Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



John Sender and Sheila Smith. The Development of Capitalism in Africa. London and New York: Methuen. 1986. xii+l77 pp.

Author: Pervez Tahir

This book is a powerful defence of the capitalist development in Africa. It is also a Marxist defence, rooted as it is in the realistic understanding of the concrete economic, social and political situation in the sub-Saharan lands of Africa. The authors show how post-colonial nationalistic fervour, when it fails to translate itself into effective State interventions for exploiting domestic productive initiatives, turns out to be a bad economic policy as well as a disruptive political strategy. More revealing is the fact that when populistic nationalism is combined with socialism without class analysis, as in some African countries, so that the existence of the capitalistic dynamic is denied, the socio-economic chemistry of stagnation reigns unhindered. The consequent attempt to put the blame on external factors and institutions fails to take into account a “general characteristic of Marxist methodology, concerning the relative analytical significance of internal as opposed to external forces” (p. 2). Specifically they state:

Pervez Tahir

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