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Accumulation in an African Periphery

A Theoretical Framework

Issa G. Shivji

Publication Year: 2009

The "Washington consensus" which ushered in neo-liberal policies in Africa is over. It was buried at the G20 meeting in London in early April, 2009. The world capitalist system is in shambles. The champions of capitalism in the global North are rewriting the rules of the game to save it. The crisis creates an opening for the global South, in particular Africa, to refuse to play the capitalist-imperialist game, whatever the rules. It is time to rethink and revisit the development direction and strategies on the continent. This is the central message of this intensely argued book. Issa Shivji demonstrates the need to go back to the basics of radical political economy and ask fundamental questions: who produces the society's surplus product, who appropriates and accumulates it and how is this done. What is the character of accumulation and what is the social agency of change? The book provides an alternative theoretical framework to help African researchers and intellectuals to understand their societies better and contribute towards changing them in the interest of the working people.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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pp. i

Copyright Page

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pp. ii


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pp. iii


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pp. iv

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pp. v

I am grateful to Research on Poverty Alleviation, Tanzania (REPOA) for supporting the book project of which this monograph is a part. REPOA provides an excellent atmosphere for research and reflection with a very friendly research, library, and support staff. ...

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By way of a preface

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pp. vii-viii

This monograph is a part of the work-in-progress on the political economy of neo-liberalism in Tanzania. It is adapted from the draft first chapter exploring the current state of African debates on development from the standpoint of political economy. ...

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pp. 1-17

‘From development to poverty reduction,’ sums up the trajectory of the development discourse in Africa over the last four or so decades since independence. This development marks significant shifts, not only in economic approaches and policies, but also in the academic theories and political ideologies underpinning the discourse. ...

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pp. 18-54

Capitalism remains the dominant world system. To understand it, we have to begin with the elementary categories of capitalist accumulation as our point of departure. “Accumulate, accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets!” (Marx 1867:5583). Accumulation of capital augments growth. ...

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pp. 55-74

Both the capitalist logic of exploitation and accumulation and the territorial logic of state administration and jurisdiction were introduced to Africa by capitalist imperialism. The early encounter of Africa with Europe was not commercial, involving a mutual exchange of commodities...

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pp. 75-83

The contradictory relationship between the African periphery and imperialism constitutes the national question. At the heart of this relationship lies the crisis of over-accumulation, which characterises capitalist imperialism. The agrarian question consists in the disarticulated accumulation that characterises peripheral capitalism. ...

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pp. 84-87

As this manuscript was going to the press, the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced at the end of the G20 summit held in London at the beginning of April 2009 that the Washington consensus was over. ...


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pp. 88-95


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pp. 105-100

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789987081509
Print-ISBN-13: 9789987080311

Page Count: 110
Publication Year: 2009