Principal Essays on the Political Economy of Africa

Essays on the Political Economy of Africa

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Essa ys on the Political Economy of Africa

Essays on the Political
Economy of Africa
by Giovanni Arrighi
and John S. Saul


Monthly Review Press
New York and London


hi alld }olm S. Saul
CopyriglJt © J973 by Gio'{.mmi Arrig
All Riglm Reserved



Publication Data
Library of Congress Cataloging in
Arrighi, Giovanni.
Essays on flJe polilical ecol101llY of Afric
hlclfldes bihlio
Salll,}. S.
Contents: Overviews; Arrigbi, G. and
cal Africa.
Socialism and
and revolution
Arrighi, G. alld Saul,}. S. Nationalism
in sub-S
Ecollomic c01lditions.
I. Africa, Sub_Sahart111_
a. J. Africa,
2. Socia
/o/m S. II. Title.
SlIb.SabiJrall�ocial conditions. I. Saul,
ISBN o-BH4J-2J4-2
First Priming
Molltbly Review PreSl
Street, New York, N.Y. JOOll
33/37 Moreland StTeet, London E.e. 1
MallufactilTed ill fbe United States of



Socialism :lnd Economic Development in Tropical Africa
Giovi11111i Arrigbi a7ld Jo/m S. Saul


2. Nationalism :lIld Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa
GioVaJ/11i ATTigbi and 101m S. S(ml



3. Intemational Corporations, Labor Aristocracies, and

u:onomic Development in Tropical Africa
GlOvd1l11i Arrighi


4. On African Populism



S. SlUt!


Labor Supplies in Historical Perspective: A Study of
Pr�lctarianization of the African Peasantr
GIO't'anl1i Arrighi




-6. African Socialis
m in One Country: Tanzania
/ohll S. Salll




7 The Poli �ical


�c�nomy of Rhodesia

J GioVQ1I111 ArrighI


Mozambique Revoluti
8. FRELlMO and the
John S. Saul


Appelldix: African Peasa
John S. Saul alld



The essavs collected in this volume, though they have been writ�

ten over'a period of some years and for a variety of forums and

purposes, arc held together as a mor; e or less coherent whole by
the common perspective which they evidence, a perspective nur�

tured by our experience during a number of years' residence in
Africa. The first relevant dimension of this experience was a

growing realization that our training in two of the established

social �ciel1ces (economics and political science) was of only lim�
ited lise in understanding the various transformations and prob�

lelllS we found to be present in Africa. This elicited an attcmpt to
engage, with others, in the search for new methodologies capable

of ordering and illuminating the data with which we were pre�

sented. The second relevant dimension was a growing awareness

of the extent to which "structures of domination" (shaped by the

interaction of contcmporary imperialism with patterns of domes�

tic class form:ltion) were the most important variables affecting

rhe prospects for African progress and development. This forced

upon us the duty to assist in the search for novel and effective
Illeans whereby the anti�imperialist snuggle could be waged.

These two dimcnsions coalesced in a conviction that one pos�
sible contribution to such a strugglc would be to help in the de�
vc] prne llt of theory and analysis at once intellectually more
satiSfy ing and strategically more relevant. Tn this effort we took
OUr cue from the words of Amilcar Cabral, who said that "the

erj � is of the African revolution ... is nOt a crisis of growth, but
a crisis of knowledge. In toO many cases the struggle for
Iberarioll and our
plans for the future are not only without a

�lal t1ly




theoretical base, but arc also morc or less cut off from the con­
crete situation in which we arc working." To be sure, some of the
essays included here will inevitably seem much too "academic" to
mally revolutionary purists. But, i n aspiration at least. even these
arc informed by :10 attempt to identify with the oppressed in their
struggle. Above all, particularly at this relatively carly stage of
our own thinking on such issues, they must be considered mere
"openers" (or discussion; they will have fully served their pur­
pose if they carn rhe SOrt of constructive criticism from concerned
radicals, both on the African continent and in the metropolitan
centers, that can help all of us to advance the analysis further.
Of course, scholarship which is Marxist and socialist in its aspi­
ration, its method, its spirit, always develops best in a context of
collective toil and comradely interchange. And in the course of
writing these essays both authors already have profited from work
with comrades in Zimbabwe, in Tanzania, and elsewhere, who
have debated with us, criticized and encouraged our undertakings,
shlred in common intellectual and political effort. It would be
invidious to single out names from the long list of such associates
that might be printed here; they cannot, in any case, sh:lre re­
sponsibility for the many "failures of analytical nerve" which re­
main. Our debt to them is ver)' real, nonetheless.

l\otilan lnd Dar es Salaam
January 1973

Giovanni Arrighi
John S. Saul

Part I

Socialism and Economic Development
i n Tropical Africa

Giovanni Arrighi and John

S. Saul

A noted economist (Perroux) has defined socialism as "Ie developpe­
ment de tout l'hommc er de tous les homrnes." The mowr for a drive to­
ward socialism is generally to be found in a conviction that man's crea­
tive potential can only be fully realized in a society which transcends the
cu]wr.ll centrality of "possessive individualism" and in which a signal
measure of economic and social equality, the precondition for genuine
poliTical democracy, is guaranteed. In the best of socialist intellectual
work, however, socialists have been equally interested in economic de­
velopment and in the full release of the potential for growth of the pro­
ductive forces in a society. Within this tradition it was perhaps Marx
who most dramatically fused the concern for economic development and
[he concern for the elimination of class inequalities in his presentation of
[hc socialist casco He argued that the inequalities of the bourgeois society'
of his day increasingly meant that the potential of the available industrial
machine would nor be realized: inequality and muffled produC[ive forces
thus went hand in hand. I
Certain class inequalities have sometimes proved to be historically
necessary to foster the full release of the potential for growth of [he s0cial productive forces; this is too obvious a fact ro require emphasis. But
the existence either of some necessary dichotomy between "develop­
ment" and "equality" Of, on the contrary, of some necessary link be­
tween [he TWO cannot be postulated a priori. It has to be ascertained em­
pirically through an analysis of the relationship between the class

This �nicl� first �ppe:lfed in


Jool7llll of Modtm Afncm Studits, no. 2(1968). pp.

141-{>9. An earlier version was presented ro the plen;lry session oftJw:, University of East
Afria SociaJ Science Conference in Dar es S3Jum in J�nu�ry 1968.





Dr:ve{opment in Tropical Africa


economic �evelopmenr at each
structure of a society and its
ca must
alist casc III contemporar.y Afn
juncture. A sophisric3rcd soci
lC development
an increased rate of CCOIlOln
therefore fuse a concern for
a [[o by the
played in thc development equ . �
with a perception of the role
al mtcrests
" ... of classes and groups
" , g-nee
eXIstence and en
s .I� f:acl
er, as will be argued here
d access [Q benefits_ Moreov
r de­
African societies, a�d ther
ld the productive potcmial of
sformation, const�amcd by th.
velopment and structural tran
economy and S(�C!ety; the available
pauern of world and domestic
y as the reparnat�d profits of over
plus is ill utili7_ed-drained awa
lgent domestic
finns, or consumed by self-indu
for exam�le,. an arou
tion of a larger surplus from,
� .10suggests, It IS the� of
peasamry discouraged. As this
s thus to hamper a rISe lfl prod
equality, in particular, which tend
. l �oncerns WIll
these tWlf
A viable socialist strategy directed toward
three close related polLey areas. On
have to face dilemmas of choice in
and social system, one confro�ts
the level of the international economic
and a grave ine�uality of fi�ancL31
the specter of international capitalism
shown, can be major constr:llnts on
power, realities which, as will be
estic scene, one fac�s . the �roblem
general development. On the dom
the center of admH� lstranon and
the relationship between "rown,"
and "country," an mteractlon from
such industrialization as takes place,
g but which all roo often defines the
which real development could sprin
ted spheres of a society falli�g short
split between unequal and unconnec
one ha� the p��blem of agrlcultuT.
of genuine transformation. Finally,
e mequalmes can and
development itself in a rural sphere wher
run, these have a rat er mor.c
to emerge, although, at least in the
lopment than the � ther mequah­
ambiguous impact on the pace of deve
ties already hinted at
ed look at the actual pattern of
h is the absence of a really hard-head
a and in the world at large and at
inequalities within contemporary Afric
to the trajectory of growth and de­
the direct relationship of this pattern
char��ter of m �ch �f th� gloss
velopment which explains the superficial
practmoners. 1 0 thIS pomt we
on "African socialism" presented by its
explains the generally
shall rerum. This failure of analytical nerve also
com �entary on the
unsatisfactory character of the bulk of
the 1(l{.11s claSSlc:!s o� t�IS OOdy
phenomenon of Afri�an soci�lism. Perhaps
t Berg enmled SOClaILsm and
of work is a much-CIted arncle by EllJO




Eco nomic Development in Tropical Africa." 2 Berg makes much of the
failu re of the Guinean experience, as well as several points of general in­
terest, culminating in a swinging dismissal of the pretensions of a "so­
cialisr case" for tropical Africa. But his analysis is undermined by a
seeming disinterest in defining or taking seriously rhe real dilemma of
development common to all African States, or the relationship of a s0cial is t strategy to them . To Berg we shall also return-by way of a brief

conclus ion.

The purpose of this essay is limited, as, at the present stage of rhe de­
bate, we can merely hope to raise some neglected (IUestions, juxtaposing
Them with the theory and praxis'of African "socialists." The fuller elab­
oration of a socialist strategy, on the other hand, can only emerge at a
more advanced srage of debate and research . In Section I we examine
the relationship bctwt:en current class formation in tropical Africa and
economic development, focusing on the involvement of international
capitalism in the area and on the emergence of what we shall define as
the "labor aristocracy" of tropical Africa. In Section 2 we shall look,
first, at the ideology of "African socialism" and, second, at the policies of
African "socialists," subjecting both theory and praxis to careful cri­
tique. From this exercise the reader should gain a broader perspective on
the problem of socialism in Contemporary Africa . We shall conclude, in
Section 3, with some brief remarks on the future course of socialist de­
bate �nd strategy in Africa, making some reference to the Tanzanian
I. Class Formation and Ec(momic DC".;e/op-mnll
The vaST majority of the population of tropical Africa consists of inde­
pen�cnr producers who do not depend upon wage employment for their
subSIstence.! Any discussion of economic de\lelopment in tropical Africa

must therefore begin with a general description of African pre-capitalist
or, as they are more often referred to, traditional economies. This is ex­
tremely difficult, in view of their heterogeneity,4 but some common fea­
tures of particular relevance to our discussion can be singled out.
Individuals can customarily acquire land for
homestead and farms
through tribal or kinship rights.
ely rarely is land ac­
qUIred or disposed of through purchase or sale, though the
. n
of agriculture has often been followed by a marked expansion of



J: Overviews


private land ownership The specialization . of labor as generally not
gone very far in traditional African ccon�rmes; a .re anve1y small range
of commodities is produced and few full-tune speclahsrs are r� be found
In addition, the technology is rather rudimentary from the pomt of vIew
of the tools used, storage and transport facilities, the control of plant and
animal disease, and the comrol of water s[Ora�c Market exchanges


were-and still aTC in many areas-peripheral, In the sense that most
producers do not rely on exchange for the acquisition of the b�lk of th.c
means of subsistence. Thus the high dependence on the phYSIcal en�l­
rooment, due to the rudimentary [echnology, is matched by a relative
independence from market Aucruati ons.
Social cohesion is fostered by obligatory glft- and coun� er-gl.ft-glvlng



berween persons who stand in some socially defined re anonshlp to one
som� s0another, andlor by obligarory payments or labor serVlces
cially organized


Security of subsistence is therefore generally guaranteed t� the tndlvld­
ual in twO ways: through socially suuClured rights to receIVe factors . of

production and through emergency allonnents of food from the chief

and gifts from kin.

lr is widely accepted that African peasants have, tn g� neral, been
highly responsive to the market opportunities .that have anse� throu�h

contact with European capitalism. This responSiveness has manifested It­
self in the labor migration system andlor in the rapid expansion of pro­
duction for the market of both subsistence and cash cr� ps. It � ms that
this responsiveness was made possible by the existence In. tra ltlonal Af­


rican economies of considerable surplus productive capacity In the form
of both surplus land and surplus labor-time .! This means that the con­


frontation of a traditional economy producing a limited range . of g
with the sophisticated consumption pattern of an advan� ed Ind.u� tnal

system led ro a reallocation of labor-time from unproductive tradltJonal

activities ro the production of a marketable surplus.6

It has been pointed out, however, that the increase in peasant produc­
tion for the market has had the character of a "once and for all" change


(though distributed over a number of years), as witnes
b� �he dnr:lc­
teristic growth curve of such production; a curve, that IS, nstng steeply
in the early phase and tapering off gradually.) This phenom �� on can be
accounted for by the fact that the social structure of the traditIOnal econ-

Dt'Veio/lmmt in Tr(}/JieaJ A/rica


omies favors, by maximizing security, the adoption
of a short "time hori­
zon" in the allocation of whatever surplus might have
been produced as
among consumption, unproductive accumulation,
and productive accu­
mulation.� In other words, peasants still largely invo
lved in a pre-capital­
ist mooe of production are likely to have a strong prefe
rence for presem
cons umption and often for unproductive accumula
tion, which, by main­
taining or strengthening social cohesion, preserves
the security afforded
by the traditional system. This preference is likely
to be strengthened
by the confrontation of [he peasants with the soph
isticated consumption
pattern of advanced industrial systems mem
ioned in the previous para­
It would seem, therefore, that we have two
problems involved in pro­
moting the growth of productivity of the
Afri can peasamry: (1) The
problem of creating incentives to explo
it whatever surplus productive
capacity in the form of surplus land and
surplus labor-time may exist;
and (2) the problem of raising the productiv
e absorption of the surplus
produced in the traditional sec[Qr in
order [Q engender the steady
growth of the productivity oflabor. The
first problem concerns the rela­
tionship between the modern and the
traditional sectors; that is, it con­
cerns the pattern of surplus absorptio
n in the former which is likely to
maximize the incentives to increase
productivity in the latter. The sec­
ond problem, on the other hand,
relates to the type of organization
production and institutions in the
traditional sec[Qr which is likely
guarantee the desired responses to
the stimuli transmitted by the mod
seCtor. In tropical Africa the first
problem seems of primary importanc
because population pressure on
the land, though growing, is gene
not yet severe, so that most
traditional economies still have some
producrive capacity. For this
reason we shall focus our attemion
on the
development potential of the
pattern of surplus absorption in the
The "ideal type," in Max
Weber's sense, of surplus absorptio
n in the
sectors of present-day tropical Afric
an economies is charac­
teflZ d by three main
forms of surplus absorption: the
export of profits
and lIlVeSTment inco
me in general; discretionary cons
tion on the
parr of a small
labor arisTocracy, as defined below
; and productive invest­
ment, embodying
capital intensive techniques, main
ly concentrated in
sectors other than
those producing capital goods.9
In order to understand





I: OvtTviews

Development i11 Tropical AJrica

absorption, it is
the T...»lationship between these three forms of surplus
0 f t he
convenienr to begin by examining the causes and. . I"Icanons
sectoral disrribution and factor-intensity 0f productLv� In:estme�r.
The use of capital intensive techniques of production In noplcal Af­
rica is not only the result of technological factors. Two other. factors
seem equally relevane the investment policie� of the modern Interna­
tional corporations in underdeveloped economiCS, and the wage �nd salpolicies of the independent African governments, which, In turn,
pend upon the character of their power base. With regard to �he
.. , the modern international corporanons rend to adopt
. nts andbeconstrai
intensive techniques mainly
cause of their strong financial position.
Techniques of management, organi�tion, and control have evolved
in the technological environment of the mdustrlal centers and cannot. be
easily adapted 10 the conditions obtaining in unde�d�velope.d cou.ntfles.
In consequence, the spectrum of techni�ues t�ken mto. conSIderation by
the corporations may nor include labor intenSIve techmques. An
and probably more important factor seems, ho�ever, to be the. fina.n� lal
strength of these corporations, whi�h they acquIre through thel� PrJCln
and dividend policies in the industrial centers as w.ell as the �flpherr
The international corporations apply ro all thelf branc�es
methods corresponding 10 their capital;" as a re � ult, capItal. Int� nsl�e
techniques are adopted in tropical Africa irrespeCTIve of the sltuatlon JIl
the territories where the investment takes place.
But capital intensity of production is also favored by the salary and
wage policies of the independent African gov�rnments . Th � salarr
structure of the independent African states remamed as a colomal hen­
tage, and as Africans gradually entered the civil service and th� mana�e­
rial positions in large foreign concerns, they assumed the basIC � alarles
attached to the poStS .11 This unquestioning acceprance of a colomal sal­
ary structure brought about a huge gap between the incomes of the
elites and sub-elites in bureaucratic employment and the mass of the
wage workers . Thus the whole level of labor incomes, from. :he �n­
skilled labor upward, came into question and, gwen th� political Ill­
fiuence of urban workers on African governments, the major employers
of labor, a steady rise in wages ensued . This steady ri� is also favor�d
by, and tends to strengthen, the capital intensive bias of mvest.menr, dIS­
cussed above. Capital intensity gcnerally means {hat labor IS a lower




propof[Jon of COSts, so that the individual concern is more
willing to
conc�de wage Incre
ases (especially foreign oligopolies which can pass
cost lI1crea�es to the � onsumer). However, [his reinforces the tende
toward caplral llltensive (or labor saving) growth and a "spiral proce
may ensueY
With regard to the sectoral distribution of productive
investmem be­
sides �bvi�us tec?nolog�cal facrors (economies of scale, advan
tag s of
opcratlllg III an IndusTTlal environment, etc ) there seem to
be three
main reasons for the observed underinvestment in the capita
l goods in­
dustries of tropical Africa. In the first place, the very bias
in favor of
capital intensive techniques discussed above tends to promote
the use of
highly specialized machinery and eonsequemly restrains
the growth of
demand for capital goods that could be produced locally
. Other reasons
relate more di�ecdy to �he behavior of the modern internationa
l corpora­
tions. In nonmdustrlaltzcd economics the market for capita
l goods is
small; for such goods to be produced there must be good
reasons to be­
lieve that the whole economy will deVelop in such a way
as to nourish a
market for capital goods. Ii
This �act was no serious obstacle in the nineteenth
cemury, when
. e entre
preneurs and financial groups often undertook inves
ment whic� vas "unjustified" by market conditions
, thereby fostering
the md�stTlall�atJo� of less developed economies
. Nowadays the great
calculanng ranonahty, care, and circumspection in
approaching new de­
velopments which characterize modern corporation
s prevent that proc­
. g place
ess from takm
. As Paul M. Sweezy has remarked, it is one of the
many comradictions of capitalism that better know
ledge may impair its
�unctl. onmg
. Fmally, the lack of investment in the sector producing cap­
. d by
Ital g�s IS also determllle
the oligopolistic structure of advanced
tries because this implies that producers of capit
� .
al goods,
In decldlllg whet�er to establish, or to
assist in establishing, a capital
gOods mdustry, wtll generally take into accou
m the effcct of the decision
not only on their own and their comp
etitOrs' exporr interests' but also on
those of their customers.
The lack of development of the capital
goods sector has important im­
. ·
ns for the growth of the modern sector
. . For such a development '
when It. does occur, can perform
ion of expanding both the
prod� cnve
capacity of [he economy and the internal market
. This laner
function, too often disregarded,
was emphasized by Lenin, who argued


Part 1: Overviews

Dt'I;e/opmmt ill Tropical Africa

that the development of [he internal marker was possible despite re·
srricrcd consumption by the masses (or the lack of an external outlet for
capitalist production) because "to expand production it is first of all nec­
essary to enlarge (hat deparnncm of social production which manufac­
tures means of production, it is necessary to draw into it workers who
create a demand for anicles of consulTIpcion. Hence 'consumption' de­
Thus underinvestment in the capital
velops after 'accumulation.'
goods sector restrains the expansion not only of the productive capacity
of tropical Africa bur also of its internal market, perpetuating the de­
pendence of the economy on the growth of world demand for its pri­
mary products. It is nO[ surprising. therefore, that the economies of
tropical Africa have been unable to grow faster than their exports. In the
period 1950-1965 real product seems in fact to nave grown at an aver­
age compound rate of 4.2 percent per annum,16 which is about 1 percent
lower than the rate of expon growth.
Given the high rate of population growth, per capita real product has
increased at an average Tate of 2 percent per annum in the same period.
This relatively low rate of growth, combined with the effects of the
"wage-mechanization" spiral discussed above, has resulted in a decrease
in the proportion of the labor force in wage employment in moSt
countries and has been accompanied by a widening gap between urban
and rural incomesY It is far from correct, however, to assume that all
classes in the urban areas have benefited from this widening gap. A large
proportion of urban workers in Africa nOforiously consists of semi­
proletarianized peasants, periodically engaged in wage employment.
This migrant labor force is not "stabilized" and in general does not
acquire that specialization nceded in industrial enrerprises which use
capital intensive techniques. These laborers ar a ,lass, i.e., as peasantS
temporarily in wage employment. cannot gain from the "wage­
mechanization" spiral we have been discussing, since higher individual
incomes are matched by a reduction in their wage employment opporru­
The higher wages and salaries, however, foster the stabilization of the
better paid section of the labor force whose high incomes justify the sev­
erance of tics with the traditional economy. Stabilization, in turn, pro­
motes specialization, greater bargaining power, and further increases in
the incomes of this small section of the labor force, which represents the
proletariat proper of tropical Africa. These workers enjoy incomes three

or more times higher than those of unskilled laborers and, together with
the clites and sub-elitcs in bureaucratic employment in the civil service
and expatriate concerns, constirute what we call (he labor aristocracy of
tropical Africa. It is the discretionary consumption of this class which
absorbs a significant proponion of the surplus produced in the money
The third significanr form of surplus absorption is the profits, interest,
dividends, fees, etc., transferred abroad by the international corpora­
tions. It seems a well-established fact that foreign private investment in
less developed economies (far from being an ourlet for a domestically
generated surplus) has been, in the recent past, an efficient device for
transferring surplus generated abroad to the advanced capitalist
countries." It is a highly plausible assumption that, at least with regard
ro tropical Afcica, this transfer of surplus is bound to incn.:·ase in the fu­
rure, for two main reasons: the high rate of profit expected by foreign
corporations and the relatively slow rate of growth of the economies of
Tropical Africa. It appears that returns in the order of 15-20 percent on
capital. usually on the basis of an investment maturing in about three
years, are required in order to attract foreign capital to tropical Africa.'9
The implication is that, in order to ofsf et the outflow of profits, foreign
investment in the area must steadily grow at a r.lte of 11-14 percent,
which seems an impossible attainment in economies growing at a rate of
+-5 percent. Thus, while the transfer of surplus has been somewhat
contained during the present phase of easy import substitution, the
outflow can only become more serious in the years ahead as that phase
comes to an end.
\\le may now discuss the developmcnt potential of this p:mern of sur­
plus absorption. The focus of attention must be upon the creation of
stimuli to exploit the surplus productive capacity existing in the tradi­
tional c<:onomies. There are twO main ways in which African peasants
participate in the money economy: through periodic wage employment
and through the sale of agricultural produce. It follows that the develop­
ment potential of a given pattern of surplus absorption in the modern
economy is determined by its impact on the demand for pea&:lnt labor
�nd produce. From this standpoint the pattern discussed has litrle, if any,
potential. The slow growth of (he money economy and the concurrent
high rate of mechanization and automation hold back The growth of
w�ge-ernployment opportunities for the peasantry. More important still,






Dr.;elopml'nl in Trapical A/ric,]

I: OveT'!JiC'Ws


the absorption of a considerable share of 'he surplus by the discretionary
consumption of the labor aristocracy (which creatcs demand in the in­
dustrial countries or in the modern economies of tropical Africa them­

distri bution) upon the srructure of the uopical African economics.1I It
docs not follow, however, that the disengagement from international

growth of infernal demand for peasant produce. As a consequence the

brought about not only by the pattern of foreign investment but also by

selves), and by the transfer of investment incomes abroad, rcstrnins the

creation of stimuli to increase prodUCTivity in the rural areas is left to the

sluggish expansion of foreign demand for African produce and to those

f rt" which arc a prominent feature of much "social­
"invocations TO efo

ist" practice in Africa and to which we shall return.

capitalism is a slIfficiem condition for development. As we have seen, the
emergence of a labor aristocracy, with considerable political power, was

the acceptance of a colonial salary structure on the parr of independent
African governments. The labor aristocracy wil! therefore continue to

use iTS power in a state-controlled modern sector in order to appropriate

considerable share of the surplus in the fonn of increasing discretion­

The slow growth of peasant incomes and productivity has in rurn a

ary consumption. Under these conditions "perverse growth" would

since it further hampers the expansion of the internal marker. It would

[n order to achieve "rea]" long-term developmenr, disengagement from

rica within the existing political-economic framework is highly unlikely

power base of African governments.

negative impact on [he growth �tential of the modern se<:ror itself,
seem, therefore, that an acceleration of economic growth in tropical Af­
and, as the phase of easy import substitution is superseded, a slowdown

continue notwithstanding stare ownership of the means of production.ll

imernational capitalism will have to be accompanied by a change in the
Yet even the fe-allocation of surplus from the discretionary consump­

may actually be expected. In the light of these considerations, the cur­

tion of the "laoor aristocracy" to productive investment, though a neces-

as "pcrverse growth"; that is, growth which undermines, rather than en­

investment in the modern sector must be directed toward the creation of

In describing theoretically the current pattern of growth in Africa we

to the expansion of those industries producing the capital and the con­

rent economic growth of tropical Africa may be properly characterized
hances, the po[Cntialities of the economy for long-term growth.lO

have argued in terms of an "ideal type," as we were bound to in an essay

�-he full range

of this sort

of historica.l cases will undoubtedly include

exceptions which do nO[ fit our conclusions.

sary condition, is not sufficient for steady long-term growth. Productive

development stimuli in the traditional sector; that is, it mUSt be direete<!.

S!!lller goods most suited to the requirements of the traditional sector.

Failing this, as the history of socialist developmenr in nonindusrrial envi­

ronmcnrs has so often demonstrated, the growing demand for labor and

produce following upon industrialization would merely lead to unfavor­

able terms of trade for the traditional sector, restraining rhe exploitation

of its surplus productive capacity.l4

The problem of creating incentives to exploit surplus productive ca­



pacity in the traditional sector is crucial because there still exist, among


i i



sources of capital and "entrepre-

(public or private), which might push in a more fruitful

direction, are stifled by rhe emergent class structure and pattern of in­
ternational involvement.l'

The foregoing discussion suggests the advisability of a policy of self­


st"cond problem involved in raising the productivity of African peasants

(see above) is that of ensuring the productivl' absorption 0/ tht surplus

prQdl/CI'd in ,Iu traditional stetor. Here the queSTion of rural transforma­
tion is more starkly posed, even if difficult to answer af the theoretical

level. It will involve some calculations as to whether the transformation
of traditional economics is beSt attained through the formation of an

because of the impact of for­

ant families into larger units (cooperarives, collectives, communes):


cause of the drain on the surplus which, sooner or later, is engendered

by dependence on foreign capital; and

the peasants of tropical Africa, surplus land and surplus labor-time. The


reliance vis-a-vis international capitalism for two main reasons:

eign investment (with respect to choice of techniques and to its sectoral


agrarian capitalist class or rhe gradual absorption of the indil'idual peas­

whether through the utili7..ation or superseding of traditional forms of


Part J: (}::eT'1.,irws

Dewlopmnu in Tropical Ajrica

work cooperation, or through reliance upon central marketing boards or
traders for tnc collection of produce from, and distribution of manuf.'le­
tured goods ro, rhe traditional producers.
Ccnainly a process of vcry real differentiation is afOO( in many parts


bility that would ensue frolll any serious attempt at disengagemcnr from
international capitalism or reform of the power base of the AfriCln gov­
ermllents involved. This question, however, by no means invalidates rhe
historical necessity of the change itself, which should therefore be of

of rural Africa. The commercialization of peaS:lnr agriculture has ofren
been followed by a markcd expansion of privatc land owncrship," and a
growing division betwccn rhe nascem agricultural "emrepreneurs" ( he
"kulaks," as Profcssor DunlOm reccntly referred to them In Tanzama),

central imponance in socialist debate.

the !llOre marginal cash-croppers, the subsisrence farmers, and the agri­

It seems relevant at this point to appraise, using rather broad strokes,
the theory and practice of African socialism as evidenced to date. In this


cultural laborers. Increasingly these strata have differemial interests with
implications for rural strategy. Thus, for example. cooperatives may
come to be manipulated by the more economically advanced peasants
for their own benefit. If the instruments of "generalized mobilization"


The "nleory and pTtJ(fjce oj Ajricafl Socialism

wa), the nature of the limitations, both intellectual and contexrual, upon
socialist experiment in Africa may be clarified. It would. of course, be
:Irrificial to separate tOO categorically considerations as to "theor)," and

become mortgaged ro one particular group, the thrust of such a develop­

"practice"; an undcrstanding of the latter mUSt serve to illuminate the

ment policy may well be blunted.

real texture and function of the fonner. Nonetheless, many striking am­

On the other hand, it has lx:en ably argued that at this stage in devel­
opment it may be wise to "let the kulaks run," to allow the logic of the
market to

briser la jamille

(as Samir Amin has put it), and to break

down the attendam traditional economic constraints once and for all.l° It
is not inconceivable. of course. thar links of common imerest formed be­
tween emergent "capitalist" farmers and the labor arisTocracy could be­
come a further force to sustain rhe present pattern of ecollomy and soci­
cty-one thinks of the symbiosis between planters and bureaucnts in
the Ivor), CoaST. Yet much will depend upon the genenl framework
provided by the trajectory of de"elopment in the modern sectOr as to
how short-run compromises with "inequality" in the "traditional" sector
are situated and perhaps evenrually controlled.
In conclusion, the first part of our analysis raises a number of ques­
tions concerning the relationship betwccn currenr class formation and
long-term development in tropiCll Africa. The growth of a labor aris­
tocracy and the reliance on imernational capitalism, far from being nec­
essary for such dcvelopment, seem instead to reduce the growth poten­
tial of the economics in question, although the relationship between elass
formation and development, for the short run at least, is much less clear
in thc rural areas. It may be argued that the changes in surplus utiliza­
tion, which we have seen to be necessary for real development, arc not
possible under present historical conditions, particularly in view of the
short-term losses in economic growth and, quite possibly, in political sta-

biguities are readily identifiable on the ideological plane itself. whether
this be seen primarily as a determinant of practice or merely as its reflec­
tion and rationalization. The broad outline of the constellation of ideas
under discussion, sometimes identified generically as "African social­
ism," arc by now f.1miliar eTlOugh,lJ though they remain difficult to cap­
sulize as we must do here. It should be noted that even the overarching
label of"African socialism" has been vigorously rejected by some of the
continent's more militant prnctitioners; we must be careful not to sche­
matize away real differences.
Yet there remain cerrain central themes common to most African
writers and speakers on the subject and, more important, some common
pattern to rhe sccming inadequacy of the analysis underlying many of
their statements. Professed African socialisTS are, to be sure,' uniformly
interested in economic development; they have also sensed that some
(arm of coordinated expansion on the agricultural and industrial fronts is
rc·quircd in order to atrain that goo!. The precise nature of the problems
of "Structural transformation" which are involved is less clearly fixed in
their minds, though cerrain echoes of these concerns arc sometimes TO be
fOllnd scattered through their speeches and programs.
Evt'n socialiSTS, however, have tended TO operate in terms of the con­

\'cnrional model of development based upon the expansion of cash crops
for the export market, increased industrial capital formation in consumer
goods industries, and the import of foreign-generally privatc--{:apital,



ParI I: Overvitws

Devt!opmC1lt ill Tropical Africa

the TtXluisite amount of infrastructural investment being the responsibilicy of the state. This is, of course, in essence the ideal type of "perverse

of tropical Africa," 19 which have emerged to prominence i n the post­

tellecrual limitations, whether t
heybeconsciousorlIoconscious. liein.
inadequate undemanding of the process of sustaineddevelopment and

panying possibilities for exploitation by this labor aristocracy. The


growth" in Africa which we discussed in Section I. Thus the main in­

structural transformation, but also. as will become apparcm, in­

�ufficjently subtle and critical picture both of the emergingpattcULaf
African socioeconomic stratification (particularly as regards "town­
country" relations) and of the realities of the international economy.
Small wonder, then, that ideas about "development" and "equality" arc
themselves not systematically linked, and, in consequence, that "social­

isr" str:negies emerge which leave much [Q be desired.

In brief, a thoroughly disabused (and disinterested) look at such pat­

terns has rarely been taken by African leaders. This is reflecred by the
extent to which thc general tone of "socialist" thinking in Africa tends
to blur these concerns, despite the occasional admissions and qualifica­

tions wirnessing [Q rather greater sophistication. Thus, to take one ex­
ample, Senghor is sometimes alive in his writings to the dangers of a
newly privileged, urban-based group of "intellectuals-[iberJI profes­

sionals, functionaries, employers, even workers"-arising TO exploit "the
pe:lsams, shepherds, and artisans." Bur the point is not pushed, nor possi­
ble institutional checks hypothesized; rather, he relies largely upon

independence period. There has really been little grasp, within the doc­
trine of African socialism, of such a form of inequality and the accom­

necessity of bridging the urban-rural gap is rarely given sufficient prom­

inence; the SOrt of assault on privilege which would free :l good propor­
(ion of the surplus from urban consumptionism for rural incentives and
capital formation is deflected away.

Occasionally certain steps are taken and presented with a logic that

seems impeccably to combine the twin concerns of development and

equality. Thus an argumem postulated upon the social necessity of capi­

tal accumulation and the imperative of "hard work" is often used when

African governments turn to deal with the trade unions. In most "social­
ist·· countries the larrer have been brought TO heel, absorbed organi7..a­
tionally inro the network of the ruling party. It is argued that they rep­

resent a privileged cadre of workers and that their gains are being made
at the expense of the country as a whole, and of the rural sector in par­
ticular. As a step toward general development, they must be disciplined

accordingly and redirected from "eonsumptionist" to "productionist"

activities. )0

Another prime target is the tr.1ding community, and again the argu­

ment against it is often advanced in terms of the need for both a more

"spiritual values" TO avert the dangcr. Yet excessive self-denial on the

egalitarian pattern of distribution and accelerated capital accumulation.

be expected when so milirant a socialist spokesman as Toure himself can

foreign trading houses is demanded, to provide incentive payments for

part of tlus "labor aristocracy" (as we havc dcfined it) is certainly nOt to

In our denunciation of bourgeois Tendencies we must not, as do specialists
in confusion, accuse ofbeing bourgeois the peaS3nt, the worker or The civil
servant who is a convinced democrat and dc\'oted PDG member and who
by his personal efforTS has been able (0 build a modern house, purchase a
car or acquire honestly ;!nything which contributes to the material well­
being of his family. Since the main objective of our revolution is to make it

possible for all TO art;!in through work the highcst possible degree of pros­
perity, we cannot blame these people. On the COntrary, a man must utilize

The redistribution of excessive profits of local traders and (sometimes)

The growers and more financing for productive in\'estment by the state.
In addition, it is argued that the marketing cooperatives, which are fur­
ther encouraged by such steps in the rural areas, represent a collective,

and therefore socialist, enterprise which is laudable in its own right. The
fact that the trading group to be so displaced is ofren l:lrgely composed

of a racial or Cultural minority may, of course, ease the acceptance of

such policies.
One might be bener disposed to accept these laner moves on the
terms in which they have been presented by the leaders, were the gen­

his energies and faculties for the constant improvement of his living stand­

eral line of argument which is used to justify them (that is, the criticism,
by presumptive socialists, of inequalities which block development)

Surely [his muSt :lmount to an overt sanction of the norm of rnrichis­

more consciously and rigorously applied to the society as a whole. Un­


for the bureaucratic groups (of party and state), "the new elites

fortunately this has not been the case: perceived inequalities-what


Par' f: (}-"O'lliews

!In;tlo/lmmr in rropi(1l1 Afri(a

Toure has termed "contradicrions" -gcr vcry easily swallowed up and
blurred analytically within the framework provided by the cominent's
distinctive "socialist" ideology. Here we refer fO that strand of the argu­

antry, subsistence producers and cash-crop producers, but independent


ment which has been characterized by Peter Worsley as "populism . " ) 1
In .I\frica this has involved the claim, by almost all leaders, that African
societies arc, even now, classless. The foundat ions for pervasive social

solidarity arc ro be found in traditional society and, rnedi:JTcd by a con­

temporary "attitude of mind," continue TO strike againST meaningful
The mOSt outspoken srntcmcnt of this "model" is to be found in Ny­
crerc's early paper "U jamaa,"


lJUt even so

Marxist-ringed a spokes­

man as Toure has fallen back upon (hc "communocratic" nature of Afri


\Vorsley summarizes this theme when he writes: " Africa is its peas­

peasants. This is the basic fuct about the social structures of the new Af­

rican states." We have already seen this to be suspect, given the charac­

ter of "town-country" relationships in comemporary Africa, but within
the rural arca itself solidarity is (once again) felr to :lrise from these

fi\Cls. Yet, as we have suggested, even the relatively unrevolutionized

rural economics of tropical A frica are no longer as undifferentiated as

these African leaders like TO profess. What is clear, therefore, is that the

issue of nascent rural class formation and irs implications for develop­
ment cannOl be squarely faced, or effective "long-run" strategies of s0-

cialist control and direction developed, within a populist framework of

can society to smooth over, ideologically, certain of {he potenrial class

analysis which masks the process of rural change.

ment that such classless uniformity is reinforced by the fact of the whole

it nonetheless remains true that the "mobilization" of the peasantry is

populist edifice,

bent than in others. There, a rnore generalized release of producrive en­

anragonisms he sees in Guinean society. To this Toure adds the argu­

population's facing, as a body . the neocolonialist exploiter. Not surpris­
ingly, nationalism provides much of the ccrnenr for this

being useful also for displacing conrinuing ethnic or tribal consciousness.

Countless quotations could be introduced to demonstrate these general

or, within such a "dassless" society, is it sur­

emphases in Africa.

prising that any considerntion as to the nature of the social relations

Even in the absence of such a searching examination of rural realities,


as a vital necessity much more vocally in srates of "socialist"

ergies is looked to: it is in this context that the strand of"African social­

ism'· which Friedland tenned "the social obligation to work" becomes
most prominent.H Socialism is presemed as an invocation ro effort and,

implicidy or expilcitly, a certain measure of sacrifice against the promise

of production is seen to be of little fundamental concern to socialist as­

of some furure day is encouraged, in however unspecified a way. Thus


some, often marginal, form of capital accumulation. These projects can

pirntions. Thus Kofi Baako, a man as dose as anrone to Nkrumah in

be of value in educating people to national consciousness;" but, as

should be apparent, such emphases may merely encourage the evasion of

In a Nkrumahist-Socialist state, the farmer will not lose his faml: the land­
lord will not lose his house. but will not be allowed to

exploit the tenam:

(hose more central problems which concern the interaction of traditional

:lnd modern sectors and the expansion of surplus productive capacity.

the employer will not be allowed to e.-.:ploit the worker, nor will the
worker be allowed to cheat the employer by idling about·: the car owner
will Still have his

ill't·tuifSt11ltnt IlIrmain and self-he lp become a collcctive exercise in



All too rarely, for example, is the character of any choice between capi­

the property or wealth which someone luis ac­

talist and collectivist agricultural accumulation spellcd out or related ro

quired or earned through hard boor and through honest usc of his menral

broader questions of development priorities such as we have

and physical energies (will not] be taken aW:ly from him :lnd sh:lred

cies can therefore quire easily fall between two stools.

:lITlOng lazy, unscrupulous, indisciplined bur able-bodied citizens.

As Fitch and O ppenheimer observe of such utterances: "Neither land­

lords nor capitalists will be abolished-thcy will sim ply be regulated."


This "populist" strnin ro African socialism also h:ls i mportant implica­

tions for the analysis of the rural sector; moreover. there it is perhaps

even more likely to be raken seriously by the ideologues themsel ves.

posed; poli­

Just as the populist strand in African socialism obscures [he realities of
class formation, so it is important, if somewhat parndox ical. to observe

(h:u much of the criticism of "neocolonialism" in socialist Africa has
served to obscure the realities of international capital ism's involvement

on the continent. Of neces.�ity. therefore. the range of specific policy

options is also artificially narrowed. Even the mOSt vocal of socialists as-

Part I: Ovff.;if'Wf

Dt'T.Iewpmmt i71 Tropim/ Africa

sume [he necessity of dealing with "the enemy"; as Jean UCQurure ob­
S(:rvcd in discussing the Dakar Colloquium on African Socialism: "The

encourage complemen�rities and coordinated devdopment would be­

distinction, always somewhat artificial, between 'revolurionary' and 're­

come an even more prominent feature.

formist' Africa now seems altogether obsolete. .

srriking is that nobody challenged the necessity of calling upon foreign

The relating of an ideology like African socialism [0 the complex s0cial structure of changing Africa and the identifying of its functions is

aid and investment. " )$

not an easy task. "Vc have said enough, however, to suggest that more


\"'hat is even more

But neither did anyone feel too compelled, it would seem, to analyze
very systematically the arguments concerning the development poten­
tial of such investment by an increasingly monopolistic brand of interna­
tional capiralislll in terms of the choice of techniques and the absorption
of labor. the reinvestment of profits, and rhe generation of internal de­
mand. Policy statementS thus oscillate rather erratically between the ab­


advocacy of regional groupings, preferably of "like-minded" mtes, to

than merc intellectual confusion is at issue. It is true that in colonial and
economically underdeveloped A frica an indigenous dominant class with
power grounded in The process of production had, by and large, nor
emerged; l 1 the poliriC<l1 and bureaucratic groups which did come for­
ward to prominence were therefore defined by a greater "relative social
autonomy and plasticity," as Roger Murray has put it." Nonetheless,

straC[ slogans of " neocolonialism"-a useful instrument with which ro

after independence, when a combination of past education andlor politi-

forge national unity behind the k-aders-and a "forced" acceptance of

cal record and current bureaucratic position carne to be the chief deter­

the "necessity" of encouraging foreign investment in order to obtain

minants of privilege in the new society, it is elear that, in the absence of

skills and capital.

more rigorous organization and ideological clarity, a rarher narrow

Side effects tend to drop out of the equation. The application of a long

veSTed interest in the system had corne to characterize the new clites,

time horizon might suggest that, despite a rime lag, the inflow of unfet­

"une bourgeoisie plus proche d'un mandarinat," as Di.. has called them.

tered foreign capital must cvenrually lead to a marked drain of repatri­

Their growing consciousness of a differentiated position vis-a-vis the

ated profits and the like. Therefore an assessment must constantly be

mass of the population was such that Peter Lloyd, one of the shrewdest

made as [Q its genuine development potential; as suggested, many forms

observers of this process, could toy with the idea of discarding the

of capital import may be worsc than none at all, despite the subsequent

"elite" concept and substituting the notion of "class" to describe the p0-

existence of plants on the ground and a handful of newly hired indige­

sition in society of this group.'"

nous employees. One can, of course, suspecr rhat son� of the encour­

Thus it is within this sort of comext that one must place trends-to

agemem given to an increased capital inflow may arise from the clite's
concern with shorHcrm b3Iance-of-payrnems difficulties caused by ex­

increased centralization of power, the absorption of quasi-autono­
mous bodies, and ideological myth-making for popular consumption of

cessive imports. Nonetheless, for the genuine African socialist, the ne­

the SOrt we have examined-which are then seen to express a clear insti­

illttnla/ (apitDl forma/ion mUSt be underscored in his argu­

tutional and, behind that, a class And within this framework

cessity of

ments and, furthermore, explained clearly to rhc people.


much state intervention, insofar as it seems only marginally related ro a

For, all too often, the promise of a favorable deal to be made by the

generalized socialiST development strategy, can in part be explained as

clite with that mOSt powerful external constellation of technology and

the conscious proliferation of jobs for incoming recruits to the dominant

economic power which is the Western economic system smacks of an

group. At the very least, given the nature of the bureaucratic elite. any

anempt [Q get something for nothing (an unlikely occurrcncc, but per­

glib identification, by leaders or observers, of socialism in Africa with

haps a useful political case to makc to the mass of thc population in the

ilafimlt and policies for centralization of economic control must be

short run). Givcn

clearcr perspeC[i\·c, the definition of firmer condi�

viewed with suspicion. In addition, a sustained stand against the blan­

lions for such capital as did corne in would also become a more pressi ng

dishments of foreign capitalism, or even a critical scrutiny of its potenrial

imperative than has becn the case, however difficult such conditions arc

contributions. is unlikely from such a group. There is some danger of

to apply in practicc. And a vigorous attack upon "balkanil
..:ltion" and an

crude reductionism in such a gencralizcd formulation, but it remains a



hypothesis which illuminates a great deal of the empirical evidence
our disposal.

A closer examination of the practice of African states conventionally
labeled " socialist" contributes markedly TO such a picture. Thus Samir
\ Amin's valuable study of Ghana, Guinea, and Mali demonstrates, with
telling statistical force, the heavy weight of bureaucratic expense and

conspicuous urban consumption, both public and printe, in the budgets
of these STates. His conclusion is that: "Austerity, the revolutionary
ciTon [0 use new and less costly methods, have nO[ resisted the appetites
of the new bureaucracy ." In Guinea, administrative expenditure rose by
80 percent between 1959 and 1962; in Maii, by 60 percent. Salary

srructures, inherited from the colonial era, have been only marginally
reformed. The result: " The Guinea and Mali plans implied a great
effort toward domestic, public financing which has nO[ been effected." � j
Gerard Chaliand's figures for French-speaking West Africa as a
whole reveal an important aspect of this tilring of resources toward an

increasingly consumptionist middle class. Uniformly across these
countries [here is a gross discrepancy between rhe amounts spent abroad
for impomtion of drink and other luxury items (toiletries, certain kinds
of motor cars) and the amounts of foreign exchange used for capital for­

mation.�l Similar statistics to document the importance of what we have
termed "discretionary consumption" could be produced for other
countries on the continent. Amin (and others) stress the importance of
this pattern for the traditional seCTor which in the absence of a genuine
take-off he sees as still the major brake upon development efforrs within
the three mnional experiments he reviews. Certainly it becomes increas­
ingly difficult under these circumstances for a rural population to rake at
face value rhe prorestations and demands for sacrifice of such an elite.

And, as should by now be evident, viral resources which could stimulate
rhe dynamic imeraction of the urban and rural seCTorS arc being diverted
from that effort.

In rhe Ghana of the early ! 960s a reasonably sophisticated style­
cialist debate which began in certain Ghanaian student circles abroad in

was revita1ized.�) This was characterized, for example, by
"the attempt to transcend the 'African socialism' current of thought in
favor of a more universal and scientific theory; and rhe rclated effort to
institutionalize and accelerate the formation of an ideological vanguard of


Development ill Tropical Africa

Parr 1: o-.;el"'.;iews



cadres who might then strive to make ideology a mass force (Win-




Similarly the Seven Year Plan took seriously many impera­

tives concerning the "extension of S[a[C economic activity and control
over the private sector" and "accelerated accumulation" i n some rela­
tionship to a general socialist strategy!! Even at the level of analysis
there were inadequacies:
For f
i a reading of the Ghanaian plan demonstrates that the leaders arc
awarc of the necessity of breaking with this type of development which

has reachcd its limits, of revolutionizing traditi onal agriculture, of radical
industrialization in the contex:t of closcr economic unity in West Africa, it
is still necess.'1ry fa say that the specific policies to be undertaken have not
been sufficiently thought through.'"

And the results were disappointing.
But the chief constraint remained the quality of the regime's political
and social base. Having over the years cut itself off from mass support,
rhe CPP became increasingly a "town" organization in the general
sense we have suggested. The political instruments themselves were ex­
cessively bureaucratized, wirh their cadres marked by opportunism.
They could muster little support either for socialism or against those
other "labor aristocrats" of the stare bureaucracy (including the mili­
tary) who were progressively more alienated from the regime by its
overtly socialist drive, however much thi s was found to be half-hearted
in practice. "The spectacular purges, [rials and appeals (Dawn Broad­
cast, erc.) merely revealed the inability to transform the CPP and its
satellite formations by mobilization from the base up."


Among other

things, it is not surprising that efforts at rural transformation by means
of novel crops and techniques suffered as a result of this peculiarly Gha­
naian variant of the "urban-rural" dichotomy.
Other aspects of so-called socialist "practice" are revealing. We have
spoken of government action vis-a-vis the trade unions, the rationale for
which was often a variant upon the theme "equalization for develop­
ment." Yet the statisrics are again striking-we have already cited

Torner's finding that, while wage and salary employment in Africa has
remained relatively static in the last dozen years, wages have risen mark­
edly.n No real line has been held even where organizational control has
been maximized. One may be forgiven the suspicion that jockeying for
political comrol rather than the logic of a development strategy has dic­
tated much of rhe interventionism rhat has taken place. Certainly wage



fart i: Overvit'Wl

Dr.;e/Qpmmt in Tropical Africa

workers have nO[ been forced, in any marked way, 10 pay the price of
development, despite what oftcn amounts [0 a government take-over
from the incumbent leadership. Organized workers have generally been
admitted into the privileged ranks of the "labor arisrocr.lcy." Of course,
where wage restraint began to be demanded of these junior partners to

strategy of growth. And mOSt socialist countries have been loath, by and


the "aristocracy," its imposition was made morc difficult by the unam­
biguously privileged position of its other members, the politicians and
the salariar: "Essentially ,he cpr solved the problem of moral versus

material incentives by denying oorh: the workers were ordered to be­
come Stakhanovitcs to defend a revolution that had never really
begun." <W

large, to chan very divergent paths. Even in the heyday of Guinean .s0cialism, for example. there was little attempt to question tics with inter­
national capitalism in the industrial and extractive $Cctors, and this tend­
ency has been magnified since [961. I I
Nkrumah's regime is again :I textbook study o fsuch involvement, one
which offers additional explanations of its difficulties. Whereas the
"Lewis strategy" to attract foreign capital had been a relative failure in

19505. after

the declaration of a more militant socialism the pace

slepped up---pe
-es cially in the field of supplier credits. as Douglas Rim­
mer has noted.S: ''''Mit was in train was "merely a rransfonnation and

Evcn the character of the take-over ofthe trading seelor, attempted in
one form or another in moSt African "socialist" states, is revealing. It

redefinition of [foreign private capital's) mode of linkage with the Gha­

certainly promises a proliferation of jobs; it also provides sources of ad­


vantage for a leadership cadre whose highest level of consciousness is

coexistence between sectors": Kaiser obtained a source of cheap power

often r1/richissez-vow. Once again, the norm of redistribution is shown
to be ambiguous. The Abraham Commission's inquiry into corruption
in Ghana's trading corporations makes chilling Te3ding; extended pecu­
lation has all too often charactetized the substitution of a network of co­

operatives and marketing boards elsewhere. Ceminly any tOlal take­
over of the marketing system is sufficiently difficult to make one hesitate
to see it as an e:Irly priority for a socialist strategy, especially in the light
of our earlier discussion of the ambiguities invoked in establishing .s0cialist priorities for the rural areas.
But it is important 10 note that criticisms such as those by Berg and

naian state," a continuance of some form of the "poli£ics of media­



The Volta River Project seems the apogee of such "peaceful

rhe transformation of transshipped bauxite into aluminum, with no

concomitant necessity of developing local bauxite deposits or of building
an integrated aluminum industry.1i Not that the redefinition of such a
m:ocolonial relationship is easy: investment codes of varying degrees of

srringency have in fact been tried in Guinea. Ghana. Senegal. and espe­
cially Mali. Bur if the international economic environment has been a
harsh one for such efforts. it is also true that the will to divert interna­
tional tics in a socialist direction has not been a sustained one.
This is not surprising: any :mempt so to face up to international capi­
talism would suggest a growing awareness of the centrality of rhe pat­

others concerning Guinea's sweeping "narionali1..ation" of the market­

tern of surplus absorption and utilization to development strategy, and

ing sector may oversimplify the case; it is not only administrative inca­

some readiness to correct its "irrationalities." Yet the inevitable corol­

pacity that is at stake. '0 Much of the failure had to do with the character

lary of a serious commitment to this goal is a parallel atrack on the privi­

of the Guine3n elite and the nonns of the bureaucratic machine that

leges of those very classes constituting the power base upon which most

moved to asseT! control. A more generalized socialist strategy, establish­

African governments arc likdy to rdy. We therefore come full circle to

ing, for example, different priorities in training cadres and attempting to

that dichotomy observed above between what is hislorically necessary

raise the socialist consciousness of the people concerned through political

both for development and socialism, and what may appe;tr at present to

education, might possibly transcend some of these problems.

be historically possible. Any strategy directed tOward socialist con­

Finally, we should appraise socialist practice in the rclations of Afri­

struction in Africa must therefore face up to the full complexities in­

can states with foreign capital. We have already suggested the extent to

voil'cd in creating a state power dedicated to the rask, and in generating

which slogans have served to blur the real choices here. Yet the question

or tapping social forces capable of underpinning such

is a crucial one. As noted, even in a country like the Ivory CoaSt eco­
nomic problems are beginning to arise from its "international capiralist"



h is perhaps possible that such a novel power base could be found by
combining elements of a fully mobilized peasantry and a transformed

ParI I: OIlt'1Views

Devtlopmnlt in Tropicaf Africll

ers and
urban and rUr:l1 proicrariar. thereby producing a genuine "work
peasams" stare. Whetht:r the existin
the men who can re2iize such a transformat
question, though, as noted, the results to dare have been anything but
assuring on this score; certainly the quality of the politic
sibly working toward such gools has left much to be desired. More str�k­
ingly, the character of intra-elile competition in contemporary promi­
and, in particular, the rise of
nence show the strength of forces driving the situation in a coumer-rev­
olutionary direction.ll As norOO in the introduction, it has not bttn our
inrention to articulate fully a forward strategy for African socialism,
Nonetheless, there are themes here which demand the urgent attention
of all those concerned.

$Cend the narrow horizons of irs opposite numbers in other African
countries remains [0 be secn. But a genuine attempt is being made to
elicit a heightened socialisr commitment from rhem (and, among orher
dungs, a consequent curb on the "politics of urban consumprionism"),
Of course, the lack of "revolutionary inrcllcctuals" among the leaders is
a striking fearure, suggesting a possible future drag upon the policy of
genuinely transforming the nature of the " elire."
Yet presumably much will also depend upon parallel efforts, using the
democratic mechanisms peculiar to Tanzania's one-parry system, as well
as other institutions, both to rouse rhe vasr mass of the peasant popula­
lion to express their inrereSIS as a social force checking possible abuses of
their position by the leaders, and at the same time to raise the level of
mass consciousness so that such "intervention" is of a progressive sort.
The fact thar, given a relatively unmobililed peasantry, this will be a
difliculr balance to strike should require no elaborate emphasis. It also
appears true that the Tanzanian party, TANU, which might otherwise
seem the ideal instrument for linking revolutionary intellectuals and the
mass of rhe population, remains a relatively weak rccd.JI It is, unfortu­
nately, too early to assess the likelihood of a dramatic change in this di­
mension of the Tanzanian situation, but the efforts undertaken to realize
such a ch:mge may be one of the features making Tanzania an important
focus of interest in rhe next few years. For the fact remains that Presi­
dent Nyerere has increasingly displayed a sophisticated awareness of
many of the patterns of African change which we have discussed: rhe
importance of the "rural-urban" dichotomy, the relative lack of socialist
�irccrion provided by a mere "attirude of mind," some of the ambigui­
tiCS of foreign economic involvement in the domestic economy, and the
re�litics of rural stratification. Regarding the first of these, his actions
ha\'e been forthright: witness the curbing of student pretensions at the
University College, the subsc{luent civil service salary cutS the recent
disciplining of the extravagant wage demands of NUTA (;he national
trade union), and, most important of all, the A rusha Declaration of reb­
r�ar}" 1967, which has enacted a sclf-denying ordinance against certain
kmds of economic aggrandizement by The elite (especially as regards the
o�' �ership of property) and thus called upon them 10 exemplify their so­
�1a11�r. commirm�nr.,',9 A real beginning has thus been made. Similarly,
pollilcal education has become a much more dominant theme both
within rhe educational system and vis-a-vis the general public, su�gest-


J, Concluding Remarh

Tanzania is, perhaps, the country in contemporary Africa where s0cialiST aspiraTions figure most prominently and interestingly in the devel­
opmcnt equation, and most powerfully affect the kind of policies which
are being pursued. To be sure, much remains to be done there; more­
over, it is by no means clear that all the relevant dimensions of the prob­
lem of socialist development have as yct been considered by the leader­
ship. AnOTher anicle of this length, in fact, could be written to discuss
the impliC2tions of the Tanzanian experience to date and its likely era­
jectOry/6 but perhaps a few brief points can be made here in the light of
the preceding discussion.
It remains true that much of the course of recem Tanzanian develop­
mem has been charred by the evolution of President Nyerere's own
thinking, from the rather si11lpfisle "African socialist" themes of pre­
sumptive solidarity and an autOmatically socialist "anitude of mind,"
which are to be found in the paper on ujamaa cited above, to a more
subtle asscssment of African realities; by and large it has not arisen from
any concerted group or mass pressure. But the relatively unchallenged
accepTance of certain accompanying parry policies and, especially, the
attainment of widespread ideological confonniry to novel socialist aspi­
rarions do testify, in some measure, to rhe "relative social autonomy and
plasticity" of the African leadership cadre which was suggested above.
Whether the emergent labor aristocracy in Tanzania can really tran-




Dl'l.Itlopmmt ill Tropical A/rim

farl I: O"Vt'1'l.Iiews

producing a genuine " workers and
urban and rU1<\1 proletariat, thereby
political and bureaucratic elites arc
peasants" stare. Whether the existing
formation will remain here an open
the men who can realize such a trans
to dare have been anything but re­
question, though, as noted, [he results
ty of the politicl parries osten­
assuring on this score; certainly the quali
much to be desired. More strik­
sibly working toward such goals has left
tition in contemporary Africa
ingly, the chal"'d.cter of intra-elite compe
ry to a position of special promi­
and, in particular, the rise of the milita
g the simarian in a counter-rev­
nence show the strength of forces drivin
uction, it has nOt been our
olUTionary direction." As noted in the introd
strategy for African socialism.
imcmion to articulate fully a forward
demand {he urgent attention
Nonetheless. there are themes here which
of all those concerned.

3. Concluding Remarb
mporary Africa where s0Tanzania is, perhaps. dIe country in conte
interestingly in the devel­
cialist aspirations figure most prominently and
the kind of policies which
opment equation. and most powerfully affect
ins ro be done there; more­
arc being pursued. To be sure, much rema
nt dimensions of the prob­
over, it is by no means dear that
considered by the leader­
lem of socialist development have as yet
be wrirten to discuss
ship. Another anicle of this length, in fact,
to date and its likely tra­
the implications of the Tan7..anian experience
be made here in the light of
jecrory.'6 but perhaps a few brief points can
the preceding discussion.
Tanzanian develop­
It remains troc that much of the course of recent
ent Nyerere's own
ment has been charred by the
st" themes of pre­
thinking, from the rather tintplisu "African
de of mind,"
sumptive solidarity and an automatically sociali
, to a more
which arc 10 be found in the paper on IIjallllJlJ
it has not arisen from
subtle assessment of African realities; by and large
relatively unchallenged
any concef(ed group or mass pressure. But the
s and, especially, the
acceptance of certain accompanying parry policie
novel socialist aspi­
attainment of widespread ideological
auwnomy and
rations do testify, in some measure, ro the "relati
ted above.
plasticity" of the African leadership cadre which
Whether the emergent labor aristocracy in Tanza


scend the narrow horizons of its opposite numbers in other African
counrries remains to be secn. But a genuine attempt is being made to
elicit a heightened socialist commitment from them (and, among other
things, a conseqocm curb on the "politics of urban consumprionism").
Of course. the lack of "revolutionary imellectoals" among the leaders is


" srri ing feature, s�ggesting a possible future drag upon the policy of
genulllely rransformmg the nature of the "elite." 1 1
Yet p�sumably nuch
will �lso de�nd upon parallel efforts, using the
dClllocra�lc �lCc al1lsms pecuhar to Tanzania's olle-party system, as well
as other lnStltUUO s, both to rouse the vast mass of the peasant papula­
� .
t!O� to e��ress theIr lI1tcrestS as a social force checking possible abuses of


thClr po5lnon by the leaders, and at the same tillle to raise the level of

mass consciousness so that such "intervention" is of a progressive SOrt.
The fact that, given a relatively unmobilized peasantry. this will be a
difficult balance to strike should require no elaborate emphasis. It also

appe�lTs true that the Tanzanian party, TANU, which might otherwise
seem the ideal instrument for linking revolutionary intellectuals and the
mass of the population, remains a relatively weak rced.u It is, unfortu­
llatel �, tOO early to assess the likelihood of a dramatic change in this di�

rncnslon of the Tanzanian situation, but the c!Torrs undertaken to realize


such a c ange m�y be one of the features making Tan7.ania an important
focus of lIlterest 1Il the next few years. For the fact remains that Presi­
dent Nyerere has increasingly displayed a sophisticated awareness of
�1l:lrty of the patterns of African change which we have discussed: the
Importance of the "rural-urban" dichotomy, the relative lack of socialist

�'rection provided by � �)Cre "artitude of mind," some of the ambigui­
ties of foreIgn economIc Involvement in the domestic economy, and the
. .
realities of rural stratification. Regarding the firSt of these, his actions


n forthright: witness the curbing of student pretensions at the
Umvcrslty College. the subSC(juent civil service salary cutS the recent


disciplining of the extravagant wage demands of NUTA ( hc national
trade union), and, most impomnr of al1, the Arush;l I)eclaration of Feb­
r�ar}" !96i, which has enacted a self-denying ordinance against certain
kmds of �conomic aggrandizement by The elite (especially as regards the

ow�ersh'p of property) and thus called upon them to exemplify their so­

�lahst commitm�nt',J,9 A

real beginning has thus been made. Similarly,
, !J tlcal
education has become a much morc dominanr rheme, both
the educational system and vis-a.-vis the general public, suggest-


Part I: (f.Jervirws

Oeve/opmC1// in Trr.J/Jicol Africa

iog that there is increasingly an ideology and a �o�mitme�t to be taught
and to be understood, and a hi gher level of SQCmhst consc)ou�ness to be
. .
worked toward, rather than merely to be assumed, as the basIc bUlldmg

nal trade and financial links with the socia
list countries beyond Africa
and with the capitalist world will also
demand further consideration.
Concern for "surplus utilization" is as
important for socialists as concern
for "surplus appropriation." Tanzania is
making heroic efforts, but it
will be easier to assess the direction of its
course if and when a presiden­
t al paper is issued which concerns itself with
policies for industrializa­

block of Tanzanian socialism.

A wide range of firms has been nationalized, including banks, Jnsur­

ance ' and some processing and manufacturing concerns, with some eye

[0 felating their investment and other decisions more d.irecdy to the in­

terests of national development. In the rural sphere, the peasants have
been given an even mOTC exalted rank in rhe verbal formulations of �he
national ideology, often, in rhe president'S speeches, at the very ex�hclt
expense of the aVlour-propre of rhe leaders; as n?ted, thc orgamzatlonai
edge to this emphasis has not been fully defined In �ractJ�e though local
leaders are also being called upon to exemplify their SOClahsm along the
lines articulated in the Arusha Declaration.60 This is an attempt at all
levels to imroduce certain "vanguard" charactcristics imo what is other­
wise most clearly a "mass" party. More rccemly the preside�t h�s also
expressed a growing concern with the realities of class forrnanon �n the


TUfal areas, particularly with the emergence of what he ha� hlmse f
termed a "rural proletariat," and has suggested, rathcr tentatively, hiS
solution of rhe


village, with its emphasis upon a communal,

though technologically modernized, mode of agricultural production, to
meet this challenge to egalimrianism.61
However, the fuJ1 scope of rhe relationship between agriculture and
industry, between the rural and the urban sectors, has not been clea�ly
established, beyond those important actions referred to above W IC
have been designed to rationalize the process of "surplus appropnatlon




by curbing discretionary consumption in th� urban areas. A n ttenda�t
result is rhat, hinged upon the constanrly reiterated slogan of self-reli­
ance " mere agricultural expansionism, a rather dangerous strategy


whe world prices are falling, tends to be substituted for agricultural ex­
pansion to meet a planned, industrially induced demand, both �r�ct �nd
indirect. In fan, it is perhaps fair to say that "industrial growth IS still a


missing link in the chain of socialist Strategy in Tamania; there is a rel�­

tive silence on the priority to be given to industrialization, on how capI­
tal formation should be divided between the capital goods sector and the
consumer goods secror or, again, between the sectors ser:,icing the rural
areas and those servicing the urban areas, or how agricultural policy
should be expected to fit into this pattern. The related question of exter-



One thing is clear: Tanzania is incre
asingly carrying on the debate
about socialism at a hi gh level of sophisticat
ion. This is more than can be
said for much socialisr discourse and ideologymaking elsewhere on the
cominent, as has been shown. It is also
more than can be said for Berg,
whosc article we citcd earlier, and many
of his academic colleagues.
Bcrg launches an attack on socialist aspir
ations in Africa in strong terms:
"For contemporary Africa it is rhe wron
g ideology, in the wrong place,
at the wrong time." 61 He bases this asses
sment on three main points, all
of which are unexceptionable in their
place. There is a trained man­
power constraint, he argues, and rhis
is seen to make the control of mar­
keting in particular a hazardous exercise.
African agriculture he finds
uncongenial to mechanization and there
fore to large-scale farming;
moreover, there is still a need to draw
peasants our of traditional subsist­
ence production into the market, and
cash srimuli can best accomplish
this in the short run.6J And finally he cites
the permeability of frontiers
as a major challenge to controlled mark
eting. From the above he draws
his sweeping conclusion:
[African socialists] believe that maximum
growth can only come through
socialist solutions, and this is almost cc:rtam
ly nOt true.
This is the �d­
dest part of all that these most
admirable men are also those mOST finn
gripped by the illusion that socialism
provides a quick and true path to eco.­
nomic development. Given power
they would lead their countries not
ward but oockward."

Yet Berg arrives at his conclusion witho
ut mentioning most of the as­
pects of economic developm
ent in Africa which we have seen to
be cen­
tral to socialist concern.
There is no mention of industrialization
for a brief paean of prais
e for the "inflow of private capital"
; needless to
say, the ambiguities as
to the nature of the lauer's actual comr
ibution to
development are nowhere
broached. Neither are the patterns of
absorption and of productiv
e investment analyzed. And, a relat
ed over-



I: Ot!eruirws

Development i1/ Tropical Africa

farmarion (panicularly the consolidation of
' ht, the nature 0f c\"'5S
S") ,nd the possible .role of this process In eIther
Iabor anstrocrac]C
\a ,,'ng development are Ignored. Yet, at the very least,
b\oc k'IIlg or sumu
. .
n and surplus utilization are relevant to the
' dus " ,',\,'lario
partcrns 0f In
.. "ltural output he values so hIghly, In terms of both
\eng-term nse
' 0f ag-,
' ".....
'e, ,nd future demand--<reated or forgone-and of
Increased IOccn"1\
or not prod�ced.
potential inputs,
. .
sollle lmllts of the possible for socialisTS,
B erg' s argumen
'' etor. But , because they ignore the mOSt unpor, \ar\y 'm rhe ''''_\
... .. ""
between development and the aspI(ant quesTiOns abou" he relationship
I n Afnca, they do not come as close [Q
ranon to c\,umna,e _\,"
preemptmg the ,oc'" \,',,,' discussion of what IS necessary for develop-.
men[ as he had perhaps hoped. Berg's conmbunon
IS therefore margl�al:
academics will have to do bener than this if they are r� be of any assist­
ance to governmenrs who may aspire [0 rurn growth mto development
. .
and rake seriously the possible relevance of socialism to that goal.

rica," in E. A. G. Robinson, ed.,

I . On the continued validity of a much refined Mar:<ist critique of contempo­

rary capitalist society along similar lines, see P. Baran and P. M. Sweezy,
M(lTIopoly Capi/ll / (New York, J 66).
2, E. Berg, "Socialism and Economic Development In TroPI.�a A n'ca," The
Q rt I Journal oJ Erollom ics, November 1964. For typa:a clt:mons see




�. �e

m a n, "The Resurrection of


Political Economy," Mawazo (Kam-

I ) , oo. I , (1967)', and C. A nderson, F. Van deT Mehden, and C. Young,
[snus oj Political Drotiopmfflt (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, I967), e0.

, K ,C D- and H. C allis estimate that the proportion of the labor force
of tropical Africa in wage employment is, �n average, I I . J percent. However, mig!1l11t labor, charJcteflzed by �rtJal de�ndence upon wage em­
p loym em for its subs iSTence, is included In the eStimate, so that the prolera�­
than the above. The estimate IS
a lower ....
lat proper accoun,<� I�"'r
' .
in "Size and Characteristics of\Vage Employmem III AfTlCll: S�tlsncal Es­
ates" lmanati()1Uli Labuur Rrview 93 (February 1966).


�: a

bibliography on traditional Afric�� system�, see

J. Middleton, The
Effm oj ECorlomif Droelopmrnt /!rl TradltJUnal Pollllcal Syslnm South oj the
Sahara (The Hague, 1966).


ECQII(f1tIir Dt'"velofmtmtfor Africa South oj

the Sahara (London, 1964), pp. 1 1 1-14.
6. The adjective " unproductive" has, of course, no negative implication
cerning the rationality or the necessity within the traditio
nal society of ac­




5. See H. Myim, The E{()1Iumics oj Drot/oping Countries (London, 19(4), ch.
), and also D. Walker, "Problems of Economic Develop
mem of East

Tivities so characterized.

7. Cf. Myim, op. cit. and Walker, op. cif.
8. We define "surplus" as the difference beTWeen the 3ggregate net
produced (net, that is, of the means of production used
up in the process)
and the means of subsistence consumed by the community, both
referred to
a given period of time. By "subsistence" we underst3nd
goods that are s0cially recognized 3S necessities, so that they exclude what
may be called

"discretionary" consumption. On the concept of
the surplus see p , A.
Bann, The Political Eamomy of GrO'Wth (New York,
1967), ch. 2; and
C. Bettelheim, "Le Surplus economique, (acteur de
base d'une politique de
developpement," Pkmificati(ffl et CToiHante accilirt (Paris
, 1965). Our defini­
tion is closer to Bene1heim's than to Baran's.
9. This "ideal" type is analyzed in greater detail in Cha
pter 3 of this �'olume,
The category "capital goods" must be understood
in a very broad sense as
including all those goods which directly increas
e the productive capacity of
the economy.
10. The conCeptS of "industrial centers"
and "periphery" have been introduced
by Raul Prebisch to designate the advanced industr
ial economies and the
relatively underdeveloped countries, respective
1 1 . F. Perroux and R. Demonts, "Large F nns-S
mall Nations," Prim!!( afri­

caine 10, no. 3 8 (1961) , p. 46.
12. P. Lloyd, cd., The New Elites

oj Tropical Africa

(London, 1966), pp. lO­

I ) . H. A.


Turner, Wage Trmds, Wage Poliots and Coilective Bargaining:
Probkmr Jor Undtrdrotioped Countritr (Cambridge, 1965), p.
M . Barratt Brown, AJter Imperialism (London,
1963), p. 419.

15. Quoted in H. Alavi, "Imperialism
Old and New,"
196+ (New York and London, 1964), pp.
1 6. See DECO, Natiunal ACCQlffl
tr of Lm Drorloptd

The Socialift Register

Countries (Paris,

17. See Chapter 3 of this
volume, and Turner, op. cir., pp. 12-13.
1 8 . In the C3se of the United
States, for e:<amplc,


figures contained in the Sur­

U.s. Dep"Jrtmem of Commerce show that
total direct investment abroad, for the
period 1950-1 963, amounted to
S I 7.382 million, against a toral inAow of investment income
of $19.416 milvey

of Currmt Businm of the

Part f: Ovtr".Jiews


lion. Cf. Baran and Sweezy, op. CiL, p. 107. Data derived from the same
source show that, in the period 1959-1964, U.S. direct investment (exclud­
ing oil) in Africa amounted to S386 million and investment income to 5610
19. Sec D. J. Morgan, British Privatt flr"estmmt in Earl Africa: Rrporl of a 5ur-

vty and � Cunfermu (London, 1965).
20. The concept of "perverse growth" has been introduced by Ignacy Sachs.
See his " On Growth Potential, Proportional Growth, and Perverse
Growth," Cuchos/avak Ecunomic Papm (1966), pp. 65-7 l .
2 1 . See S. Amin, u Oivt/upprmml du �apjtalisme f7I COif d'f'VOirt (Paris, 1967);
S. Amin, "COte d'lvoire: valeur el limires d'une experience," fflme Afrique
(October 1967); Z. Dobrska, "Ec�nomic Development ofrhe Ivory Coast
from the Winning of Independence," Africana Builetin (Warsaw), no. 5

n. It is surprising that apologists of foreign private investment in Africa (who

consider the drain on the surplus a payment for technical assistance and
finance supplied by the international corporations) have seldom paused to
consider whether the managerial, administrative, and technical skills sup­
plied are suited to the requirements of the receiving economies from the
standpoint of their growth potential (as opposed to some short-term effects
on income and employment).
H. See Sachs, op. CiL

24. For an excellent discussion of problems of socialist development in a nonin­
duStrial environment, see F. Schurmann, Jdeology and Org�nizatiun in Com­
munis/ China (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1966).
ZS. Sec S. Chodak, "Social Classes in Sub-Saharan Africa," AfTic�lIa Bulktin,
no. 4 (1966).
26. Sec S. Amin, Trois expirirnus africaiuts de d';'-Jtluppnnrnt: k Mali, w. Guinn,
et k Ghana (Paris, 1965), pp. 10-17 and BO-3Z; also "The Class Struggle
in Africa" (anon.), Rivolution, no. I . p. 9.
27. See panicularly, J. Mohan, "Varieties of African Socialism," The Socialist
Rrgistrr 1966 (New York and London, 1966). Also W. H Friedland and
C. G. Rosberg, Jr., African Socialism (Stanford, 1964); Charles Andrain,
"Democracy and Socialism: Ideologies of African Leaders," in D. Apter,
ed., Jdeology and Disrontmt (New York, 1964); and Bernard Charles, "Lc
Socialismc africaine, mythes Ct realites," RniUr fran�aise de scimu politique,
no. I S (1965), p. 856.
28. Afrim Rep01"t, "Special Issue on African Socialism" (May 1963), Pl'· 26-27.
29. This is the title of a useful book on related themes edited by Peter Lloyd
(London, 1966).
30. For this distinction see Isaac Deutscher, "Russia," in W. Galenson, ed.,

Development in Tropical Africa


Comparatiw Labor MmmnrnlS (New York, 1952); and Friedlan
d and

Rosberg, op. cit., p. 19.

H. Peter Worsley,

The Third World (London, 1964), ch. 4. For a detailed cri­
tique of "populism" see Chapter 4 of this volume.
32. This essay is reproduced in J. K . Nyerere, Furdom and
UnitylUhuTU na
Utnf.lja (Dar e5 Salaam and London, 1966 and 1967), Pl'.
162-71. It was
first published in 1962.
33. Both Baako's remark and Ihe subsequent comme
nt are to be found in
B. Fitch and M. Oppenheimer, Ghana: End of an
J1/usif.lll (New York,
1966), p. l i Z .
34. Friedland and Rosberg, op. cit., p . 16.
3 5 . See K. Grundy, "Mali: The Prospects of'Planm!d Socialis
m,' " in ibid., p.
36. L: t\lunde, 1 1 December 1962, cited in Afri(a Report
(May 1963), p. 18.

J 7. 1hough the emergence of a small but often OUTspoken
trading class in


country like Ghana, for example, can play an importa
nt role in defining [he
trajectory of socialist experiments.

38. Roger Murray, "Second Thoughts on Ghana," New
uft Revif'W (MarchApril 1967), p. 34.
39. Lloyd, op. cit., Introduction.
40. At the extreme, of course, one has the example of Kenya,
where the ideol­
ogy of "socialism" is being used unscrupulously to
rationa1i7.e the march of
the new African elite into all seCtors of the econom
y, public and privare.
Not all uses of this rationale are so eTude, but there
is a certain consistency
to [he African pattern, nonetheless.

Amin, Trois rxpfrimm africaines, p. 277.
12. G. Chaliand, "Indcpendance nationale et revolution,"
Partisans (May-June
1966), special issue, "L'Afrique dans l'epreuve."
On this subject see Colin Legum, "Socialism in Ghana:
A Political Inter­
pretation," in Friedland and Rosberg, cp. cit.

Murray, op. cit., p. 35.

R. Green, "Four African Development Plans: Ghana, Kenya,
Nigeria, and
Tanzania," faumal of Modem African Studies (Augus
t 1965); Amin, Trois
fxpirirnus africainrs.

Amin, ibid., p. 229 (our translation). Perhaps most
markedly lacking was a
sustamed attempt to analyze relations belween traditio
nal and modern sec­
tors and 10 integrate long-term indusrrial and
agricultural strategies along
the Imes we have suggested in Section I .
47. Murray, op. cit.
48. ef. Turner, op. cit., pp. 12-14.

49. Fitch and Oppenheirner,
op. cit., p. 105.

ParI J: Ovn"'virws


Droelopmrnt i1l TTopical Africa

;0. Berg, op. eiL, pp. ; H.>-6O.



Tanzania, but the masses of the people will not necC5S:1rily be bener off. O n

W�ltcr H, Drew, "How Socialist Are African Economies?," AfriCf}. Report
(May (963), p. 12; B. AmeilJon, La Guinie, hilan d'une indipmdance (Paris,

the contrary, as land becomes more scarce we will find ourselves with a
farmers' class and a laborers' class, with the latter being unable to work for

(964). The latter lays particular emphasis not only upon the compromised

themselves or

position (vis-a-vis foreign c:lpiral) of the Guine;.J.n regime, but also on rhe
consolidltion of a ·'bureaucratic class" in power. See especially parr III, eh.

2, "Du Socialisme d'etat :i I'etarisation de classe."

52. Douglas Rimmer, "The Crisis of the Ghana Economy," Tilt Journal of

Modtrn African Stlldies Uanuary 19(6).
B. The fonner quotation is from Murray, op. ei(., the lauer from Fitch and

Oppenheimer, op. cit. Both echo Fanon's rather more dramauc utter.mee
on the subject: "The national middle class discovers its heroic mission: that
of intermediary. Seen through its eyes, its mission is nothing to do with
transforming the nation; it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission
line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged,

which today puts on thc mask of neocolonialism." The Wrtuludof thl Earth
(London, 1967), p. 121.

54. See Tony Killick, "Volta River Project," in W. Birmingham, I . Neustadt,
and E. N. Omaboe, A Stlldy of Contnnpomry Ghona (London, \966).

S 5 . On this subject


Roger Murray, "Milirarism in Africa," New uft Rl­

view Ouly-August 1 966).

S6. See Chapter 6 of this volume.
S7. For a suggestive discussion of the Importance of "revolutionary intellec­
tuals" see John Cammett, Antonio Gramsci and tht Origins of Ila/ian CO"m­

mU1lism (Stanford, 1967), ch. JO.
58. On TANU in the pre-Arusha Declaration period, see H. Bienen, Tanzania:

Party Tramf(m11alion and Econumic Drvdopment (Princeton, 1967), a useful
work despite the misleading picture which it presents of the ideological di­
mensions of the Tanzanian experience.
S9. See The Arusha DeciaTation and TANU's Po/icy on Socialism and Stlf-Rtli­

anct (D;1C es Salaam, 1967); also Arusho Declaration: A mwll"S



(Dar es Sala;1m, 1967).
60. As one example, such leaders are


be subject to severe restrictions in their

hiring of labor, a practice which would involve, in the language of Arusha,
6 1 . Julius K. Nyerere, Socia/ism and Rural Drvewpmtnt (Dar (:5 Salaam, 1967).
Whether this particular aspiration is premature is, as we have noted, a moot
point. The president himself does not fully explore the links between agri­
cultural development and an "egaliurian" mode of production beyond re­
marking that "if this kind of capiulist development rakes place widely over
the country, we may get a good statistical increase in the national wealth of


receive a full rerum for the contribution they are making

to the toral output."
62.. Berg, op. cit., p. S 7J.
63. For a similar point of view, albeit from a Marxisr perspective, see
"The Class Snuggle in Africa."
64. Berg, op. cit., p. 573 .



in Sub-Saharan Africa


ness of such similarities as mark the structures of various regions, states,
and communities against an adequate understanding of the often more

Nationalism and Revol ution
in Sub-Saharan Africa

important differences berween them. These similarities and differences
become more readily apparent within a framework which focuses upon
the various kinds of U1If'Vt7I drvelopmmt thrown up by capitalist penetra­
tion in Africa. For the underdevelopment of Africa as a whole relative to

Giovanni Arrighi and 'John S. Saul

the industrial centers of the West has been accompanied and mediated
by uneven development as berween regions, states, tribes, and races
within Africa itself, and this fact adds important dimensions to the class
struggle in Africa and to the character of the resistance of progressive

y of :leademic dc.batc on the
In the previous essay, we stressed rhe povcn .
Tn tropIcal Afnca and ad­
relevance of socialism to development goals
rapidly beco�
r ing a histor
vanced the argument that socialism is, in fact,
development 01 rhe area,
ical ntcmity in order [Q ensure the further
y of debate among SOCial­
the same rime it must be nQ[ed that
tionary, socialist transfor­
ists concerning the actual possibility of revolu
cture also leaves much
mation in Africa in the present historical conjun
have fallen bac upon a
to be desired.1 Thus some circles on the Left
has characterized It; In rhls
form of "agrarian messianism," as one writer
es the ma)�r vector for
model a pure and undefiled peasantry becom
MarXIsts, In an attempt
progressive change in Africa.1 Other Western
tendenCIes, have th�m­
(legitimate in many respects) to counteract such
of "proletarian meSSian­
the intellectual bases for
ism." J If such extremes arc to be avoided, and
to be paid both t.<' t�e
relevant strategies laid, greater attention will have
restructured by capitalist
Teal nature of pre-capitalist African societies as
of capitali�t. accumul�­
penetration on the one hand, and to the processes
t condmons of 011presen
tion in the underdeveloped world
gy on the other.
gopoiistic market structures and revolu�ioni� �
an absence
Another related aspect of such oversl1nphficanon
of sufficient differentiation between the component
roo undiscriminating a
rary Africa. To further minimiz.e the dangers of
t to balance an awareset of analytical categories we mUSt instead attemp


John Saville. eds., Tht So­
This mide was origin�lIy published in R�lph Miliband �nd

1 1 7-88. Copyright e 1969 by
rilllil! Rtgiftt1 1969 (New York �nd London. 1969), pp.
Merlin Press. Reprinted by pcr.rus:;ion.


African forces to contemporary imperialism.
Not surprisingly, the kinds of oversimplification already mentioned
have tended to prcclude a correct identification of the major forces un­
derwriting the stJ:ibility of the present continental conjuncture, while at
the same rime inhibiting an adequate assessment of those


relevant to defining the possibilities for progressive action. We feel,

therefore, that the general qualifications which we have introduced
above urgently require clarification if such revolutionary potential as ex­
ists in Africa today is not to be wasted. It is in fact a sense of urgency
which has prompted us to attempt a work of synthesis which the lack of
relevant research on more limited questions makes difficult and tenta­
tive. We hope in this way to contribute to a definition of the problems
that demand investigarion and clear confrontation, though we are aware
that the methods for their solution can only evolve from the revolution­
ary praxis of the African people.

!\ny attempt to identify rhe major determinants underlying contem­
porary African realities and, in particular, to identify those forces which
provide the dynamic for uncven development as a continental process,
mUST first assess the Structure of Western capitalism's interest in Africa.
Such a focus suggests in turn two hypotheses of crucial significance:
First, there has been a broadening ofWestcrn capitalist imerests in the
underdeveloped world in general due to the morc direct involvement of
the multinationai corporations in such industrialization as takes place in
The peripheries.4 This relativc shift of emphasis away from the pattern of
classic "extractive" imperialism (whose drive was postulated primarily

Pari I: (}verviewf


upon the guaranteeing of supplies of raw materials and of ourlets for the
sale of manufacturing goods in rhe underdeveloped world has been re­
inforced by the sharp decline in profitability and attractiveness of the


agricultural sector ro overseas interests.

Second, the factors determining the drive for export �f capJtal fro�
the advanced capitalist centers have themselves been s�llfung dramati­
cally in the wake of the postwar technological "revolution." In JXl:r­
ticular, the exploitation of cheap labor overs,cas has lost much of Its
significance;! instead, the {acmT of overwhelmmg con,temporary lm�r­
ranee is the existence ofa relatively developed and rapIdly expandmg m­
dusrrial structure, as the latter ensures the smooth operation of capitalisf
manufacturing enterprises from the standpoint of outlets or theIr prod­
uctS and sources of factors of production . Other determmants, such as


the aforementioned low relative labor costs, favorable political climate,




possibility to export profits, and the li e are also mporrant ut �re
highly imperfect substitutes for thIS dommant factor. The combmauon
of these twO novel aspects of capitalist development on a world scale has
come to define in effect, a "second phase" of imperial predominance.


Of course, inv stment in extractive industry retains much of irs tradi­
tional centrality in relationship to the mining sector,' .but even h�re the
dominant factors will be the presence and nature of Imneral depoSIts and
the degree of freedom accorded co the investing enter�rises in pricing
output, since this is the main device used by vert�cally LOtegr�tcd com­
bines to transfcr surpluses across political boundanes. One major excep­
tion is gold mining, where price is not subject to oligopol.iscic detcrmin.a­
tion and for which, therefore, cheapness of labor retams much of Its

. . .
The above considcrations suggest a hierarchy of caplrnhst Interests m

the various regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Clearly, what we shall �all the
Southern Africa complex centered around indUStrial South Afnca and
Rhodesia and including South-West Africa, Angola, Mozambique, and
the quasi-Bantustans of Swaz.iland, Lesotho, and Bots,:an�-i.s by f�r
the most important region with respect to the above cmena, smcc It IS
characterized by a relatively developed industrial structure and e�ce�
tional mineral wcalth. Concomitantly, the scope of Westcrn caplrnltst
involvement in the area is vaSt indeed. This is, of course, a familiar story
and will bear only limited repetition here.'
Britain, with over £1,000 million invested in the Republic of South

Natiuna/ism in Sub-Saharan Afrira


Africa and SOme £200 million in Rhodesia, remains the major
capitalist country in the area. Dennis Austin, a veteran
British observer
of African affairs, has sketched the full scope of British econom
ic inter­
ests in South Africa-banks, investments in manufacturing
and mining,
trade, access to gold-and, characteristically, blanched,
as has the British
government on all occasions, at any prospect of rock
ing so profitable a
boat.9 By 1963, South Africa had overtaken the United
States and Aus­
tralia as Britain's biggest earner of investment income
United States investment in South Africa is still a
bad s