitalism; and, theimpotence of the bourgeoisie in the third-world countries. Thiscriticism, in essence, ended in providing a further cloak over andprotecting bourgeois interests. Effectively, the "socialist stra-tegy" as a solution for the crisis in the process of developmentonly ended up in legitimating the developmentalist conceptionswhich stood for industrialization and active state intervention inthe economy by protectionism and creation of an industrialbase." 45

The 1960s mark the overthrow of the modernization theories,inrhe struggles between the various states and the civil society,and the institutional conditions behind the production of ideas inAfrica. "Dependency theories" was the nationalist solution tothe crisis of development as grasped by the states. No wonder

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-these theories began to lose their ground when the world crisisbegan.

In the broad examination/analysis of social formations byDependency school, the controlling paradigm was industrializa-tion and its nature, relations of dependency, forms of capital ac-cumulation, productive forces, etc. Therefore, the debates vege-tated around the questions of whether these were capitalism,capitalists, workers or peasants. African social formations and re-lations. Orthodox Marxism and orthodox modernization theorieswere challenged on the pretext that although capitalism developedand integrated the third world countries into the world market, italso stopped them from fully entering.46 Socialism was taken asa strategy or technique to deal with the problems of the crisisof development. These aspects paved the way for the revival oforthodox Marxism and orthodox modernization paradigms asalternative models of development. "Dependency School" conce-ntrated on the contradictions of capitalism while the orthodoxschool did not.

The critics of Dependency school have insisted on the neces-sity to base analyses on the sphere of production. Thus, theori-zation on development, whether in its crude modernization guise,or in Dependency theories and the critics of Dependency, hasbeen reduced to an ideological guideline to scientific and techno-logical development. The focus, implicitly or explicitly, has beenon the failure or success fairy tales of ideologies, strategies, po-licies and plans pursued by the various states; and the relationsor modes of production which impede or accelerate the develop-ment of productive forces.

Even sociological theorization of development has centrallyviewed the problems of development and underdevelopmentin the same light. It is in this context that ideologies, certain rela-tions.and certain values have been held responsible for the stag-nation or failure to modernize Africa. Though substely coached ina slightly different language, we have been thrown back to the1940s and 1950s - the eni in which systems, sub-systems, ele-ments, structures etc., were central in analysis of processes. Inthe mentioned period, it was held that systems were governed byvalue systems enshrined in institutions and attitudes of the indi-viduals manning those institutions. These value systems weresupposed to be directed to goals which are legitimized by the


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former. In this case, if structural differentiation in a systemresults in disequilibrium, and therefore disatisfaction, this aspectshould be regarded as a pathological problem whose solution is inmore higher and better non-economic functional changes - betterpolitical arrangements. superior values and even the use of thepolice and the army. If all these do not bring about results,' thenmore refined and better new ideas or institutions should be intro-dured so as to bring the system back to normal in order to safe-guard development and productivity.

In the words of Professor Neil Smelser:"

Every social system is governed by a value system whichspecifies the nature of the system, its goals, and themeans of attaining these goals. A social sytem's firstfunctional requirement is to preserve the intergrity of thevalue system itself and assure that individual actors con-form to it. This involves. socialization and educatingindividuals, as well as providing tension-mechanismsfor handling and resolving individual disturbances relat-~~~~~ '

In sum, capitalism or socialism in development theories inAfrican has all along been reduced to strategies of developingproductive forces and technology. The fact that capital or commo-dities are not things, but that they embody specific social relationshas been suppressed. Development as an aspect, has not beenfree of material class interests: it has been the religion of Mr.Money bag in the post World War II period. Theorization aboutdevelopment has been reduced to erudite refutation of ideolo-gies. policies, plans, and strategies, as if "erudite refutation offalse theses of ideologies ... ,of domination ... annul their mate-rial efficacy for domination." The fact is, it is "material relationsof domination which give power, pertinence or force to those falsetheses and not the other way around. " ..

Solutions proposed for the socio-economic crisis in Africa, inthe form of North-South dialogue, revolutionalization of techno-logy, structural adjustment policies, application of scientific ide-ologies (as if they were lotions or a box of tools), liberalizationof the economies, aid, etc, derived from developmentalist ideolo-gies are basically a product of such theorization. These solutionsare based on big-brotherhood assumptions, and they entail the


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patronization of the working masses by hierarchy of people,such as those armed with "scientific ideology", modernizingagents (for example, bureaucrats and "modern Africans"), goodpoliticians, good planners, etc. It is an idealist problematic whichsees the hegemony of ideas and objects in the life of people -their material world and relations among them. The assumptionsare economistic and technocratic which take productive forces asthe motive force of history, and embraces an elitist thesis of thedictatorship of the intelligentsia. The end result is legitimizationand defense of capitalist social relations, as it has been done typi-cally by Warren. Hyden. Sandbrook, etc.

Concluding Remarks

As shown above, for many African nationalist leaders, thestruggles against ignorance, poverty and disease entailed the useof governments and their organs. In which case, if the govern-ments were to be effective in bringing about development, byencouraging industrialization and commodity production andraising the living standards; it had to be made more powerful.According to the nationalists' belief, societies had to be rescuedfrom class wars if development had to be attained. These conflictscould be avoided only if there was concensus, a principle embo-died in the state as the mediator of class conflicts. H the statehad to become more powerful as a major instrument for develop-ment, then the civil society had to lose its independence. Consequ-ently, all mass and political movements which flourished beforeindependence and played a central role in bringing about thedownfall of the colonial empires were either abolished or fell un-der the control of governments. Organized opposition, accordingto some of these leaders, was un-African and contrary to egali-tarian principles" championed by the states. The states becamemonolithic - the very states created by colonial capitalism, andthe people were left defenseless against capital and the states.The only organized bodies which were left intact were the armiesand the police forces, which do not from a separate detachment ofthe states.

Various Africanist and socialist (even Mamst-Leninist)ideologies, which embody modernist thinking, and are part andparcel of material struggles werelhave been used to defeat the

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working people in their own name. In essence, it seems that in-dependence was the culmination of the victory of bourgeoisforces, and their development has been demonstrated by the lite-rature which show the existence of capitalist form~ of capitalaccumulation and industrialization in Africa. 50

The current socio-economic crisis in most African countriesis not due to failure of some ideologies or failure to modernize thecountries, but an expression of the rates of capitalist accumula-tion under the hegemony of imperialism, whereby the workingpeople have been organizationally and politically demobilizedby the capitalist forces which hold sway. Poverty, famine, infla-tion, etc., are the very forms of expression of the rates of unche-cked accumulation where~y the people have been stripped offtheir organizational capacities which would make them defendthemselves and influence or fight against some of the arbitraryactions of the various states. The result is, people cannot fightfor better living conditions, higher wages, better prices for theirproduce. better conditions of production, etc. In Ethiopia, for exa-mple, people are dying not because of drought; rather, it is !hatthese people are not in a position to struggle against certain acti-ons of the state - for example, importation of whisky, tanks (forcolonizing Eritrea and other oppressed nationalities in the name ofsocialism), while millions of people face the problem of starvation.The opposite finds its expression in the luxuries indulged in by thebourgeoisie and the bureaucrats ..51 All these things happen inthe name of the people who are supposedly ignorant of their owninterests, and so they must be thought for, fought for, and defe-nded by some individuals.

The play in the debates about development has been to throwoverboard and completely banish from the scene the whole que-stion of the conditions of social struggles for self-defense, self-emancipation and self-determination of the people, thus exami-ning even people's weaknesses and strength. It has been a sy-stematic process of discrediting the capacities of ordinary peopleas makers of their own history in the transformation of theircircumstances and themselves - a process in which productiveforces, policies, plans, ideologies, etc are grasped as part andparcel. Instead, modes of production (and the other forces andtheir superstructures) and their supercession has taken the placeof people. Modes of production or economic forces do not make


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history. they simply define and locate the nature of con~radi-ctions in a social formation, the motive force of their history andthe movement towards their resolution. 52 What is surprising is,when things are not working out properly or are out of control,appeal for support of ideologies or policies is directed to thesame people who are allegedly victims of ignorance. diseaseand poverty, and are incapable of making their own history.

This systematic denial of people's capacity as history makerstailors well with developmentalism and modernization. For toconcede that people make their own history. is to acknowledgethe centrality of social struggles in processes. Such acknowledge-ment amounts to theorizing and examining processes from thepoint of view of how people continually struggle and resist allforms of arb.itrariness.hierachization and the whole question oftheemancipation of the civil society from the oppression of the statesand capital in general. A body of knowledge which does not re-flect the social conditions of struggles through which men andwomen are simultaneously transforming circumstances and the-mselves; a knowledge which regards the majority of the peopleas unscientific. incapable of thinking, backward, ignorant of theirown interest. superstitious. devoid of initiative or creativity •...ad infinitum, even if socialist, Marxist or Africanist; is fundame-ntally oppressive, arrogant and authoritarian and reinforces hie-rachization. It is all reminiscent of eurocentrism and missioncivilisatrice which regarded colonized and oppressed masses inthe same manner. African civilization and Africanist ideologiesin general regard people thus.

African civilization. Negritude, African socialism, Africanhumanism. African authenticity. etc was partly generated as ananswer to European prejudice; it was an attempt to demonstratethe being-in-the-world of the African. It was not an attempt, onthe part of the educated. to become organic thinkers of the mas-ses; but to attain universal recognition. This is what Senghormeant when he declared in 1956 that. "If Europe has now begunto reckon with Africa, it is because African traditional sculpture,music. dancing, literature and philosophy have compelled re-cognition from an astonished world.''55Plunder Africa, exploitit, fear not the rebellions! Only respect culture! IThis is how AimeCesaire would have retorted to this perhaps. The entrance inunivetsal respectability, then meant, modernization and post-


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colonial developmentaJism and the looking down upon ordinarypeople as \ncapable of their own transformation.

Current theorization on development is not a deviationfrom the norm: it is its logical absurdity. No wonder that even theethnocentric coins are being circulated more overtly than a fewyears ago. Fanon declared that Europe is best left to Europeans;any attempt to turn Africa into another Europe should be left toEuropeans who can do the best work to that affect~4It is time wecame out of the impasse after wondering in Sinai for forty years!


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1. See W. W: Restow, Stages of Economic Growth: A NOII- Comnlllllist MlDIifmo,CUP, Cambridge, 1960, p. 4In most colonies, this was the time the govern-me,nts attempted at transformation/improvement apPrOaches of development.This was an attempt to create a stable bourgeoisie in both rural and urban areas.

2. See D. McOelland, TIle Achieving Society, van Nostrand, New York, 1961,McOelland attempted at applying Weber's ideas on the protestant ethic inthird world countries. Experimentation was done in India and Zambia.

3. E.P. Thompson, Poverty of Theory, Merlin Press, London, 1978, p. 383. InAfrica, the revival mainly took the form of a crique of African socialism and anattempt to demonstrate the validity of Marxism-Leninism in Africa conditions.

S. See Bill Warren. "Imperialism and Capitalist Industrialization. NLR No. 81.1973. and his Imperialism Pioneer ofCapitll/ism, Verson, London, 1980.

6. Warren, 1980, ibid, p. 28.7. Goran Hyden. No Shortcusts to progress: AfrjcanDevelopment Management

Perspective. University of California Press, Berkely, 1983. p. S.8.lbid. p. 28.9. Ibid p. S. This reduction of processes to produ£tion and technology is also rife

even among those who see themselves as belonging to the left. FOr exantple,Akin Fadahunsi (in The Development Process and Technology: A Case forResources based Development Strategy in Nigeria. SlAS. Uppsala, No. n,1986), opines: "We are thus able to define development Within national andinternational context as the mobilization, adoptation and use of human andother resources within the nation-state to meet the needs and possibly wantsof people within the state." He goes on, "Encompassed in 'development'is the notion of change - of socio-economic phenomenon over time andspace" and therefore GNP as a criteria is still valid. (p. 6). "To talk of pre-capitalist or pre-socialist soci.ety in AfrU:a is to talk of essentUllly a pre-sciencesociety. Because the society is yet to advance to the 'age of retlSOlt' and 'enli-ghtenment .. Where rationality prevails it lias not been able to develop tl.e fYI-

tionalized economy of either capitalist nor tile socialist types llence has remain-ed economically undeveloped." (p. 10 Emphasis added). For him. socio-

. economic systems are a matter of option ..10. HYden,'op. clt., p. S. For more or less the sante view, see R. Sanclbrook,

The Politics of Africa's Economic Stagnation, CUP, Cantbrid8e, 1~, S. Mue-ller, "Retarded C.pitalism in Tanzania", Socialist Register, Merlin Press.1980. Her other articles are: "The Historical Origins of Tanzania's RulinaOass", C_dian Journal of African Strulies, Vol. 15 (3), 1981; and "Bar-riers to further Development of Capitalism in Tanzaaia: The Case of Tobacco."Capital and Class, 1981. .

II. See Hyden. ibid and Sandbrook. ibid, Goran Hyden's Beyond UjanuMl ill T.-nunia: Underdevelopment and tin UN:tiptured PetWDItry (Heinemann, L0-ndon, 1980) is also rife with the sante ideas.

12. Hyden, 198J, Ibid. p. S.13. Sandbrook. op. cU.14. Hyden, 198J, op. dt. p. 19115. Ibid. p. 193 .16. Ibid. p.I94.17. Ibid. p. 194-518. Ibid, p. 197


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1~.lbid. p.198.20. Ibid, p. 204.21. Ibid.22. UN Economic and Social Council Report, "Critical Economic Situation in

Africa", Second Regular session, April, 1984, p. 5. ,23. There is a vast literature on the crisis currently, that mentioning even some of

the examples makes no sense.24. For several years now, these have been the reasons given by t'te economists,

and various governments in Africa, on the crisis. These reasons are best sum~med up in the arguments for a New International Economic Order, SouthSouth Cooperation, and North South dialogue.

25. Oaims by most economists who try to explain the crisis are representing"neo-classical" economics. These economics are vulgar economics, exa-mining exchange and market relations. Neo-c1assical would connote a conti-nuation of classical economics, but these seem to have their roots in Mengerand Betham .• ,

One has just to remember Marx's: words in Capital Vol. I,(Progress Publi-shers, Moscow, 1976) p. 85; "Once for all I may here state, that by classicalPolitical Economy, I understand that economy which, since the time of W. Pet-ty, has investigated the real relations of production iu bourgeois society, incontradiction to ~-l'lgar economy, which deals with appearances only, rumi-nates without ceasing on the materials long since provided by scientific eco-nomy, and there seeks plausible explanations of the most obtrusive pheno-mena, for bourgeois daily use, but for the rest, confines itself in systematizingin a pedantic way, and preclaiming for evelasting truths, the trite ideas heldby the self-complacent bourgeoisie with regard to their own world, to themthe best of all possible worlds. (emphasis added).

26. For details of the aspects discussed here on the reproduction process, seeMarx's Capital Vol. II. It's validity is proved by the various calls made inter-nationally about the revival of Third Wo~ld economies as a means to revivethe world economy.

27. Etienne Balibar, et ai, "Is the Crisis 'above all National'? A view of thePolicy of the French Communist Party" in Contemporary Marxism. No.2,1980. pp. 42-3 ..

28. E.H. Berman, African Reactions to Missionary Education, Teacher's Col-lege i>ress. New York, 1975, p. 8. Also see L. Milbury - Seen, European andAfrican Stereotypes in Twentieth - Century Fiction, MacMillan Press, lo-ndon, 1980; C. Bolt, Victorian Attitudes to Race; and, UNESCO, Race andColonialism, Paris, 1980.

29. Berman Ibid. p. 9.30. Julian Huxley, African View. Chatto & Windus, London, 1931. p. 438.31. H. Krelle, "On Mission in Usaramo During the War" Journal of Berlin Mis-

sionarySociety No ..6,1919.32. This is the standpoint of the comintern especially since. 1919 .33. R. Oliver, The Missionary Factor in East Afiica Longman, London, 1952,

p.231.34. J.H. Oldham & B.D. Gibson, The Remaking of Man in Africa, OUP, London,

1931, p. 49-50.35. B. Malinowski, "Memorandum for Rockfeller Foundation written for Embree

in March. 1927", in Mss Brit Emp. S. 1829, Rhodes House, Oxford, p.3"Memorandum o,n Colonial Research", December, 19i7. in Mss Brit Emp. S.1829, Rhodes House, Oxford.

36. Ibid (1926).


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37. See ego P. Tempels, Bantu Philosaphy. Presence Africaine, Paris, 1959;and Geoffrey Pavinder. African Mythology Hamlyn Publishing Group, Mid-dlesex.1967.

38. This position was held by people like Leopold Sedar Senghor, David Diop.Leon Damas. lomo Kenyaua. 1.K. Nyerere. Martin Kayamba. etc. and Pan:Africanist ideas of the 19408 ahd 1950s in general. Essentially, most of theaspects systematized by them sprung from material written by Europeans.For example Senghor mostly refers to Leo Frobenius and Marcel GriauleEthnologists). P1acide Tempels who wrote the Bantu Philosaphy. See L.S.Senghor. Prose andPoetry. Heinemann, London: 1976. on.E' 78.

39. See E. Wamba dia Wamba. "Philosophy in Africa: Challenge of the AfricanPhilospher". UDSM, 1983.

40. At le~st Aime Cesaire had the audacity to sing in 19~7 (Return to my NativeLa~d. Penguin. London, 1970). Eia for those who have never invented anythingfor those who have never explored anything but they abandon themselves,caught up to the essence of things unaware of the surface but caught up bythe movement of things not caring to tame, but playing the game of the world.Colonial Office, CO 882111 1/46705, Secretary of State for Colonies to All Go-vernors.23.3.1942.

41. This is the modernization thinking in general. paraded by T. Parsons, N.Smelssr, D. MacGleland. Rostow, etc.

42. See J .Y. Stalin. Marxism and Linguistics. Foreign Languages PublishingHouse. Peking. 1968,. In USSR the Party remained a vanguerd even afterthe Revolution. A vanguard in the state. definitely means statism. In the sameperiod. for Gramsci (Selections from Prison Notebooks. Laurence of Wishart.London. 1973). the October Revolution had opened up new possibilities: itwas a Tevolution against Marx's Capital which strengthened importance'of the necessity to develop class consciousness so as to combat bourgeoisculture. Lucas claimed, "The Strength of every society is in the last resort aspiritual strength. And we can be liberated by knowledge "which is practi.cally critical activity". (History and Class Consciousness. Merlin Press. Lo-ndon, 1917. p. 229).

43. It can be said that Ignorance, Disease and Povertly is the summary of moder-nization/ developmentalist thinking.

44. See A. Gunglesang. "The Myth of Peoples' Ignorance" in DevelopmentDialogue. 1984: 1-2, p. 45.

45. See Dependency theoretians mentioned in footnote 46.46. I have in mind here Gunder Frank, and other dependency theoreticians such

as uclau, Amin, Immanuel, Cardoso, Rodney, Rweyemamu, Wallestein. etc.47. N.J. Smelser, Social Change in Industrial Revotufion. LolldOn. p. ISO. Also

see N.J. Smelser The Sociology o.fEconomic Life. Englewood Giffs, New Yort,1963.

48. E. Wamba dia Wamba, "Towards, an Introduction to the Critique of SheikhAnta Diop's School of African Historiography", UDSM, 1983. pp.I-2.

49. These arguments were presented in the 1960s by leaders such as, Ntrurnah,Nyerere. Senghor. etc.

50. See, ego J. Diffe, The Emergence o.fAfrican Capitalism. MacMillan, London,1979. There are various studies on this issue on Kenya, Zaire. Nigeria, Malawi,etc.

51. One of the major objections by "Dependency School" about third-worldindustrialisation is the fact than heavy industry or that which produces massconsumer go,ods.


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52. E. Wamba dia Wamba, "Is, there a way out of the' Bureaucratic Corruption'Process of the Zairean Underdevelopment? An Extended Review of D.J"Gould's Bureaucratic Corruption and Underdevelopment in Third World:The Case of Zaire". UDSM, 1983, p. 9.

53. Senghor, op. cit.54. See F. Fanon, The Wretched o.fthe Earth, Penguin Suffolk, 1969,