Over the past year,
Africahas seen the decomposition of states from coast to coast. A belt of war, coups and large-scale spontaneous demonstrations has emerged across the Sahel, from Guinea-Bissauto . ... Somalia
These political processes have a variety of localised causes, yet they have some commonalities. All of them emerge in a context of failed agricultural markets and a boom in mineral and oil extraction. ...
It is not a coincidence that African governments are falling apart while Europe and
North Americaare facing financial crisis. We are witnessing the declining hegemony of African states at the same time the competition for spoils intensifies, while the potential rewards of capturing the centre become ever more valuable. Capital is not withdrawing from Africa, but instead, the processes of extraction are becoming more obvious as the economic basis of societies are under severe strain. ...
At a recent launch of The Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa in
Accra, the editors of the esteemed volume were at odds over how to assess the consequences of three decades of " Consensus" neoliberal economic policies. ... [T]he only point they agreed on was the fact that they have resulted in growing inequalities and increasing poverty throughout Washington Africa.
What we are witnessing now is, in part, the blowback from years of neoliberalism and military interventions in places such as
Somaliaand . This blowback is revealing the shallowness of the "Third Wave" democratisation processes in Africa that the Libya political science establishment was so keen to ride. ... US
[N]neoliberal policies [have] destroyed existing local markets while highly sinister elements flourished. ...
[M]aterial processes of extraction impact political processes. [Demonstrated by the scholarly work of Catherine Boone, Mahmood Mamdani, and Chris Allen]. ... [They have shown that ] peasant-based economies have integrative tendencies. Hegemony is more firmly rooted in land-tenure patterns and cultural institutions of labour mobilisation (ie: unpaid family labour, or working for the chief or marabout). These patterns stem from various alliances and forms of indirect-rule set in place between colonial governments and "strong men". Alternately, extractive industries around valuable commodities have greater tendency toward disintegration.
Agriculture across the region is in crisis. ...
Reforms of the 1990s battered the agricultural sector throughout
Africa. Deborah Bryceson at the notes how these reforms greatly expanded the productivity gap between small-scale and large-scale production. ... Universityof Glasgow
Africa is experiencing the most grotesque contradictions of
Europe's financial crisis. The immediate consequences in the south have been a drop in aid funding, while at the same time, the world's wealthiest are hoarding gold. ...
As declining peasant production, increased war and climate change fuel dislocation, there are fewer aid organisations to fill in the gaps for people to meet bare necessities. These people are the easiest to recruit into armies and gangs of banditry and piracy. ...
There is no doubt that many of the earth's resources are being used to create unnecessary products for high-consumption lifestyles in much of the world. The problem, however, is that ... [c]apitalist societies are producing simply for the sake of production, not need.The current crisis of capitalism is that there is "surplus liquidity". In other words, the rich have so much wealth they have exhausted places to store it. If it is not invested its value depreciates. This is what has led to land grabbing and investment in grain futures markets. This is why we see record amounts being spent on art ... [and] why we see car companies pushing zero per cent financing. While workers are having their jobs and wages cut and governments are enforcing austerity, companies have never held so much cash. As one author reports: "Globally, companies are sitting on more than $5 trillion." This is a classic case of "over-production". When investors cannot sell more cars and condos, they turn to purchasing gold and minerals.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Moorsom on Why NeoLiberal Policies in Africa have been Disastrous
In yesterday's issue of Al Jazeera Toby Leon Moorsom has produced a terrifying image of what's happening in Africa owing to the influence of neo-liberal economic policies -- that is, the view that free trade and open markets, and the privatization of all state-owned enterprises are always good for the public generally. What Moorsom points out is that the way this has been applied in Africa has favored the rich and left the poor ever more worse off. And give their desperate plight, the poor are left to finding work in fighting forces such as those connected with extremist agendas. Whoever can command the wealth in these countries can command armies, a situation that leads to more militarism.
There is more here worth serious reflection. By all means you should read it in full. Merely to wheat interest I reproduce some statements that need to be examined carefully [leaving out or truncating the material evidence he provides for his claims]:
Toby Leon Moorsom teaches at Queen's University in
Canada and is
an editor of Nokoko Journal of African Studies.
Source: Al Jazeera