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The Economics of Decolonisation

Institutions, Education and Elite Formation

Nicola Viegi

Abstract

Modern economic growth theory gives a central role to ‘institutions’ in understanding the ability of an economy to break development constraints. This article briefly reviews a growing economic literature that focuses on African economic history in order to identify the linkages between institutional development and economic growth. Because present-day African institutions are often direct descendants of the colonial experience, colonial economic and political institutions have been the main focus of this literature. This article instead proposes to analyse closely the role that the colonial education had in the process of decolonisation and in African postcolonial history. Because of the importance of education in the process of economic development, an education system aimed mainly at co-opting an elite in the ways of the coloniser might be a significant obstacle in generating innovation and creativity necessary for the process of economic development.

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Empire and Economics

Decolonising Colonialism and Its Legacies in Africa

Edited by Lawrence Hamilton

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‘The Expenditure of a Million of British Sovereigns in this Otherwise Miserable Place’

Frontier Wars, Public Debt and the Cape’s Non-racial Constitution

Jeff Peires

Abstract

This article seeks to enhance the historiography of the Eastern Cape frontier wars by adding war profiteering to land hunger as a motive for settler militancy. Equally important however was the extent to which the exorbitant military expenditure of the Eighth Frontier War (1850–3) aroused the concern of the British Treasury, and drew their attention to the corrupt practices of Colonial Secretary John Montagu, the de facto head of the Cape government. This was precisely the period during which the Cape franchise was under review at the Colonial office, and the article concludes by showing that imperial intervention in favour of a broader more inclusive franchise was due less to democratic concerns than to its desire to put a brake on the Cape’s burgeoning public debt.

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Invoking a World of Ideas

Theory and Interpretation in the Justification of Colonialism

David Boucher

Abstract

In this article I want to draw upon examples from European settlement in the Americas, Australasia and South Africa in order to argue that modern colonisation and imperialism, despite considerable variation, drew upon a range of justificatory principles which constituted a background theory, or worldview, that was invoked in part or in its entirety in justifying the civilising mission which was viewed by its proponents as both a right and a duty. I begin by showing how the infamous ‘Requirement’ (‘Requerimiento’) of 1513 becomes intelligible as a performative utterance when connected to the constellation of ideas which makes it warrantably assertible, to use John Dewey’s terminology. It is not so much about the land or its use in conceptual terms but instead about the larger value judgements the colonists were applying. It is contended that despite the variation in emphases and conclusions, and the different levels of discourse at which justifications are offered, the efficacy and veracity of colonial and imperialist justifications invoke the authority of the world of ideas in which the assertions alone have intelligibility.

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The Keys to the Economic Kingdom

State Intervention and the Overcoming of Dependency in Africa before the Crisis of the 1970s

Bill Freund

Abstract

This article is concerned with reviewing the history of developmental states on the African continent which have been neglected in this theoretical literature. It is important to consider not only successful model developmental states but also partially successful and failed attempts at developmental policies to understand the concept and its place in economic literature. Particular attention is given first to the ambitious examples of Ghana and Tanzania following independence. There is brief discussion of other individual cases, notably Zaïre and Zambia. The last part of the article looks at the developmental aspects of South African economic history between 1910 and 1990. This was apparently a far more successful project but it contained inbuilt flaws that eventually killed off dynamism. The sociopolitical context of racial dominance and separation was a major one of these flaws.

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Rianna Oelofsen

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between the concepts of restorative justice, racial reconciliation and Afro-communitarianism, and how these concepts apply to the South African situation. A version of restorative justice which is necessary for the Afro-communitarian conception of reconciliation will be defended. The understanding of restorative justice defended includes aspects of both distributive and procedural justice.

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Patrick Cockburn

Abstract

Both courts of law and political theorists have grappled with the problem of giving the concept of ‘need’ a place in our reasoning about the rights and wrongs of property regimes. But in the U.K., legal changes in the last fifteen years have eroded the legal possibilities for striking some compromise between the claims of the needy and the rights of property owners. Against this backdrop this article compares three theoretical accounts of how the fact of human need should impact upon our thinking about property rights: the rights-based arguments of Jeremy Waldron, the radical democratic theory of Lawrence Hamilton and the anarchist commentary of Colin Ward. While ‘theories’ of need have paid much attention to the nature of need ‘itself’, the article argues that this comparison reveals another issue that is just as important: where and how should claims of need be registered in legal and political processes?

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Pettman, Dominic. Infinite Distraction

Paying Attention to Social Media

Conor Heaney

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Bernard Matolino

Abstract

The disagreement over what was responsible for arriving at consensual positions, in traditional African polities, is best captured in the classic debate between Kwasi Wiredu and Emmanuel Eze. The former holds that rational persuasion was the sole informant of decision-making while the latter argues that non-rational factors played a crucial role in securing a consensual decision. If Wiredu is correct then consensus could work in modern society as it can be argued that it does not rely on traditionalistic scaffoldings. If, on the other hand, Eze is correct, then consensus cannot work in modern largely urbanised Africa as its traditional underpinnings have largely disappeared. While Emmanuel Ani’s intervention in this debate is welcome for its earnest search for a system that could work, his support for Eze is not bold enough to undermine Wiredu’s rationalistic orientation in consensus.

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Thom Brooks

Abstract

Both vote buying and tax-cut promises are attempts to manipulate voters through cash incentives in order to win elections, but only vote buying is illegal. Should we extend the ban on vote buying to tax-cut promises? This article will argue for three conclusions. The first is that tax-cut promises should be understood as a form of vote buying. The second is that campaign promises are a form of vote buying. The third conclusion is that campaign promises, including tax-cut promises, should not be banned. An important distinction is drawn between enforceable wrongful incentives and unenforceable wrongful incentives. The difference between vote buying and tax-cut promises is not wrongfulness but enforceability.