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Colinization

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How did decolonization effect African economics? In today’s modern world it is certainly a global economy. Although the United States is still at the forefront in the economic world along with Europe, the days of their dominance is slowly dwindling. Regions such as China, South America particularly Brazil, India and others are growing at rates never before seen in these nations due to a multitude of different economic factors. However, in this new world economy, Africa seems to be left out. A place with an abundance of natural resources and agricultural capabilities, Africa has yet to reach its full potential. There are many theories to which one could attribute the lack of growth in Africa to but I will be specifically looking at decolonization and how, in my opinion, it has disallowed Africa to become a major player in the world economy.

to understand why africaneconomies are still not growing like comparable emerging markets one must first start with the history and the worker for he/she is the driving force behind any economic system. in “dialects of decolonization” Cooper gives a detailed history of the French african worker during decolonization and reform movements. focusing on the social aspect of the labour movement, french west africa transitioned from a “class-centered, internationalist organization that insisted that workers subordiante their own concerns, interests and collective awarness to the emerging national struggle”. though this sounds honarbale, the will and the goals of the workers are not economically important and are one of the root causes of the economics problems. in years following the second world war, african essentially began to unionize. although african intellects should have been at the forefront of the labour movement, it was “peasants who would spearhead the struggle, for they were willing to face up to the absolute denial of identity that colonialism entailed”.the irony of combining a social anti-colonial initiative with labour is that one reaches a point in which the is almost a confict of interest. cooper points out that africans “ran into the consequences of the limited spatial and cultrual domains over which they could excersise effective power, and the necessity for alliances with the very people whose tyranny they had pledged to uproot”.As a proud african it made sense to fight for their freedom and personal rights but the problems is that the world in which they live in is run by the people they are fighting. from an economic standpoint it is extremely detrimental and is comparable to having a job while simultaneously protesting against your boss. the catch 22 is that if one removes his/her boss one will also lose their job. However, these did not deter the major labour revolution. there were demands for higher wages and fair treatment. post world war ii the west africans did have some outside leverage that probably allowed the movement to take place and that was the struggling economies of europe and great britain.
“france and great britain economies were in shambles and the abilities to sell the own products on the forgein exchange was cruelly limited, saw their tropical colonies as the only way they could save the fran, the pound, and national autonomy from the new hegemon on the international horizon, the united states” the overall idea was to use africa as a source for cheap labour and resources by inherently selling them the idea that they would play a major role in working alongside the empires; all fundamental principles of colonialism. nevertheless, africa had learned from the past three hundred years and “continued strikes in africa were both a disruption of the economic project and an embarrassment to the ideological one. specific movements could be cited such as the Dakar general strike in british africa which was accompanied by other smaller strikes in the late 1940’s and unionism under sekou toure. overall, it became clear that africans demanded to be treated on equal footing as a european workers and unions were at the center of the struggle. although unions directly impeded the european “developmentalists” vision, “officials came to think trade unions were “a good idea, since an orderly process of negotiation could be carried out with them”. however, attempts of collaborating with unions failed for imperials due to previously noted examples of strikes as well as increasing entitlement demands. ultimately, despite the africans efforts in unionizing and coming together in labour movements, “their leaders...fell into an ideological trap”. the ideas of nation building, worker compensation, and essentially the quest for equality amoungst europeans lead africans to an inflection point between further economic opportunity and personal rights. the goals of african workers were not based in economics but rather social and nationalistic movements. the struggle to overcome imperialism lead to “both sides, as they negotiated and struggled with each other, [to] immerse themselves ever more deeply within a discursive structure”. although colonialism left africans at the mercy of their rulers whether it be the french or english, it provided structure in which people could adhere to and navigate within. uprising for social causes in itself creates instability. as african leaders fought and gained political power they quickly realized that “they had to remake their political basis by whatever means they could, building on the particualristic ties that the universalities of modernity were supposed to diminish”. the workers social and political demands, though they may be warrented, inherntely caused the removal of the only form of structure they knew and lead to further economic problems.
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expanding from the will of the laborer to the greater structural, social, and political institutions that are at the root of the economic disaster of africa, it is important not to get lost in the morality of the situation. on moral grounds african laborers certainly had every reason in the world to attempt to unionize and fight for social rights. for the most part, african laborers were essentially taking part in slave labor only now receiving barely enough money to live. in “how europe undervalued africa” rodney points out that “the sale of produce by an african cash-crop farmer rarely brought in 10 pounds”, which was quickly gone between loan payments, taxes, and basic survival. there were also unimaginable social conditions such as segregated hospital service where there were “34 beds for half a million blacks” in the city of Ibadan. overall, its obvious that compared to their white counterparts, africans had a lot of reasons to demand a better standard of living. however, the discussion of economics does not concern morality. from an economic perspective the worker’s rights and standards of living are irrelevant. workers should inherently be willing to work to earn as much income as they can no matter the job or standards. on the other side of the coin, the employer will seek to create the most profit by paying the worker the least amount the job while maintaining the minimum standards to create the product. the economic problem with africa that stems from decolonization is not a social, political, or a moral one, but rather purley a structural one. Coloniasm was a “one-armed-bandit”(585).
Theorectically a colony should function almost as an investor. The colonizers would go into an area and begin to devolpe structure within the colony. There should be industrail systems such as mining and agricukture that in turn lead to the creation of roads, transportation, and housing. Though they are still a socially opressive regime, coloniezers have the insentive to forster infrastucture and the native worker in order to enhance economic production. However european colonies explioted africa, without any notion of nation building. in these “civilizing missions” there were countries such as the Portuguese who had “not managed to train a single doctor in Mozambique”(586). There was also extreme explotation in the mining industry. Besides the array of health concerns including such as “scurvy ans other epidemics [that] broke out [in feilds such as] the Lupa gold fields of tanganyika, the real exploitation lies in the fact that workers in the mines never learned how to refine the product. africans would be paid simply to retrieve the various minerals from the ground but never took part in the art of using the mineral to create its end product. a block of gold, diamond, or iron is not worth half as much as the gold ring, diamond necklace, or piece of a building. all skilled labour was done strictly by europeans. the idea of allowing africans to complete what was essentially slave labor without ever teaching or creating inland institutions in which skilled labour could be practice was the overall theme of the colonizers. this theme is based on the priciple of keeping africa ignorant so that individuals could rise above their determined living standards. certaint industrail policies epitimized the europeans will to obtian all resources possible from africa without ever creating the necesary infrastructure for it to operate on its own. for example, “sudanese and ugandans grew cotton but imported manufactured cotton goods and the ivory coast grew cocoa and imported tinned cocoa and chocolate”(590). these situations presented themselves because the was legislation from agencies like a “development commission” in uganda that prohibitted africans from owning gins(590). even if legislation did allow for african entrupenourship, it was an impossible feat because of the extrmely low wages and banking provisions similar to “credit to natives (Restriction) Ordaninace of 1931”(587) of british east africa. again, in theory, a colonizer has a capitalist insentive to develope the native land and people in hopes of creating effecient and productive industry that is sustainable allowing the coloniezers to use the least amount of resources while recieving immense profits. because the colonialist state controls the poitlics of the region, it can in turn tax the colony to any degree, further enhancing profits. therefore, economically speaking, european colonizers should have encouraged african growth and inland industry because it would allow for more tax revenue and direct access to resources without having to spend money to maintain the system. we kno that europeans did not follow a capitalist model that was once implemented in european history but rather the implemented policy that was as close to modern slavery as possible. perfectly highlighted by rodney, “the most convincing evidence as to the superficiality of the talk about colonialism having “modernized” africa is the fact that the vast majority of africans went into colonialsm with a hoe and came out with a hoe”. discussions regarding labour movements and lack of investment are a direct product of failed politics. In todays world, one can easily make the argument that politics is an extensive of economics. between the “fiscal cliff” and eurpoean debt issues across the continent, we see everyday how politics is used to essentially solve economic problems. during african colinization, the exact opposite took place in that politics were the root of all the economic issues during and post colinization. many may view the politics of colinialism, especially in africa, as a mere extension of slavery and out right rulership lacking any true political process. however, it is important to understand the difference between social and economical politics. colonizers had the least regard for the humanity of africans stemming from the first europeans to land on african shores. lack of social concern could be highlighted by the immense amount of social opression including, racism, segregation, and the glaring idea that europeans believed africans to be backwards and primitive people. although social standards of colonies are deemed morally unexcetable, they still do not explain why africa’s economies are still in shambles today. the answer resides in the removal of all native economical and political institutions. in pre- colonial times dating all the way back to slavery, “some control over social, politcal, and economic life was retained by africa(593). under colonialsm, “africans ceased to set indigenous goals and standards, and lost full command of training young members of society”(593). there are numerous examples of social oppression in the past and even in todays world but the key difference between africa and why they have yet to recover econimicaly is the lack of native unity. from the american revolution to the indpendence of india from england, there have been many socially subservant colonies that retained a sense of national unity and leadership which eventually lead to prosperity. one can debate the reasons why africans lost the little tradition they once had, but the fact remains that africans had no major social or political unity on any level. there were some “traditional rulers such as the sultan of sokoto, the kabaka of buganda, and the asantehene of asante” who linages “retained a great deal of prestige in the eyes of africans, but they had no power to act outside the narrow boundries laid down by colonialsm”(594). the african rulers that were present in colonies were simply “chosen to serve as agents of foriegn colonial rule and were obviously nothing but puppets” who were hated and dispised(594). ultimately africans turned on themselves and de-colinization simply shed light on horrors colinization had created. the previous historical references to america and india as colonies who recovered from colonialsm and were not meant to directly compared africa to other nations, but instead, to highlight some sense of national solidarity is the vital aspect of potical and in turn economical stability post colonization. there are obviously extreme differences between each historical example of colinization and de-colinization. nevertheless, in each example of a nation that continued to expand and create its own identity after de-colinization, there was a sense of nation solidarity. ideally, it should have been inherent for africans to face the common enemy of colinialsm both socially and politically in ways similar to the labour movments and unions. any grand general aligiance would have been be essiential for recreating nationalitly when the time came. contrary to what might have been expected, africans had “intellectual responses to opression in africa, largely based in a appeal of the simple respect of human suffering, a fundemental revolt against the endless misery of [colinization]”(8). because of the lack of leadership by coloninists and post colinists to “infuse an authentic and well sustained african input into the paradigm”(9), there was no way to unite “ethnic and regianal loyalites which go under the name tribalism” inevitably allowing conflict to “fester and grow in unhealthy forms”(596). though africans were terrible shape under colonialsm, the absense of the colonial structure actualy brought about more division and violence then under colonial regimes. Tribalism, although in some ways present in pre-colonial africa, was and remains the consequence of the removal of the native african social and political structures and the epitmy of the lack of unity that impedes the economic pregress of africa today. although it is denounced by african political and intellectual leaders as “retrogressive and shamful, an unwelcome interuption in the pursuit of moderninty” it has been regarded as a “cultrual ghost”(306). An example of the ill effects of tribalism can be found in Nigeria. The nigerian civil war of the late 1960’s took the lives of approimatley 3 million and severly set back the economy. a general explanation of the war states that it was a political confict caused by the attempted suscession by the nigerian south eastern provinces known as Republic of brifra. practically speaking, it was a massacre of ibos by hausas that inherently stems from “tribal” differences. not even ten years into “the new epoch of political independence”, the nigerian civil war demonstrated that nigeria “was itself a product of the way people were brought together under colonialsm so as to be exploited”(596). again, in spite of the array of moral and social delimmas, there are immense economic consequences conflicts within a nation. the political extremism and structrual instability does not allow for any indutrial production and significantly deters any foriegn investment the could potentially help develope infrastructure. besides nigeria, there are countless examples such as darfur, uganda, and sudan where africans, for no object reasons, destroy each other. for africa it is the ultimate form of irony because, for the past 300 years africans have felt the harsh realities of political and social prejudice but as soon as the forgiegn threat was removed they in turn applied the same principles against each other. from an outside persective there seems to be a complete lack of logic. regardless of the social, geographical, and historical differences between ethinic groups in all colonial states, the oprrotunity of national freedom and prosperity through at least economical and even primitive cooperation should outwiegh the continuation of colonial principles. instead,

“The familiar characteristics of African politics, those that carry the stigma of failure—the combination of the heavy-handed authoritarianism of the state with the pervasiveness of patron-client relations at all levels of politics, the salience of ethnicity in political and socio-economic transactions, the crude materialism and corruption of the 'politics of the belly' that reduces the state to fought-over instruments of accumulation—can then be understood as grounded in factors of history, culture and political economy, and not the moral turpitude and cupidity of African elites or the inherent perversity of states.”(308) in pursuit of the causes for economic stagnation in africa stemming from decolinization, it becomes apparent that de-colinization did not in fact cause many of the economic problems present in africa, but rarther exposed what colonialism manifested. discussions about the role of the labour movement, lack of infrastructure developement, and failed politics leading to an absence of unity and leadership are all intrinsically linked and provide a road map for the faults of african colonialism. laborers in africa simliar to those in the french and british colonies previously considered highlighted the dilmemma of revolting for personal welfare and perhaps losing the economical opprotunity. a conversation about labor leads to the bigger issue of infrastructure. colonies practised pure explotation of not only the workers but the natrual resources while ignoring the potential economic advantages of devolpings basic infrastruction such as education and health of the natives. the lack of basic investment in the native society, stemmed directley from the political overhaul that denied an africans chance to improve his/her standared of living and removed most if not all previous native political and socio cultural structure. inevitably, the lack of any unifing cause or leadership lead to chaos, destruction, and the implementation of the same explotaition capitalism amoungst themsleves. though the economics problems in africa arise from a vast majority of social, political, and structrual problems that were not adressed, they all inherentely share a common theme of disintegration and a lack of collective efforts for similiar goals. in conclusion, examinations of african economics lead one to look for potential causes to the major economical issues. a conversation regarding economics searches for objective reasons that can account for the inclusion or lack there of certain economical principles pertaining to a given economy. however, ultimately, as the preceding information alludes to, economic reasons are natraully dervided from social constructions. despite our attempt as humans to create complex reasoning to allow for the idea of objective conclusions, we all inherently share a mutual social and emotional understanding for our subjective behavior. economic reasioning fundementally assumes that individuals will act rationally at all times. the principle of rationality allows economics models to predict future statistcs based on past results. in the case of africa there are major seperations between logic and social behavior which arise due to our innate tendency to be subject. economically, colonies can function smoothly within given parameters and should allow for developement of the work force and native land. however, socially, colinization is a travisty and represents to complete mistreament of human beings. the expectation that colonizers can maintian a high level of social tyranny while simeoultansely expecting to use the same people they are oppressing for labour is the huge break in logic. perhaps a bigger false assumption is that the absense of social opression automatically allows for economic prosperity. unfortunately, africa cannot reverse the past, and it is true that the lack of current economic growth is directlety influenced by these disconnects between sociocultrual and industrial worlds. but because history cannot be earased, africa and the world must ethnic and moral injustices to the side and rebuild. logical reasoning needs to be prepared with logical solutions. one will be able to trace economic and social problems in africa to colinization and de-colinization a million diffferent ways for the an eternity. people have even gone as far as blaming the georgraphy of the continent. in “geography, demography, and economic growth in africa”, a large part of the reasoning for lack of economic growth is attributed to the geopgraphical settings within the continent. the paper references the traditional causes for the lack of growth such as colonialism and its emcoppasing consequences, however it reiterates that “the root of africa’s povery lies in its extrodinary disadvantageous geograhphy”(211). ironically, in the same article it references Hong kong and singapore as “small island economies with negligible agriculture sectors and rapid growth in manufacturaing and service sector”, as regions that have overcome geographical disadvantages. though there are african regions with similiar geographical circumstances, the article states “no african country has made a similiar transition to export-led growth in manufactures or services”(212). the paper by notable econimists bloom and sachs is statistacllaly legitimate and offers unique logical reasoning to some of africas economical woes. But, this paper is a prime example of how one can deduce inumerous explanations for current problems that dont have clear approachable solutions. in order to get past todays economic issues, africa as a continent, in uniefied form, needs to focus on today and what principles can be put in place to provide long term solutions.…...

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