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close this bookMaldevelopment - Anatomy of a Global Failure (United Nations University)
close this folder1. Africa's economic backwardness
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Open this folder and view contentsFalse analyses, false solutions
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South of the Sahara

It has long been known that Africa's development has broken down.1 During the 1960s the annual per capita growth rate in GDP did not exceed 1.3%, before falling to 0.8% in the 1970s, and to almost nil during the first half of the 1980s, while the annual per capita growth rate in agricultural production became negative. -1%. Furthermore, these lamentable results seemed general in the continent. The best results in the countries often cited as exemplary were, in fact, modest. The record annual per capita growth rates in GDP in the 20 years, 1960-80, lie between 2.5% and 4% for the non-mining countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, etc.) and went no higher than 6% to 7% for the mining and oil-producer countries (Gabon, Nigeria, etc.) The best annual growth rates in agricultural production in the ten years 1970-79 were no higher than 3%. Industrial growth rates were also modest, despite the extremely low starting point: 3.3% a year for the 1970s as a median of Sub-Saharan Africa as against 1.8% for agriculture and 4.2% for services.

At the same time the current deficit on the external balance rose from $1.5 billion in 1970 to $8 billion in 1980 and nearly $25 billion in 1985, while foreign debt-servicing in 1985 took 30% of foreign earnings, as compared with 12% in 1980 and 6% in 1970. From 1985, debt-servicing was soaking up 123% of earnings from the export of primary products, the principal element in Africa's exports. The net contribution of foreign capital, which was positive until 1975, has since become negative and increasingly so: the surplus of debt-servicing ($15 billion in 1981, $21 billion in 1985) over the contribution in new loans rose from $5 billion to $22 billion in the same period. The total debt - in 1980 - was $130 billion.

Public finance has moved into a negative position, with a higher rate of growth in current public expenditure than in fiscal and related earnings everywhere (except for the few years of OPEC boom in the oil-exporting countries). Since 1985 in two-thirds of the African countries, state finances not only no longer contribute to any investment effort (as is the case in four-fifths of the countries!) but do not even provide for routine public services to the level that was maintained in the 1960s. In three-quarters of the African countries the only means of maintaining investments at a level to insure nil growth (implying a fall in per capita consumption) and essential imports (equipment and food) is reliance on foreign aid. This explains why Africa's foreign debt is mostly 'public', whereas 'private' of firms takes first place in Africa and Latin America. Whenever the foreign contribution goes down, inflation removes any benefit from the change.

Social indicators are even more shattering. With a population growth rate higher than 2.5% a year, and still rising, with urban growth rate ranging from 5% to 9.1% a year, it is estimated that half the potentially active, male, urban population has no steady income and constitutes a reserve of unemployed and semi-employed that cannot be taken up. The situation in the rural areas is no better since, as everyone knows, Africa has become the famine continent, taking over from Asia.

The crisis is staggering and to varying degrees widespread. But it is nothing new. All the negative factors that have been explosive in the drama of the 1970s and 1980s date back to the 1960s or earlier decades.

The ultimate reason for the failure of 'development', more striking in this region than in any other, is that Africa has not begun its agricultural revolution, without which any development is unimaginable. Agricultural revolution means a complex range of transformations capable of positive growth in agricultural and food production per inhabitant (of the order of at least 1%) over a substantial period (several decades at least), and an even healthier growth in agricultural production per rural family (of the order of 2% to 3%). Only by dint of this are industrialization, urbanization and social development possible.

In Africa, however, production and productivity per rural family has remained stagnant or even declined in some regions. In such circumstances rural emigration is not the result of relative over-population created by successful albeit socially unbalanced agricultural advance, but the opposite, a desperate flight of populations seeking an escape from famine. This kind of emigration causes monstrous urbanization without any prospect of industrialization being able to absorb the flow, and without generating any source of finance for new activities. Elsewhere, in Latin America and Asia, some steps have been taken on the path to agricultural revolution even if it has taken a chaotic and often tragic form from the national and popular stand-point.

The failure has deep pre-colonial and colonial roots. Unhappily little has been done since colonialism to reverse the trends.

The priority task of the agricultural revolution, and one that will remain for several decades to come, is obviously complex and multi-faceted. It has a technological aspect: what kinds of equipment and inputs (water supply, fertilizers, and so on) could bring an improvement in productivity per cultivator and per acre. These technical choices bring in their train the appropriate economic policies of support: for example, options as to prices and income structures to encourage behaviour in accordance with the aims, the industrial policies and appropriate patterns of financing. In turn these economic policies have social and political implications: what kinds of rural social administration (organization of property and its utilization, ground rents and agricultural wages, marketing, credit or producer co-operatives, among others) can help movement in the desired direction, or by contrast obstruct it; how the modes of social administration in effect, produced by historical social relations (particularly between the state and the peasantry) can be an obstacle to change; what kinds of social administration of trade and industry (state holding, co-operation, local and foreign private capital, and so on) may be combined with those required by agricultural progress.

On none of these questions, still less their interlocking relationships, can the experience of the developed regions of the West and East or of Asia and Latin America be transferred as it is. There are many reasons for this: availability of land, pre-capitalist modes of social organization and levels of productivity, too great a diversity of established industrial technology.

Because it is an entirely new task and a complex challenge. 'remedies' proposed by the development agencies are open to question. Many of them have failed the test of experience. Hence the flood of fashions. Some people, in the name of instant efficiency, refuse to acknowledge our profound ignorance of whet 'has to be done' end think it enough to invoke litanies either in praise of the virtues of the 'market' (as if a few price changes could bring the necessary incentives) or of state intervention (in disregard of the historical, political and cultural content that has shaped it) and there are, alas, too many of them to be cited here.

The origins of Africa's agricultural failure

Explanations for Africa's agricultural failure tend to be partial and contradictory.2 The remote past - pre-colonial Africa - is partly to blame. If there is one 'special characteristic' - apart from huge variety - of the modes of rural organization in the greater part of Africa, it is perhaps that the still scarcely begun communal or tribute-paying forms implied extensive occupation of the soil. This allowed for much greater food self-sufficiency than is commonly imagined, thanks to relatively high productivity of labour (as a complement to extremely low return to the acre). Higher production per head entails moving to intensive modes requiring a much greater overall quantity of labour in the year. This increase of production per head is accompanied by a reduced productivity of labour (of physical output per working 'day') but also by an improved return per acre. This move to intensive agriculture, as a precondition to any development worth the name, is the challenge that the African peoples must take up.3

But the challenge has not yet been taken up. Colonization did not only fail to do so: it was not even its aim. Colonialism found it easier to take an immediate super-profit without cost (without investment) by forcing the African peasants into unpaid - or poorly paid - surplus labour through forms of indirect control. Slightly higher output per head at the cost of a greater labour contribution, without equipment or modern inputs (but to the destruction of Africa's land capital), combined with a worsening of peasant living standards, was enough to provide an appreciable margin for capital dominating the global system. Colonization thus continued the ancient tradition of the slave trade: exploitation by pillage that made no provision for reproduction of the labour force over the long term or of the natural conditions for production.

Independence brought no change to this mode of integration in the world capitalist system. Change has come in response to the demands of the new phase in the worldwide expansion of capital (the European construct and United States hegemony) and not in response to the problem of the African peasant. Moreover the prosperity of the 1960s in the West has brought a new enthusiasm in Africa for the 'extroverted system'. And if Renumont, always sensitive to the peasant question, has lucidly and courageously denounced the 'false start in Africa'.4 the World Bank, which is nowadays concerned about the peasants' fate (while the IMP forces the most wretched to pay the price of the failure) gave its enthusiastic support to the policies that were to lead, ten years later, to disaster.

The crisis of the 1970s was the result of a conjunction between the super-exploitation of land, men and women, reaching a level difficult to relieve and the crisis striking the capitalist system as a whole. In the face of this crisis the proposals raining down on Africa at an increasing rate are no more than a manifestation of a 'quest for palliatives'.

If it is no more than a matter of palliatives, then the media's talk 'in favour of agriculture' is shown as a contrast to a supposed 'preference for industrialization' that was at the origin of the failure. But any meaningful quest for greater output per cultivator is precisely to allow increased urbanization; and urbanization without industrialization can only be parasitic and disastrous. In turn, industry (but not unselectively) is necessary to permit greater output from agriculture for which it must supply equipment and to which it must offer a growing market. Here lies the option for an autocentric popular and national strategy. If this option is rejected in favour of a systematic integration in worldwide expansion, talk of 'priority for agriculture' becomes hollow and essentially demagogic. The contradictions in the other 'proposals' are manifest: export industry supposes low salaries and consequently low prices for food crops, at the same time as it urges price rises as an incentive to the peasants to produce more.

The populist garb some have given the proposals do not change their meaning despite talk of basic needs and the strategy of 'petty family production'. Meanwhile, such rhetoric has never prevented the Western laid' bodies from showing a preference, in fact, to support for agro-business and kulaks - in the name of efficiency. That these policies continue to be advanced is evidence at bottom of the scant seriousness with which Africa is treated. For Africa, in the imperialist view of the world, is above all a source of mineral resources for the West; neither its industrialization nor its agricultural development are genuinely considered.

There is nothing natural about the wretchedness of African agriculture.

Undoubtedly underpopulation of tropical Africa, compared with the dense population of tropical Asia, has been an obstacle to intensifying what is described as significant internal migration: and whatever may be said, the Sahel is not irrevocably doomed. There is water there (a group of rivers whose flow matches that of the Nile, extraordinary underground and fossil lakes, if confidential studies are to be believed),5 sources of energy - what about uranium? and the sun and the oil at less than 1,000 metres? - serviceable soils, populations. A social system that claims to be incapable of co-ordinating these 'factors' into a satisfactory plan able to nourish the populations in question can scarcely be regarded as rational, so let us admit that the capitalist system is not rational since it does not necessarily ensure the reproduction of the labour force in each of its segments. Here in the Sahel, for capitalism per se, it is the existence of the Sahelian peoples that is 'irrational'. Since for this capitalism, it would be more appealing if the Sahel had only uranium and not useless Sahelians... Such is the logic of this world system for which Africa is still exclusively a source of minerals. By highlighting the campaigns for emergency 'relief' distribution, the Western institutions have created a belief that the Sahel was irrevocably doomed. Hence it is accepted as if it were natural that the uranium was not intended for the 'natives', and Sahelians must be taught better ways of gathering the blades of grass in the desert and not waste them in their ovens! Africa must adapt to the West's wastage! Is there a better illustration of the vocation as a mineral resource that imperialism consecrates to the continent, and of the subjection of all the so-called development programmes to this essential logic than this ingenuous call to the 'imperatives' of the export of the regions's energy resources? But why not the reverse: let Africa regain control and use of its resources and Europe make the adjustment.

Capitalism's capacity in the abstract to 'solve the problem of African development' could be endlessly discussed. Not only has concrete capitalism, as it exists, that is, with worldwide expansion, failed to 'solve' - but rather created - the problem over the past 150 years (or even the four centuries since the start of the slave trade) but also has nothing in mind for the next 50 years. The challenge will, therefore, be taken up only by the African peoples, on the day when the necessary popular alliances enable them to delink their development from the demands of transnationalization.

Analysing the exploitation of peasants

If Africa as a whole has not even begun its agricultural revolution, this is essentially because the entire system in which it is integrated is based on super-exploitation of the African peasants' labour, and this is beneficial both to the system of dominant capitalism and to the local classes who act as its relay. The system of super-exploitation of the countryside, established by colonialism, has not been challenged by the neo-colonial system that faithfully carries on the tradition.

We are inadequately equipped to provide a theoretical analysis of this super-exploitation because the great majority of African peasants arc petty producers and consequently there are no obvious direct exploiters, such as the great landowners are or have been elsewhere. Conventional economic theory, almost on principle ignores the phenomenon of labour exploitation. By virtue of its emphasis on market mechanisms it remains a prisoner of the prejudice it feeds on, that of 'pure and perfect competition'. At most it allows itself to note in passing the gap between this model and the reality of capitalist production. It is particularly the case of Third World peasant production, which far from being independent, is subject to this exploitation by capital.

There are varying forms of integration of this peasantry in the world capitalist system: typified in very broad terms, by the integration of petty peasant production in the world commodity market. The essential here is not as it might at first seem: monopoly of colonial houses, mediated through state bodies in some circumstances, and such monopoly allowing super-profits from circulation, but at a more profound level, namely direct interference by capital in the organization of production. Obviously such interference will not be perceived if the field of economics is separated from politics, for it operates precisely through political, administrative and technical incorporation of the petty peasantry. It is through such incorporation that the peasants are obliged to specialize in certain crops, to buy the inputs these need and finally to rely on the income of their apparent sale. The peasant's formal ownership of the land and the means of production is maintained but emptied of its genuine content: the peasants lost control over economic decision-making and organization of the production process and is no longer genuinely a 'free petty producer'. Thus, behind the apparent sale of the output is concealed a sale of his labour power. Hence the peasant is integrated in capitalist production relations invisible on the scale of the peasant production unit, but perfectly visible at the level of the global system in which he is integrated. It is just as difficult to understand the failure to see the system of exploitation, of which Marx in Capital provided a masterly and recognized example, in the system of 'putting out' work.

Clearly, forms of exploitation of the peasant economy have themselves evolved in various ways. Sometimes integration in capitalist exchange has provoked appreciable differences in appropriation of the soil and the instruments of production. In such a case, the rich peasants' ('kulak') direct exploitation of agricultural labourers or of share-croppers, is superimposed by exploitation of the collective commodity production by monopoly capital. In other cases, administrative, colonial or neo-colonial incorporation is associated with primary native social control that for want of a better term may be described as parastatal, semi-feudal. Obviously the class that battens on this 'incorporation' does not directly appropriate the soil or the means of production, which is left in the peasants' hands, but it still levies its tithe - the output of the peasant's surplus labour - in one way or another. Here, too, the exploitation of the peasant in these apparently pre-capitalist systems apparent only (as they are the product of capitalist integration) - must not obscure the fact that the systems are integrated in global capitalist exploitation.

Obviously there are additional forms of superimposing relations of capitalist exploitation on pre-capitalist relations, whether themselves based on super-exploitation or not, just as there is an extremely varied range of forms of articulation between pre-capitalist and capitalist relations. In the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, we have noted three classifications: the 'trading economy', the 'reserve economy' and the 'concessionary companies economy'. All these forms of exploitation must be studied concretely; no abstract theory deduced a priori from some general principles can take the place of concrete analyses.

In analysing these forms of extraction of surplus it would be helpful to raise in general terms the issue of the law of value, which in the end implicitly governs the validity of the thesis. To make it possible to discuss exploitation the comparison of the values and costs of the labour power of the peasant in question and of the labourer - whose labour is embodied in the goods sold to that peasant - must have some meaning, as obviously the goods exchanged have values and costs that can meaningfully be compared. That is to say that the thesis assumes a worldwide value category of commodities and a worldwide value category of labour power. Even if the first of these theses has won general acceptance, the second has not. The sixth chapter of Capital [first published in 1933] however, showed that Marx already had some sense of the problem. Marx suggests in effect how difficult it is to grasp the value at the level of the basic unit of production. He raises consideration of the concept of 'collective labourer' and suggests that this tends to include all the workers in an increasingly broader area, comprising various production units. The contents of this chapter, remarkably in advance of its time and not known to Bukharin, were, however, implicitly taken on board by the latter in his view of a capitalist development that taken to its logical conclusion would lead to a 'sole ownership' of the means of production: by the state. The value category would then apparently have vanished; although it would still be there... Bukharin perhaps had partly in mind a possible evolution of the USSR. But above all he had in mind the profound tendency of capitalism whereby without reaching the stage of 'sole ownership' we have by now reached the stage where the dominance of capitalism spreads well beyond the production units that form its base. It is on such theoretical foundations that we have shaped our thesis that labour power tends to have a unique value on a world scale although it retains differential costs, above or below this value. The precise measure of this tendency to a differentiation of the costs of labour power can be gauged, albeit crudely, by 'double factorial terms of trade', or the relationship between gross terms of trade and the index of comparative productivities of labour.

An analysis of exploitation in these circumstances calls for a complementary analysis of the overall political economy of the colonial and neo-colonial system. In fact the increasing exploitation of peasant labour is the main source of the typical distortions of peripheral capitalist development. To go further in this field it is necessary to make a concrete case by case examination of how income distribution and the resulting demand have shaped industrial patterns. It is then necessary to make a concrete examination of how the increasing exploitation integrates the societies of peripheral capitalism in the international division of labour in such a way as to reproduce and intensify the increasing exploitation of labour. Obviously these patterns of development and the increasing contradictions they have provoked are at the origin of the crisis in the imperialist system and of the responses to it by the national liberation movement. The character of the compromises that have invested the independence of Third World states and hence the character of the reforms on which they embarked (such as replacement of the former colonial companies by state bodies) must be considered in this perspective.

We should argue that the current crisis of Third World agriculture reflects the partial character of these reforms, inadequate to free the peasants and the country from imperialist exploitation. We should further argue that peasant super-exploitation has reached a degree that endangers not only reproduction of the peasant producers themselves (through famine, rural exodus, and so on) but industrial development too, in the sense that agriculture gradually loses its capability of ensuring acceptable prices for food crops, essential in turn for exploitation of the working class. As is well known, the response of monopoly capital to this crisis is to envisage a series of technical innovations known as the 'green revolution'. These innovations are certainly intended in part to raise the productivity of peasant labour, but also and principally to integrate in the more intensive relations dominated by agro-business transnationals. A counterposing definition must be established as to the social, economic and technical changes necessary to sustain a national and popular programme capable of raising the living standards of the peasants and workers, and broadening the material and social base of the essential development of the forces of production.

The 'green revolution' of our day is undoubtedly different from the 'agricultural revolution' that preceded the industrial revolution in 1 8th century Western Europe but both these 'revolutions' lie within the same overall perspective: that of making agriculture capable of supplying the urban proletariat with the means of reproducing their labour power. The 'agricultural revolution' of mercantilist and physiocratic Europe fulfilled this essential role by disaggregating feudal relations and transforming them into agrarian capitalist relations. The methods of this transformation are peculiar to their time: there were as yet no industries; the production of inputs for the new agriculture was supplied by the labour of peasants and rural artisans: the surplus food crops sold by the peasants and capitalist farmers to the towns were delivered in their raw states without significant processing.

The 'green revolution' of our day surfaced in regions integrated in a global system already dominated by industry: that of the manufacture of agricultural inputs (farm machinery, fertilizers, sprays, for example) and of food industries offering urban consumers processed foods, with a reduction of the artisanal or domestic labour to prepare them in usable form. This 'revolution' certainly presupposes the abolition of certain pre-capitalist relations that had become too serious a handicap to agricultural modernization. Agrarian reforms fulfilled this preliminary role in most of the Third World during the three decades after the Second World War. Once this step had been taken the 'green revolution' was on the agenda. It encouraged - peasant or farming capitalist (kulak) - agriculture to integrate in the upstream industries (supplying agricultural inputs) and downstream industries (food processing). Who would control this agro-industrial integration? That was the issue.

Capitalism's 'classic' solution is to operate this integration through subjection of the farmers to industry, that is to the monopolies of the agro-business. This evolution, which had its early beginning in the United States and Canada and spread to the whole of Western Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, is now proposed for the Third World countries. It would have the effect not only of transferring the benefit of peasant surplus labour to the monopolies but also of worsening the overall national dependence of peripherally capitalist societies on these monopolies, and further accentuating the distortions of accumulation in these societies.

In the early 1960s and in the excitement of independence, there began to develop in agriculture a sometimes rather impetuous movement of modern petty commodity producers whenever favourable conditions arose. We have suggested this to be the case where rural population density was 'optimum' (of the order of 30 inhabitants to the square kilometre) and where it was possible to attract wage labour by the immigration of outsiders to the ethnic group of the area. This movement encouraged the hope of the launch of an agricultural revolution, reproducing, mutatis mutandis, a model common in 19th century Europe. But the movement was soon smothered and had results only on the scale of limited micro-regions (in the south of Cd'Ivoire and in Kenya for example) to the extent that on a continental scale or even within the beneficiary countries the overall results remained mediocre.7 The reason for this smothering is related to the fact that this agriculture of 'modem farmers' is super-exploited by the upstream industries (foreign in this instance) supplying inputs and by the world market imposing real price cuts on these export crops (the World Bank systematically encouraged over-production for this purpose).

The second solution is to subject agriculture to the state - one whose historical origins and class structure are integrated in various ways in the world system. It might be a Soviet-type state, contemptuous of the peasants, which sees the countryside as no more than a manpower reserve for industrialization and the provider of foodstuffs for the towns, lt 'collectivizes' and 'modernizes' by obliging the peasants to resort to mechanization, while retaining control of the machinery - this was the formula of the Soviet machine and tractor stations - just as it retains ownership and management of the agricultural produce processing industries. But it might also be a peripherally bourgeois state, one unable (for various particular historical reasons in this or that instance) to base its overall power on an alliance with an agrarian bourgeoisie, that becomes the peasant's 'partner', or in fact his master. This form allows exploitation of peasant labour to be subjected to the demands of industrial accumulation.

The third solution which is still being sought, would entail a genuine popular alliance with the peasants as genuine partners. In this dispensation the sphere of activities controlled by the peasantry could be extended to the upstream and downstream industries. In other words the 'shearing' from prices unfavourable to the rural community could be avoided by collective negotiation of the relative prices of industry and agriculture. Maoism adopted this principle, in intention at least. It was said of the Chinese commune, created in 1957-58, that it was based on equality between the town and countryside. The commune, as is well known, operated on three levels: the team (the natural village) handling simple means of production (draught equipment, hand tools), which - at China's level of development of the forces of production - are still the mainstay of agricultural production; the brigade handling modern equipment utilized by several teams (machinery, transport vehicles, improvements in the irrigation system, and so on); and finally the commune handling some minor upstream industries (for example, tool manufacture, workshops, rural building) and downstream (simple processing: rice mills, shelling, grain mills, among others). Peasant control in principle over these three levels, in marked contrast with the Soviet machine and tractor stations, bore witness to the reliance the authorities claimed to place on the peasantry and reflected the reality of the worker and peasant alliance that gave substance to this authority. The commune, moreover, in integrating social services (health, education, and so on) and administrative powers into its management system paved the way for an eventual integration of political power and economic management. Undoubtedly the 'industries' managed by the commune were still, at the current stage of the country's development, rather elementary and team output accounted for some 80% to 85% in value of the output of all three levels. In addition, some - the most modern - of the inputs were provided for agriculture by industry properly speaking, that is collectives of urban workers (or the state).

Obviously the challenge to the system after the Mao Zedong's death raises a question mark over the reality of the system as it was operating in the 1960s and 1970s, but this goes beyond the scope of this study. It has been argued that control of the communes really remained in the hands of the party bureaucracy who imposed prices less favourable than supposed. Deng Xiaoping relied on this argument in order to dissolve the communes, 'decollectivize' and allow the 'market' to operate to the peasants' advantage, and thus correct the terms of trade in a favourable direction, if not for the entire rural community at least for the segments that succeeded in securing a strong foothold in the new market for foodstuffs.8

It is impossible to define the exact forms of organization and implementation of economic management and national and popular politics formulated from a priori abstractions divorced from the actual dialectic of relations between state, peasants and workers. The principles emerging in this schema of the three outline models do, however, merit systematic consideration.

Finally, an analysis of exploitation of peasant labour power inevitably entails the closest examination of the organization of commodity and non-commodity labour within the peasant family. Obviously, the prices paid for peasants' labour decrease as they correspond to an increase in the quantity of 'unpaid' labour, that is the non-commodity labour by the peasant man, and much more often of the peasant woman.

For want of the means, it is rare to find a precise measurement of the quantity and character of the total labour supplied by the entire peasant family. A comparison of this overall quantity of labour and that supplied by the entire family of the worker under capitalist industry would provide a measurement of the real gap between the price of labour power at the periphery and at the centre of the system. We argue that this gap would be even more massive than that indicated solely by the double factorial terms of trade, which takes into account only the comparative amounts of direct labour producing goods.

North Africa and the Arab world: from statism to comprador capitalism

Economic performance, assessed in conventional terms, is not as disastrous as in Sub-Saharan Africa.9 The average real annual growth rate in the three decades (1955-85) turned out - according to the calculations of the Economic Commission for Western Africa - at about 5%, with industry accounting for 7% (as compared with less than 3% for Sub-Saharan Africa where the starting point was much lower), agriculture for 2% (only slightly higher than that of Sub-Saharan Africa), and the tertiary sector for 8% (4% in Sub-Saharan Africa). In fact these performances are mediocre, despite the better rates of industrialization: the spread of the tertiary sector, prematurely and too speedily, is a handicap north and south of the Sahara, and is the effect of a crisis in society and state development, employment and urbanization, and not a response to the crisis. Agriculture remained fairly stagnant, contributing, with the heavy urbanization of the region (where the urban population has since 1985 exceeded half the population total) a food deficit which also represents more than half the nation's basic food consumption. In other words, as a rule the country-sides do not feed the towns, even if they - just about - manage to ensure their own subsistence. If there are not the chronic famines of the Sahel, with a regressive depopulation of the countryside (and a collapse of agricultural production), migration from the countryside to the towns is no longer, as it was in the West's dual agricultural and industrial revolution, the social effect, of this revolution, combined with a significant increase in agricultural output.

Faysal Yachir, in his synthesis of the economic modernization of the Arab world, suggests that: beyond national particularities, the countries of the region have evolved within the framework of a unique economic model, whereby the state takes responsibility for the development of capitalism in close relationship with the system of the world economy.

He distinguishes the variant of 'overt state capitalism' (Morocco and Tunisia and the Gulf states in the Mashreq) whereby 'tine state supplies the conditions for the emergence of national capital within the narrow framework enjoined by the international division of labour' from the variant of 'populist state capitalism' (Nasser's Egypt, and Algeria, Syria and Iraq) whereby 'the state seeks to build an autonomous public economic by turning its back on the international division of labour'. The distinction is the effect of specific class alliances of the national liberation movement, more clearly bourgeois in the first variant, or by contrast aimed against at least some sections of the bourgeoisie in the second. In both cases, however, state intervention remains decisive, since it accounts for 40% to 70% of investment and controls 40% to 60% of industrial output.

On the credit side of the model is its acceleration of the rate of industrialization. In the 'open' variant, however, the fragmented character of this industrialization makes it impossible as yet to describe the countries in question as 'semi-industrialized', whereas Egypt and Algeria have reached this stage (to be found nowhere else in Africa except South Africa). But despite this positive aspect, the model has fairly speedily reached the end of its historical possibilities, owing to the following handicaps:

(i) industrialization does not necessarily entail a breach of the rules of the international division of labour, especially when, as Yachir notes in regard to the Arab world, the economy remains 'strongly dependent on external outlets, products, technology and financial flows'. This industry is more an appendix to the world economy than the basis of a national economy;

(ii) consumption and investment have remained largely dependent on transfers from abroad (oil revenue, migrants' transfers, private capital, public aid or loans on the international finance market). The model's vulnerability to the fluctuations of the world conjuncture is not reduced but on the contrary accentuated;

(iii) 'the agrarian structures have not been transformed in a direction that allows decisive improvements in returns' (Yachir).

These three handicaps combined have permitted the 1970-80 offensive, with the aim of Driving back statism for the benefit of capitalism increasing the integration in the international division of labour' (Yachir). The half-statist, half-commodity character of the rationality of the statist model encouraged this apparent fluctuation in strategy and language. The obvious pressure mobilized by the IMF and exerted on the countries in the region because of their foreign debt ($35 billion for Egypt and Algeria. $15 billion for Morocco and $8 billion for Tunisia) had much the same effect.

Despite the liberalization measures, the results have been very disappointing. Foreign capital was in no rush to replace the state's disengagement, except in the form of sub-contracting companies who, buy practically nothing in the country, do their repairs in Europe, use obsolete and second-hand equipment and personnel with absolutely no skill and enjoy no autonomy in the conception of the product and its marketing. (Yachir)

Foreign capital spurns Egypt for political motives (to which we shall return in Chapter 4) which form part of the West's overall strategy. These forms of industry of regressive plunder - since the new export activity is based exclusively on the low-cost manpower - do not even promise stability since, as is well know. EEC neo-protectionism now threatens them after Europe encouraged their establishment. In such circumstances neo-liberalization has encouraged an unproductive speculative economy (a 'rent economy' as it is called) and massive outflow of capital. The effect is a serious depreciation of labour earnings accentuating the inequality of social income distribution, while stagnation in growth brings an inevitable leap in unemployment. This is a high price to pay for an illusory 'stabilization' in the balance of payments. Neo-liberalization has not proved an effective response to the blockages in the statist model, and is on the contrary a regression on this model.

Beyond this macro-economic analysis, what is the social and political content of statist-capitalist development in the Arab world? What are its prospects? How does it relate to the worldwide expansion of capitalism?

To answer these fundamental questions requires a step back to the 19th century. The Arab Orient under the Turkish yoke (Syria and Iraq) suffered Ottoman peripheralization in a direct fashion and to an exaggerated degree by virtue of their status as conquered territories. For it is vital here not to make the mistake of transposing modern concepts of nation and national subordination to a past that knew nothing of these concepts (cf. Chapter 3). The Arabs of Syria, Iraq and Egypt were conquered by the 'Turks', just as were the Anatolian peasants by the dynasty and then the authority of the Sultan and Istanbul. As they were all Muslims they belonged to the same area of culture and civilization, and one largely autonomous in regard to the immediate political and military power to which they were subjected. Much later, when the ideology of nation spread, the affair was reinterpreted as a 'conquest'. The recruitment methods of the army, the essential mainstay of Ottoman political power, later bore down on the destiny and evolution of the 'provinces' (vilayet) and hence differentiated Anatolia as a provider of soldiers from the Mashreq, and of tribute in kind and in cash. The Maghreb, like the Arabian peninsula, had no special role in these arrangements; the matter was no more than one of strategic regional control points. But the different role assigned to Anatolia and the Mashreq brought to the latter a 'feudal involution', as an effective instrument for the exaction of tribute, while this involution - present in Anatolia but to a lesser degree -undermined the efficiency of army recruitment and hence hastened the decline of the Ottomans' military empire.

It is, moreover, relevant to compare the reactions to this beginning of peripheralization. Egypt was alone in reacting vigorously and coherently to the attempt by Mohamed Ali, not to 'conquer Istanbul ' but to unify and modernize the Arab Mashreq in the face of the European challenge. Turkey, by virtue of its proximity to Istanbul, or its complicity in the political and military recruitment of the ruling class, was virtually incapable of reacting. Reaction to European imperialist expansion was to come belatedly and mainly in connection with the successive military defeats in the Balkans. That provides almost all the roots and historical limitations of Kemalism which was to find its historic moment in the defeat of 1919. Kemalism had no special social plan, and thought it was possible to 'copy Europe' if one wanted: to build a homogeneous national state (Turkish in this instance) and opt for 'modernization' (in all fields from education to industry) with no doubts as to the absolute efficiency of capitalist relations of production (since they typified Europe) or the benefits of 'independence'. Later Nasserism's early years were to feed on the same ingenuousness. Kemalism believed it could create a 'national industrial bourgeoisie' by the miracle of public statements alone. During the 1920s it eliminated the Ottoman cosmopolitan comprador bourgeoisie, and battened on the peasantry (through low fixed cereal prices) in order to finance the modernized bureaucratic state, but it succeeded in doing no more than encourage a new local bourgeoisie (Muslim Turkish) of traders and landowners, in fact of the comprador kind, although grafted on to state activity. From the 1 930s, and with the incentive of a crisis, growing awareness of the limitations of 'encouragement of private national capital' led to the option of statist industrialization whose best years were the brief period 193339 before the Second World War (GDP rose by 9% a year). Throughout this history Kemalism paid no heed to the rural community, which the Europeanized officers and bureaucrats despised (one example is their concern to 'drag' it - by violence - into their own prejudices, or religious conviction). But an assessment of this must be attenuated by the fact that the prevailing circumstances in Anatolia offered not the slightest prospect of a peasant movement on which Kemalism could count for support.

The history of Nasserism in Egypt and the numerous forms it inspired in the Arab world from Algeria to Syria and Iraq reproduces the historical limitations in their same order illusions as to national capitalist development, then technocratic industrialist statism. The peasant dimension of the anti-imperialist national liberation movement (in Egypt, Syria and Iraq against the landowners who provided the social basis for peripheralization, in Algeria through the peasant contribution to the liberation war) accelerated the evolution towards a radicalized statism that further circumstances (such as the conflict with Israel, and US schemes of integrating the Middle East in anti-Soviet military alliances) have pushed into talk of a 'socialist transition'.

The Kemalist model reached a crisis in the 1950s, by virtue of US pressure. But the new 'open door' attracted scarcely any foreign investment, and merely allowed it to resume control of the country through joint ventures, and later, foreign debt. The West's quasi-theological appeal to 'privatization' was blocked by the absence of a genuine local bourgeoisie capable of taking the baton and opened wider the gates to domination by international capital. Growth remained remarkable - at 6% to 7% a year for GDP from 1950 to 1975 - and was encouraged by a series of favourable circumstances: the boom of the 1960s and the substantial Turkish emigration to Europe: the boom in kulak agriculture serving the world market and the increasing urban market. The crisis burst into violence when, along with the slowing down in emigration due to the western crisis of the 1970s, the middle class had less scope for expansion and faced inflation, foreign debt and a deficit in the balance of payments. The form of conjunction between international capital and the Turkish dictatorship is well known: a total opening to the exterior (fluid exchange rates, dismantling of exchange and import controls) combined with an offensive on the mass of the people and even on the middle strata who were officially required to restructure 'industry with a view to export competitiveness'. The theology - the private sector offers the universal panacea - only thinly veils the plan for subordination to the strategy of redeployment of international capital, theoretically assigning Turkey to labour-intensive industry - cheap labour obviously - for the benefit of the Western consumer! But in the light of the industrial structure inherited from Kemalism the crisis resulted in de-industrialization, and consequently in widespread unemployment and spiralling instability, rather than any restructuring.

How is it possible to ignore the analogy with the Arab world and the currently fashionable infitah? The comparison must be modified country by country. In the countries of so-called 'liberal' capitalism, where statist intervention is nonetheless essential (Morocco, Tunisia. Saudi Arabia) the upsurge of the 1960s is more reminiscent of the model of the Turkey of the Democratic Party than that of Kemal Ataturk and Inonu. Conversely, in the countries of radical state capitalism (Egypt. Syria, Iraq, Algeria) the populist note is certainly more marked than in Kemalist Turkey, for the reasons indicated earlier. But countries of both kinds were deep in crisis from the middle of the 1970s; a crisis merely reduced, concealed or delayed in the oil-producer countries (Iraq, Algeria, Saudia Arabia). As for the options followed by the local authorities and preached by the same external forces (IMF and so on) the maximum openness was to the detriment of the standards of living of the poorest section of the community - above all those in modern Turkey.

The history of contemporary modern Turkey presents strong analogies with that of the Arab countries. This history is a chapter in that of the Third World (of the systems of peripheral capitalism in our opinion) and not Europe (of systems of central capitalism).

For some 65 years or more, however, Turkey has proclaimed its 'Europeanness' and consciously cut loose the ties that bound it to the waters of the Orient. The Kemalist option had no hesitation in forcing the issue and maintaining a distance from Islam that noother Muslim country dared match. Furthermore, in order to establish the new Turkish nation on an ideological basis divorced from the Arab and Persian Muslim Orient, Kemalism invented an entire Turanian, non-Persian, non-Semitic mythology. But, after such efforts, was Europe ready to accept Turkey? Was Turkey offered any corner in its councils? Not at all. Nowadays is there anything more than the reality, and even more daunting prospect, of a lumpen-Europeanization of Turkey? If, with an easy conscience. Europe can blame the 'failure' of modernization among the Arabs on attachment to Islam, is the argument abandoned when it comes to the fate Western capitalism reserves for a Turkey that did try to break with its past? Is it not time to realize that the myth of 'European assimilation' is finished?

The history of contemporary Turkey concerns the Arabs in two issues of the national and cultural dimension of development options: First in regard to a necessary consideration of the political and ideological options of the preceding generations. The option of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, in the name of the principle of nationalities that had become sacrosanct, was neither unavoidable nor prevalent in the Arab Orient of the end of the 19th century. Secondly, in regard to a consideration of the tragic prospects that surrender to the imperatives of capitalist expansion offers the Arab, and the Turkish people. For the model of 'lumpen-Europeanization' is not exclusive to the Turks. Western strategy for the Arab world is clear to destroy Egypt in order to remove any hope of a revival of the Arab nation, then, on this basis, to isolate the Maghreb from it in order to subject it to collective European 're-colonization' (es a continuation of the prior French colonization) through the mirage of 'integration' in the building of Europe. The dominant classes in the Maghreb are not immune to the nods and winks in this direction, as so many mundane facts and even political statements testify (cf. Chapters 4 and 8).

Finally, it may be helpful to broaden the discussion at least by raising questions.

Is the fate of the Arab world, in the foreseeable future at least, namely the reinforcement of its subordination through a greater integration in the transnational capitalist system, a special case in the general trend on the scale of the Third World as a whole? Is this sad prospect a passing retreat, to be replaced sooner or later by a new attempt to establish bourgeois national states as more equal partners in the world system? Or is it the end of a long period and an indicator of an irreversible failure of bourgeois national plans in the region in particular and the Third World in general? Can this failure be blamed exclusively on internal factors not conducive to the achievement of such a bourgeois national plan, as these factors missed out on the 'opportunities' provided by integration in the worldwide capitalist expansion? Or is this integration itself a significantly and perhaps decisively unfavourable factor that makes the bourgeois national plan impossible in our age?

It will be shown later (cf. Chapter 3) that as regards the Arab world, the prolonged phase of the Nahda (meaning the renaissance from the start of the 19th century with Mohamed Ali's attempt in Egypt to the 1970s when infitah was adopted) is a closed book. This Nahda embodied in various forms the renewed attempt of the Arab bourgeoisie (and the Egyptian in particular) to take its place as autonomous partner in the worldwide capitalist system. Kemalism was also a form - Turkish in this instance -of a similar approach, to be found in other guises in other regions of the periphery. These plans probably have no future.

These remarks will be developed in the discussion on the political and cultural dimensions of development and apply not only to the Mashreq and Egypt but also to the Maghreb, if only by reason of Egypt's cultural and ideological leadership and the particular problematic of the Arab nation They are today of more consequence than the heritage of French colonization in

North Africa, although the latter had a strong impact on the social character and the options of the national liberation movement in the three countries. Without repeating what we said of the national movement in The Maghreb in the Modern World, let us recall one of its conclusions:

[T]he history of the national movements in the Maghreb countries was, until very recently, very different. And as will be seen, the time factor helps to explain the lags and differences... In Algeria, more than a century passed between the time of Abdel Kader and the 1954 insurrection. Algeria's past was distant; a long, dead period elapsed between the old nationalism and the new. In Tunisia the transition was more rapid. Modern nationalism was formed by a direct breach with the old nationalism. The break came between the two wars, and it was a break between men who knew one another personally. In Morocco, the Protectorate was of such recent date that the old nationalist generation has survived almost up to the present day, and the break was delayed until after independence. Nor can the device of the Protectorate be regarded as wholly irrelevant to the issue, since it enabled old structures to survive, even though they had long outlived their function. Examples of these were the Makhzen of the Bey of Tunis and the Sultan of Morocco, which lingered on long after the Makhzen of Abdel Kader had been entirely destroyed and forgotten. Moreover, the social structures which lay behind these social forms were not in every case identical. The Algerian landed aristocracy had long disappeared -indeed, Abdel Kader himself did more to destroy it than did colonization - while in Morocco this class was actually reinforced by colonization. The situation in Tunisia lay somewhere between these two extremes. Even though these structures are today gradually losing their importance in the face of the rapidly rising tide of the petty bourgeoisie - a phenomenon common to all three countries - they did for a long time condition the nature of the national movement. Last but not least, the difference in legal status was to condition the French attitude towards the Maghreb countries in the last period before independence.10

The national movements in the three countries of French North Africa were faced by a range of similar problems: (1) the almost total absence of local industries, as colonization was in the hands of Malthusian metropolitan interests who imposed an exclusively agricultural and mining specialization (there is nothing in French North Africa comparable to the private Misr industrial Egyptian group that emerged in the 1920s); (2) the implantation of settler colonialism in significant numbers and their expropriation of 'settler land'. This problem found a de facto solution in the emigration of the settlers, the devolution of settler land to self-managing collectives in Algeria, and to the rural bourgeoisie in the other two countries: (3) the attempt to 'Frenchify' the society (with particular violence in Algeria).

Nevertheless, in the space of two decades the Maghreb succeeded in hoisting itself to the level of semi-industrialized countries, or the verge thereof; it was able without great disaster to fill the gap left by the exodus of the majority of technical, or even semi-skilled, personnel: it embarked, with success varying from country to country, on a process of re-Arabization. This is a body of achievement that was remarkably difficult in the circumstances it inherited. By contrast the legacy of agrarian duality from colonization has not really been overcome. In Algeria the denuding of the countryside embarked upon in the colonial era was considerably speeded up during the prolonged Algerian war (by the policy of 'regrouping' enforced by the French army). Any judgement of the mediocre results of agricultural modernization in the independent Maghreb must be tempered with these disastrous effects of the colonial inheritance.

Conceptions of Africa's agricultural development: a critique

The example of the Sahel's CILSS

Africa has been and is a trial ground in agricultural development to the point that some would argue 'everything ventured, nothing gained'. This is possibly because almost all these experiments have remained trapped in the old colonial (and racist!) prejudice that Africa was not ready either for industry, or for serious modernization of its agriculture and that from the outset an extensive approach is the only one possible. A paternalist conception of 'aid' as supposedly capable of sustaining pursuit of extensive development rounds off the picture.

This viewpoint may be illustrated by the case of the Sahel countries. " As is well known, not until the wave of drought in the mid-1970s did the world become aware of the dramatic situation in the region. Drought and famine reduced food crops by at least one-third and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The CILSS (Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) formed in 1973, and the Sahel Club were finally persuaded that the priority for the strategic development aim for the region should be food self-sufficiency. But in what circumstances was this aim feasible? Could the strategy laid down by the donors in the Sahel Club (OECD and international bodies) achieve it?

A brief summary of the character and structure of the Sahel's economic and social development over the past half-century would run as follows: a modest rate of growth in rural output, due entirely to extensive methods, under conditions increasingly damaging to the region's ecological balance; an absence of industrialization, especially for support to agricultural growth: a continual worsening of the double factorial terms of trade reflecting the decline of reward for peasant labour in the international division of labour; a continual worsening of the exaction from peasant income by the expansion of the administration and the tertiary sector.

The Sahel Club was well aware of the modest and extensive character of rural development: but it failed to note other characteristics of global development and thereby condemned itself to remaining bound by the apparent causes of the situation.

The facts about the extensive character of the region's rural development are well known. Despite the extension of areas sown with cereals from 1,570.00 hectares in 1955 to 3.430,000 in 1978, the yield per hectare fell from 500 to 400 kilos. Areas enjoying regular supplies of water, accounted for only 1% of cultivated land and were being increased very slowly - 5,000 hectares a year - which scarcely replaced the areas that had deteriorated due to poor maintenance. Moreover, even in the irrigated holdings, the methods were mainly extensive: the yields were scarcely more than two tonnes to the hectare (instead of the potential five or six tonnes) and double cropping was never, or almost never, practiced. Costs of mechanization, spraying and maintenance were such that either the holdings had to be heavily subsidized, or the remaining income to reward the peasants was grossly inadequate. As for stock-raising, since in the previous period (1950-70) the herds were increasing at a high rate (of 3% to 5% annually) thanks to the multiplication of watering points and to the vaccination campaigns, but as the extensive methods were unchanged, the result was serious over-grazing. Drought under these circumstances ravaged the herds and wiped out the quantitative advances made in the previous twenty years.

Continual expansion of extensive agriculture and stock-raising must of necessity reach a limit. Arguing that 'tine disaster is due to the destruction of landed capital' is no explanation but a tautological repetition that growth is extensive. Furthermore, in this extension of area the responsibility of export crops is undeniable, at least in Senegal and some regions of the interior. As groundnuts and cotton took up a not inconsiderable area in these regions and to the extent that the 'profitability' of these crops requires the peasants to look elsewhere for their own subsistence, the development of these crops substantially increased the area under cultivation. This has been shown in studies of the gradual desertification of the groundnut basin of Senegal.

The same is true of 'over-grazing', which is not the 'cause' but the effect of the extensive option for stock-raising. But the option has reasons: it permitted an increase of production of relatively cheap meat (at the risk of the future) both for the internal market and for export. The Sahel in particular, by supplying meat relatively cheaply, in comparison with the coast's prices, made its contribution to the development of the regions where foreign financed companies operate.

Deforestation must be explained in the same way. If the African peasants sought their sources of energy in this way it was because they had no choice. The world economic system has therefore benefited from a 'hidden subsidy' corresponding to the 'free energy' available to the peasants of the Sahel. This ingredient, like the others, has made its contribution to the maintenance of incredibly low real rates of reward for peasant labour and hence the attractive prices for the beneficiaries of the agricultural output exported by the Sahel.

In short, the option for extensive rural development arises from the very logic of the unequal international division of labour. Extensive agricultural development is in fact the only way open to the countries of the Sahel to supply an 'exportable' output by drawing on the value of their peasants' labour. If the labour can be rewarded at rates as low as it is (these rates can be calculated by dividing the return on the marketed harvest by the number of days of labour required to produce it) it is because the peasants procure their subsistence (in, for example, cereals, firewood) through their labour unrewarded by the system. The world system therefore benefits from a 'negative rent', corresponding to the value consumed by the productive system that 'eats' its landed capital.

The system of an unequal international division of labour can, of course, operate only where there is a system of local relay runners with an interest in implementing it. The Sahel peasants would not have become integrated of their own accord, on the contrary, their prime concern has been and continues to be to remain outside it. Peasant autarky had to be smashed in order to bring the 'modern system' into play. There were only two ways to do this: (1) to authorize and promote differentiation within the peasantry, allowing private appropriation of the soil by a minority and compelling the majority to sell their labour or to rent land; or (2) to maintain the rural communities and impose on them a statist authority charged with their 'incorporation', that is to impose a 'progress' of which they would not be the beneficiaries. In the Sahel region the colonial system chose the second way, and the colonial administration played this role and bequeathed it to the states.

The amount of public aid granted the Sahel countries rose from $755 million to $1.7 billion between 1974 and 1979, a 50% growth in real terms, provided principally by the contribution of Arab countries alongside the Western countries and international bodies (Arab countries' share rose from 5% to 25% during the past 15 years). The aid itself increased between 1975 and 1978 from 3.9% to 5% of the total public aid to the Third World. It takes pride of place in public investment budgets and even current budgets, as it accounts for a not inconsiderable proportion of GDP (on average about 20%). Aid is, therefore, vital for the daily survival of states in the region. Doubtless comparison of the amounts of aid with those of local public expenditure and gross domestic product must be made with caution. This is because payments for foreign inputs, that constitute a large proportion of the counterpart of this aid, are hardly comparable with those of local inputs, as a counterpart of the GDP and local public expenditure: hence for example a foreign technical assistant may cost many times more than the equivalent local official.

About one-third of this so-called 'non project' aid is a direct consumer subsidy to state and private budgets. Such aid in fact comprises: (a) pure and simple budgetary support granted by France and the Arab countries, (b) balance of payments support supplied by the Arab countries and additionally by the EEC Stabex fund, in the shape of free delivery of goods - or as a counterpart cancellation of foreign debt; (c) emergency relief and food aid; (d) technical assistance support for research and training. The remaining two-thirds of aid are assigned to development programmes: (1) 40% to rural development; (2) 38% to infrastructure; (3) 18% to human resources (education, health, and so on). As industry (including tourism) receives only 4% of the aid, it might seem exaggerated to draw the conclusion, as the World Bank has, of 'distortion in favour of industry to the detriment of agriculture'!

The Sahel Club's strategy is aimed at achieving food self-sufficiency by the year 2000, which means doubling the output and tripling that of meat. This strategy is furthermore intended to achieve this while maintaining a high rate of rural employment, namely by modernizing so-called traditional agriculture and not by concentrating efforts on a highly capital intensive modern sector.

With this outlook, the CILSS strategy is essentially one of extending the areas of dry farming at the rate of 100,000 hectares a year. What is the difference between this and the lines of development pursued in the region for some 50 years, with results that are apparent? The obstacles are well known: (I) can areas of cultivation be increased to this scale without worsening the decline in landed capital? (2) can yields be improved with the means envisaged? Excessive use of fertilizers in areas of low rainfall are, as we know, counterproductive. Have we not seen in Chad a supposed improvement of cotton yields by means of soil exhaustion? Do we not see that the models proposed to the peasants have, in the absence of research and of experience bringing the producers in touch with the results of research, no proven scientific merit? In the developed world agricultural research has produced results because it was closely integrated in rural life, financed and controlled, in part at least, by producers' associations, co-operatives and the like. The haughty and paternalistic attitude of agricultural research in Africa has been one of the main causes of the unsatisfactory results. Furthermore, it is known that the models proposed are not viable: over-costly fertilizers, pesticides and implements, excessively low prices for crops. It is not enough to say there must be a subsidy for the inputs and/or an increase for crop prices. Who will pay for these subsidies? Obviously to be able to do this, as should be done, the country must have alternative resources, a surplus arising from an alternative activity other than that of the rural community.

There is no doubt of the potential for irrigated land in the region, estimated at one million hectares. The aim of 500 000 hectares by the year 2000 with an assured supply of water is required for the region's self-sufficiency in food, on the further condition that a yield of eight tonnes to the hectare of paddy can be attained. In current circumstances the only improvement foreseen entails the construction of expensive dams whose financing is far from being guaranteed. In addition, even if these methods can be effected, there must be population transfer that the land use entails, appropriate social and economic formulae, heavy equipment, maintenance for the irrigation schemes and supply, at modest cost, of the inputs required for double cropping and high yields. None of this is impossible but it does require financial resources that like those for dry farming, can come only from a surplus generated in some other sector of activity.

In the matter of stock-raising the CILSS strategic option is based on an extensive style not integrated with agriculture, but governed by 'pastoral codes', which makes it difficult to see resolving the actual conflicts of interest.

In the matter of forestry, the high cost of reforestation should be noted: $2,000 a hectare. Under these circumstances pursuit of extensive expansion of dry farming can have only one result: further degradation of the patrimony. Peasants can abandon existing resources only when they are offered effective and cheap alternatives. Such as? Alternative sources of energy are possible: hydro-electricity and other renewable sources (solar energy, biogas, wind-power), mining for oil, gas and coal. Modalities appropriate to the needs would doubtless entail not only hydro-electric power on a large scale from the major dams but also decentralized small-scale hydro-electric output. Likewise, as well as mining the huge reserves of oil and coal, it also entails, if possible, mining of small reserves too. All of which requires resources that must come from outside the rural sector.

Instead of highlighting the coherence (or lack of it) in the overall strategy, the Sahel Club insists on 'project evaluation'. The method proposed is technical in the extreme. It is based on research: (1) into environmental indicators, where great reliance is placed on remote sensing; (2) into economic indicators, which are no more than conventional economic aggregates on growth rate; and (3) into indicators as to 'quality of life', which add precious little to the traditional 'social indicators' (school admission rates, health, access to clean water, housing and so).

Observation of the overall environment, including modern methods of long distance measurement, and the assessment of overall economic and social factors, are of some use. But they are no substitute for a study of the relations of production, the only clue to the dynamic of the system, or in other words the 'success' or 'failure' of a policy, since they reveal the deep reasons for the system of prices and payments for the factors, and hence the significance of the comparative 'profitability' of the various economic options. That is why a project of micro-economic analysis that takes as given the basis of profitability cannot evaluate the 'successes' or 'failures', but merely take note of them without explaining them.

Food self-sufficiency is a desirable objective of development strategy, in the Sahel as elsewhere in the Third World. But that does not lead to the conclusion that development should be confined exclusively to the rural domain. No rural advance is possible without industry to support it, as industry must supply the necessary inputs to raise agricultural output. These inputs cannot be met with imports from the North, because the relative prices of these inputs in comparison with the agricultural output that must be exported to pay for them is such that modernization and intensification of the Sahel's agriculture are not 'profitable'. These prices reflect the unequal relations of the international division of labour and the unequal rewards for labour this entails. The nagging issue - insoluble without an acceptance of perpetual and increasing 'current expenditure' aid which is the CILSS chorus - is a clear demonstration of this inescapable truth.

Inputs needed for agriculture modernization must, therefore, be locally produced, and be produced not only under technically adequate conditions but also under a system of economic book-keeping (prices and payments for factors) that restores the 'profitability' of intensification and modernization, whereby the latter ensures a simultaneous improvement in peasants' real income and reward for their labour. This implies a 'delinking' of this reference system from that governing the economic and social options, whether on the scale of the world system or of the sub-systems integrated in the international division of labour. This alternative system of economic book-keeping, based on an adjustment of rewards in the modern sectors (industry particularly) to those of agriculture, makes it possible to release from such industry an increasing surplus to be deployed to the concomitant financing of agricultural modernization and industrial development in support of it. This global economic system is poles apart from the system that treats agriculture as the source of financing other sectors, by exaction of a surplus from the peasants to be deployed for industry, or for administration expenses.

If parallel development of agriculture and industry is an absolute necessity, it is also clear that 'any old industrialization' will not meet the demands of the situation. Import substitution industrialization and even more so export industrialization within the international division of labour are not therefore appropriate to secure a surplus to be deployed for the modernization of agriculture. Quite the reverse, these industrial modalities presuppose unequal relations with the rural community, to their own advantage.

Once the principal of industry as a support to agricultural modernization has been grasped, the industry may vary according to particular local circumstances: one form is widely dispersed 'rural industry'. 'Ruralization' of industries linked to agricultural production and rural life (supply of fertilizers, farm equipment, hydro-electric power, cement) offers many advantages: management close to the consumers, maintenance of a strong rural population discouraged from joining the rural exodus, for example. The Sahel Club's report, with its proposed aim of maintaining high population densities in the rural areas, is theoretically following this option. But it draws no conclusions and remains superficial, since rural industry is not really possible unless it is based on a substantial modern industry (supplying equipment and certain manufacturing raw materials) and linked to the aim of improving agricultural output. The Sahel Club's choice is for maintaining a high rural population density essentially by expanding extensive production. In conclusion, it would appear that the strategy envisaged by the Sahel Club is based on a contradictory juxtaposition of lip service to intensification and proposals that indicate extensification. This contradiction is typical of the populism that envisages rural development without industrialization.

Industrialization and the agricultural revolution

If the African continent as a whole has not yet embarked upon the agricultural revolution, neither has it yet entered the industrial age. Agricultural stagnation is not the consequence of forced industrialization, as the World Bank argues against all the evidence, but the corollary of a no less marked industrial stagnation.12

Only six African countries (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) have an infrastructure that can be described as industrialized. In the continent as a whole industry employs fewer than 10% of the active population, and thus remains below the threshold from which it is possible to speak of a secondary production sector. Except for the six countries indicated there are insufficient manufacturing units to constitute an industrial network: the matrix of inter-industrial exchange is still almost blank.

Furthermore, industrial output is still essentially from the extractive sector. In this respect Africa has a virtual monopoly (more than 70% of world production) of gold, diamonds and cobalt, and is a major supplier of copper, bauxite, phosphates, uranium, ferrous metals and oil. Even when the world market share is limited, it is possible to speak of 'mining economies' in terms of production value in relation to population of the countries concerned and its contribution to the state's revenue. In global strategies Africa is above all 'e storehouse of natural resources' rather than either the locus or the outlet for capital deployment. Over the past 25 years, exploitation of these natural resources has been growing rapidly: oil production has shown a twenty-fold increase, that of ferrous metals five-fold, and that of bauxite by two and a half times.

Basic industries (steel, chemicals, engineering) are non-existent in most African countries and where they do exist reduced to small-scale unintegrated operations. The obstacles are well known and there is no sign of their being overcome in the foreseeable future: shortcomings in financial resources and home markets, extreme technological dependence even for processes that are quite routine elsewhere. Regional co-operation on markets or financing (that might have been expected from some oil-producing and minerals-exporting countries with financial surpluses) has to date been abortive.

The few industrial units that do exist are virtually all concentrated in the light industrial sector (mainly textiles and food processing) either to give added value to agricultural exports, or more usually for import substitution, which finds its main market among the middle or higher income groups, who rarely form more than 10% of the population. In these circumstances the 'industrial redeployment' that was keenly discussed in the 1970s has not touched the continent, and the establishment of export manufacturing industries (on the model of some newly industrializing countries of Asia and Latin America) has not begun. Among the many obstacles it should be noted that if unskilled manpower is abundant and cheap, the proletarian milieu is still embryonic, and recruitment, even at subordinate level, costly and inefficient.

Industry as a whole is almost entirely under the direct control of foreign capital. This is the case almost without exception in the continent's French-speaking countries and, despite the apparently more significant association of local interests, almost the same in the English-speaking countries. Some North African countries, and South Africa obviously, are exceptions to the rule.

Elsewhere foreign monopoly generally prolongs that of the interests of the old French and British colonial trade, while there is limited penetration by North American and Japanese multinationals.

The industrial units generally enjoy a monopoly status in the countries where they operate, and a single plant is usually sufficient to meet all the demand. Under this monopoly protection with state backing (for example, tax concessions) these units are not much concerned with international competitiveness and, whether privately or publicly owned, do not usually display an efficient modern capitalist management. If the door is opened to competing imports they almost always go bankrupt and are closed down.

Despite this starting point, that is far and away the lowest on the world scale, the rates of industrial growth - even at record level in this or that instance have remained astonishingly low and never higher than 4% a year over the decade, or of the order of half the growth rate of the potentially active urban population. Industrialization has never triggered overall growth, but always fed on that of other sectors and been encouraged by them.

It is impossible to review all the experiences of development in Africa in their varied forms. No more is it our intention to reduce them all to a single undifferentiated model. While observing the contrasts and differences and giving them more heed than their common denominator, it is possible to recall that over this vast continent, imbued with varying social options and countless political somersaults, there have been at least four kinds of experience:

(a) Cases of 'stagnation' (in terms of growth) associated with poverty of natural resources, not necessarily absolute but in terms of the demands of the world system.

(b) Cases of 'stagnation' despite the existence of such resources whether untapped (but known), or tapped (sometimes on a large scale).

(c) Cases of relatively marked (or even strong) 'growth' associated with the tapping of these resources, whether by multinationals, or the national state.

(d) Cases of 'marked growth' despise the fact that the tapped resources (often agricultural rather than mineral) are 'medium-scare', thanks in general to a broad opening-up to the outside world, and where this marked growth is associated with a more or less unequal distribution of its benefits.

These experiences may also be classified on a political scale:

(i) assertion of the aim of national independence, sometimes (or often) with a 'socialist' objective; effective related measures, at the level of state intervention at least (nationalizations, occasional land reform, co-operative systems, formal control over external relations, and so on); linked (and not by chance) with general statements (on the world situation, for example) and obvious international alliances: or (ii) assertion of an apparently neutral aim of 'development first' with an appeal to (mainly Western) capital: refusal to 'condemn' the principles of capitalism, private initiative and the world strategy of the multinationals and the Western states, and so forth.

Within this formal classification, it is easy to draw further distinctions by following the conventional analysis of 'economic performance':

1) Activities triggering effective growth when this has occurred: (a) oil and mining in the first place; (b) export agriculture (fairly rich: coffee, cocoa; or poor: groundnuts): (c) light consumer industries reasonably managed, established by the multinationals or the state, using modern techniques, responsive to the home market (import substitution); (d) an active construction sector linked to accelerated urbanization end 'prosperity'; (e) administrative expenditure conceived in classic terms mimicking the West in form with varying degrees of supposedly 'social' purposes (principally education) and always rapidly increasing; (f) tertiary activities (trade, finance) nearly always showing more active growth than the other sectors. When overall growth has been weak, nil, or negative, the explanation is usually insufficient dynamism in (a) and (b) and/or the dubious character of (e). If, moreover, there has been strong pressure for (d) and (e) then the inescapable dual crisis of public expenditure and balance of payments aggravates the situation. The want of dynamism in (a). (b) and (c) is blamed primarily on the country's objective poverty, and secondarily on its rare and suspicious 'rationalism' in rejecting foreign capital. This is or can be aggravated by the lack of concern of the 'elite', its 'corruption', 'demagogy' and so on.

2) Agriculture always backward, undeveloped and nearly always stagnant or virtually stagnant (except perhaps in the export crops sector) and therefore incapable of releasing a surplus of marketed foodstuffs to meet the relevant urban demand. In the saddest cases, the rural community has increasing difficulty in feeding itself and famine takes hold. In the more favourable cases, the statistics record a positive performance in per capita food production (but rarely more than 2% to 3% a year over a long span of the country's overall production), an increasing marketable surplus but usually insufficient to meet the relevant urban demand, which in truth easily grows at a rate of 4% to 5% a year. It is easy to blame these disasters or shortcomings on the climate (drought) or on the administrative bureaucracy unconcerned with the rural community. It is rare for a study to be made of the policies of exaction from the rural community (the terms of trade between town and countryside...).

3) An industrial capacity that never triggers growth but is largely the result of adjustment to it, whose spin-off is slight: (a) upstream by the scarcity of basic industry and the low level of inter-industrial integration; (b) downstream, by the limited amount of income it distributes. Three details must be added: (i) if the industry takes the form of a defined number of production units with a virtual monopoly over a small market and these units supply consumer goods, such industry (even if efficiently managed, namely without requiring subsidy for prices competitive with those of imports) is adrift and not a driving force; (ii) if the state interferes too much in the desire to control this kind of industry, it does so badly (in the African experience) and must then subsidize the industry; (iii) some countries try to go further. They proclaim their desire to make industry the main driving force of the economy. Priority is given to the machine tools industry in national, integrated 'industrializing industries' in order to 'catch up with' the developed world. The question then is whether this last significant detail gives the African experiences concerned a qualitative difference from the others. This fundamental issue is, in our opinion, rarely tackled.

As well as the apparent short-term economic performances, taking in the political factor, two kinds of experience in Africa can be identified. One: those that have not challenged the fundamental external driving force and have been satisfied with exploiting their international 'comparative advantage' in agriculture and mining and, hinged to these sectors, the growth of their import substitution light industries, services and administration. They are the 'national' and 'nationalist' versions - where the state is expected to control the more or less significant sectors of growth through its public ownership; and the 'social' or 'socialist' versions. But since the fruits of growth are appropriated by between 1% and 15% of the population, these modalities do not contradict the extroverted characer of development. This development, described as 'neocolonial', warrants the name in so far as it continues colonial exploitation and is satisfied to associate with it a local elite. There is no doubt that this kind of development has been possible in some instances. But it has been objectively impossible in some neighbouring countries, where the latter were for example the suppliers of cheap manpower to the former (for example, Burkina Faso in relation to Cd'Ivoire), or deprived of some driving export role less by nature than by the pattern of world demand.

Two: those that have sought to challenge the external driving force. As the fruit of a political and social history of the national liberation movement and the association of the mass of the people with this movement, these experiences have tried to be national. But if we look further than the intentions, it seems that these experiences (a score or so during the two decades of independence) have been unable to begin implementing an integrated national economic system with any fair degree of autonomy. The only experience that went very far in this direction (Nasser's Egypt) was overthrown by a conjuncture of its shortcomings and the West's hostility. Did the second serious experience (Algeria's), despite favourable financial factors, not come up against the same internal and external obstacles? Are not the intentions of some others (Nigeria above all) a form of words so far? To take, for example steel - one of the bases for autonomous development - it must be observed that there is no steel mill in Africa outside Eygpt and Algeria, whose autonomy not only in formal ownership but also in outlets has been established. Elsewhere steel, most frequently a continuation of colonial trade in building materials, is bound to largely luxury building needs and not to machine tools. Tunisia's attempt to copy Egypt and Algeria has been limited by the country's small market, its political options and illusions (tourism!). Nigeria's attempts warrant a closer look, for de-industrialization of the country by the penetration of multinationals (which destroy the country's small and medium size enterprises and steer national capital into trade and speculation) comes into objective conflict with the national options in official statements.

The second kind of experience and the only one of interest from the point of view of the autocentric alternative may well be described as 'national' (in reality or intention) but scarcely as 'popular'. The national industrialization envisaged would not in the first instance improve the standards of living of the poorest sections (and hence be geared to their genuine rather than money demand), but relate to the growing demand of the middle classes. The 'backwardness' of agriculture is no accident, since the demand for basic foodstuffs is of more concern to the mass of the poor than to those middle classes. So speculative agriculture (in fruit, vegetables, meat for the better-off) is given preference over the basic crops (cereals): Egypt is a fine example with the encouragement of Arab and international capital in this direction.

The consumption pattern of the middle classes, the Western model, absorbs all the so-called 'scarce' resources: (local and foreign) capital and skilled manpower. Our assessment of the use of the latter in the Arab world has brought us to the conclusion that three-quarters of this scarce resource (the stock of workers with secondary, technical or higher education, in this instance) was directly or indirectly engaged on output intended for the super-consumption of the better-off. Obviously the system of production corresponding to this option entails total technological dependence. The apparently common sense - theory that the cake must be made bigger before it can be shared out is a nonsense. Nobody builds motorways (for the needs of motor vehicle owners) to later apportion them by the yard to the beggars. The share-out determines the character of the cake rather than its size.

If the experiences in question remain extraverted - manifestly in the first instances, and after a closer consideration of their content in the second - it is because they are not 'popular' in the sense shown here ('development for whom?').

The final characteristic, common to both sets of examples, is respect for the sacrosanct principle of 'profitability'. If this criteria is regarded as decisive (even with occasional relaxations) if it is based (as indeed it is) on the system of world prices (reflecting the international division of labour, the sharing out of the market among the monopolies, and so on), the criteria can lead only to the option of the extraverted strategy. Neither political discourse nor diplomatic alliances can affect the meaning of this option.

The history of the past three decades for Africa can be described as the history of the failure of the so-called 'modernization' strategies (cf. Chapter 2).

When the majority of the African countries attained independence, the prevailing view, even in Africa, attributed the continent's underdevelopment to a historical backwardness that must 'catch up' by the simple expedient of going flat out in a previously determined and defined direction. What the national liberation movement blamed the settlers for was for being unequal to the task. The African 'right' and 'left' were convinced that independence was the guarantee and sufficient condition for the acceleration of the rate of 'modernization'. The liberal thesis argued that the maintenance of a wide open door to integration in the international division of labour and appeal to the 'scarce resource' - foreign capital - was not incompatible with the acceleration of growth, but the reverse. The state's role was precisely that of creating the most favourable conditions to create new outlets for capital, by speeding up education and training neglected by the settlers, and by modernizing infrastructure and administration. The socialist thesis of the time, spurning foreign capital, argued that it was the state's duty to bridge the gap of the shortage of capital for the precise purpose of accelerating the process of modernization. In other words, the socialist thesis rejected neither the prospect of modernization, nor that of integration in the international division of labour.

The same fundamental views on the 'neutrality of technology' is common to these two theses, that argue that the direction of modernization was knowable and known: it is enough to look at the advanced 'western' societies, in the West and in the East, to recognize the similarity of many of the aims - of consumption, and of methods -organization of production, administration and education. Doubtless the 'socialists' were far more sensitive to the issue of national independence and therefore on their guard as to the appeal to foreign capital. Doubtless, too, they were more sensitive to the issues of income distribution and priority to public sector services. But the 'liberals' retorted that capitalism would also solve these problems and in addition engender a gradual democratization of social and political life.

Both theses in the final analysis arose from the same Western-centred and technically economistic view, as the common denominator of a vulgarized Marxism and the finer points of conventional social science. Protests, some IS years ago, were uncommon and poorly received - peasant utopias, culturalist nationalisms - and it is true that for want of sufficiently broad backing the protesters sank into these eccentricities. But why should Africa be singled out for such fantasies?

The actual history of these two decades has had the effect that both theses are nowadays the subject of systematic questioning to which we shall return (cf. (Chapters 5 and 6).

An example of a superficial and truncated analysis of African reality: the World Bank report 'accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa'.

The 'experts' love to brag of their 'political neutrality'. They pride themselves on the hidden defect of many economists desirous of being technocrats, capable of mentally shaping a 'good development policy', 'scientific', 'devoid of any ideological prejudice'. But this kind of exercise has the supreme virtue of avoiding the real options facing currently existing societies. The truncated and superficial image of reality characteristic of the genre under discussion must of necessity lead to false conclusions.

The World Bank report entitled 'accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa' is a fine example of this substitution of Technical prescriptions' for analysis of the causes and roots of the failure of African development.13

After the initial acknowledgement of the fact of the severe economic backwardness of Africa in recent decades, the World Bank might have been expected to offer an in-depth critique of the local social and economic systems and world system of division of labour responsible for the failure. Some kind of self-criticism too might have been expected of the World Bank, which for 20 years has supported most of the fundamental guidelines of the development under challenge. Not in the least; the World Bank blames the failure entirely on the African governments that had spurned agriculture and given industry too high a priority! As if a rate of growth of 3.3% on a virtually nil base in 1960, and equaling only half the urban growth rate and only just above the demographic growth rate, indicated some madcap industrialization {especially as Africa's share in world industry declined). Oddly enough and against all expectation, the World Bank attributed this 'bias against agriculture' to a prejudice on the part of foreign aid and the 'development theory'. We are on the contrary conscious of the colonial prejudice of the 'exclusively agricultural and mining role' of the African continent.

The strategy proposed by the Bank is perfectly summarized in page 4 of the report:

The internal 'structural' problems and the external factors impeding African economic growth have been exacerbated by domestic policy inadequacies... trade and exchange-rate policies have overprotected industry, held back agriculture... public sectors frequently become overextended...

After which the Bank suggests a strategy of readjustment to the demands of the world system based on priority for agricultural and mining exports, by the principal method of devaluation and the restoration of a greater liberalism, combined with greater openness to private enterprise. The carrot of doubling foreign aid in real terms in the 1980s is held out to make these principles acceptable. As is known nowadays, the 'readjustments is imposed but foreign aid declines!

If the words have any meaning this is an extraverted strategy of adjustment to the demands of transnationalization, a strategy of renouncing the construction of a diversified national and regional economy capable through its dynamism of becoming a genuine partner in the interdependent world system.

The analysis of the internal and external constraints is especially disturbing. The chapter on basic constraints notes: underdeveloped human resources, low productivity of agriculture and rapid urbanization.

The rationale for underdevelopment of human resources is trivialized to inadequate education. Infantile illusions are taken up in the chapter on human resources, treated as an area of substantial returns, without the authors of the report realizing that they are measuring these returns by the tautological indicator based on a comparison of rewards between graduates and illiterate! Education (in its present form) is not necessarily the best investment, but is definitely a means of differentiating classes and incomes... With no consideration of the society's problems, with no changes to suggest, the report is satisfied with proposing some minor tinkering to reduce (very slightly) the costs of education in its present form.

The low productivity of agriculture in Africa is a platitude. What the Bank report neglects to point out is that this low productivity accompanying the extensive pattern of this agriculture has been and is profitable from the point of view of the world system's division of labour. In effect it allows the West to acquire raw materials without having to invest. Transition to intensive agriculture, a necessity of today, entails a rise in the world prices of these raw materials if they are to be exported: land, along with oil or water, is no longer 'limitless' but becoming a scarce resource.

The growth of urbanization is likewise a platitude. What the Bank does not point out is that the rural exodus is the result of the impoverishment of the countryside and that it cannot be held back unless there is a transition to intensive agriculture requiring, in turn, industrial backing and fair prices (not only the internal prices but the world prices too if the output of this agriculture is to be exported). What the Bank further fails to point out is that an inadequate industrial growth (of 3.3% a year) can obviously not absorb the urban growth. The Bank's talk of deterioration in the services essential to urban life and the proposals for tinkering to reduce costs here are in these circumstances nothing but empty talk of pie in the sky.

The external factors are also treated superficially without analysis as to their causes. Noting the worsening in the balance of payments of the oil-importing countries in the region is no analysis of the problem but only a proclamation. The Bank's analysis stops short at the observation that the growth in quantity of exports has been insufficient and low: from 7.2% annual growth in the 1960s to 2% for the following decade in respect of mining output (excluding oil) and from 4.6 to 0.7% in respect of agricultural output. It offers no information as to the causes of these low figures: the world crisis in demand, the encouragement of over-production in the Third World (the Bank itself advises each country to diversify by producing what it advises for the neighbour), the aims and strategies of the multinationals in the mining sector ('shelving' of reserves) the crisis in expansion of extensive agriculture.

The critical analysis of the policies under way and consequently of the priorities proposed are governed by this disturbing vision of the global operation of the system and the 'fundamentalist' prejudices of the World Bank's Reaganite liberalism. The Bank has found only three ills afflicting Africa: (i) overvalued exchange rates; (ii) excessive taxation of farmers; and (iii) excessive growth in administrative expenditure.

It is obvious that if foreign exchange prices are maintained, devaluation allows the exporter to acquire more in local currency. But it does not permit the inference that devaluation must allow a balance without controls on the balance of payments, nor that foreign exchange prices will remain steady. Third World experience has shown repeatedly that local prices as a whole tend to adjust to those of imports, and by the same token the effects of devaluation on the structure of comparative prices and on the balance of payments are cancelled out. The absence of an autocentric economic structure with its own autonomy explains this widespread contagion reflecting the dependence of local prices on the world system of prices. How we put it is that the worldwide law of value governs the range of 'paranational' prices systems. If the per capita added value in agriculture of Third World countries is one third of the per capita added value in industry and services and if this is the case throughout the Third World, as opposed to what it is in the countries of the capitalist centre, it is for this fundamental reason. The real values of the rewards for labour determine prices and not the converse. A devaluation intended to raise real rewards (for all coffee producers for example) would not fail in its purpose: the dollar price of coffee would go down to adjust to the maintenance of the existing real (and minimal) rewards to the producers. This is the lesson of history that the World Bank grandly overlooks.

This fundamental reality obviously will not preclude the currencies of a group of countries being over-valued (or under-valued) in the world system. But there must be precision as to the character of the balances modified by juggling with exchange rates and a specific explanation of this character in case studies. It is doubtful if a general devaluation in Africa would improve the lot of the peasants and open the way for an upsurge in agricultural exports. Mali, Zaire and many others devalued without the slightest benefit accruing to the peasants.

It is correct that the hidden 'taxation' to which peasants in Africa are subjected (through the difference between the export price - after deduction of the real costs of internal marketing - and the price paid to the producer) is substantial: 40-50% according to the Bank's report. But where would the state find its resources if this margin were eliminated and if the country accorded priority in development to these export products, as the Bank suggests? Why not reduce the taxes on consumption (on coffee for example) in the developed countries for the benefit of the African peasant? It is clear that this taxation is a manifestation of the 'an/i-peasant' bias of the states. But the bias is a result of the character of the relations between these states and the world system: the anti-peasant bias is not only characteristic of the local state, but also of the global system of exploitation of which that state is part.

On the subject of public expenditure, as on others, the World Bank, by neglecting to go deep into an analysis of the system is bound to throw around advice of little value, to suggest 'tinkering' methods to bring a (trifling) reduction in this expenditure. Without fail, the savings will be made on the backs of the impoverished masses, in contradiction with the talk of 'basic needs'. Furthermore does not the IMF, the Bank's close associate, always insist that devaluation should be accompanied by austerity and reductions in the standards of living of the poorest strata? 'True pricing' (wish that of the world system taken as the ultimate standard) and the withdrawal of subsidies on the most essential items are always contrary to the interests of the population.

Industry, lightly discussed in chapter 7 of the report is, according to the Bank, 'over-protected'. Would not a relaxation of this 'over-protection' of an industry that remains the weakest in the world further weaken its already derisory growth rate? Wages in Africa are said to be 'high', and the lower rates of Bangladesh offered as a model. Is the World Bank seeing a Bangladeshization of the Third World? How is such language to be harmonized with the talk of satisfying 'basic deeds'? Industrialization strategy is not discussed: import substitution is regarded as the desirable option par excellence (what is forgotten is that the strategy reproduces and intensifies inequalities of income distribution), but 'badly implemented' in Africa since it requires too much state protection - without which, notwithstanding the Bank's pious remarks about 'entrepreneur-ship', the rate of industrialization would have been even lower. The Bank also recommends increasing local processing of mineral exports, although this is known to have swallowed up substantial capital without relating the exploitation of these resources to national development. It also recommends light industrial manufacture for export: have they forgotten the frustrations of the Moroccan and Tunisian textiles industries, which after a similar 'recommendation' found doors in the West slammed against them? As for the industrialization required for agricultural development, this is apparently a strategy unknown to the Bank. In regard to exploitation of mining resources, the Bank sees no other option than that of entrusting it to the interests and strategies of the multinationals. The notion that these resources could form the basis of national and regional development never surfaces.

The 'longer-term issues' are reduced to demography and its effects. It is a commonplace that the towns, where there is a fourfold population increase every quarter century, tend - by virtue of inadequate industrialization - to turn into slum shanty-towns. It is a commonplace that in 20 years the urban population will have increased by 50%. All the more reason, with a reminder of the need to conserve soils (how? the Bank does not tell us), for hastening intensive agricultural development and the consequent demand for industrial backing and delinking.

External assistance, a topic on which the Bank concludes its report with a further flurry of pious hopes, is incapable of being the palliative to the shortcomings of the proposed plan. According to the Bank's own calculations on the most encouraging hypothesis of 'substantial aid increase', this could in the 1980s provide the continent with no better than a 2.1% per capita annual growth rate. Such aid would take the debt service burden from 10% of export earnings in 1980 to 20% in 1990. None of these assessments have stood the test of time. The 'aid' in question has not come; and the debt burden has soared far beyond the calculations of our Washington technocrats.

The World Bank's language does not conform to the basic criteria of scientific analysis. It is a language of ideology in the worst sense of the term.


1. Statistical data are taken from reports of the World Bank in Washington and the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. See also: Amin, Samir, Neocolonialism in West Africa. London. Penguin. 1973; A min. Samir and Coquery-Vidrovitch, Histoire nomique du Congo 1880-1968, Paris, Anthropos. 1969; Amin, Samir, Impalisme et sous-dloppement en Afrique, (new edition) Paris Economica, 1988; Amin, Samir, L'ange inl et la loi de la valeur, (new edition) Paris. Economical 1988.

2. Gakou. Mohamed Lamine. The Crisis in African Agriculture, London. Zed. 1988: AAmara, Hamid and Founou-Tchuigoua, (eds), Etudes sur la crise des politiques de modernisation en Afrique, in preparation, and Samir Amin's forewords to these books. Cf. Amin, Samir. 'Les limites de la rlution verse', CERES, Vol.3, No.4, July 1970, and 'Le paradoxe africain le deficit alimentaire de l'Afrique'. CERES, No. 25, 1973.

3. Boserup, Ester, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth, London, Allen & Unwin, 1965.

4. Dumont. RenFalse Start in Africa. London. Deutsch. 1966.

5. BRGM, Les eaux souterraines de l'Afrique Sahenne. Paris. 1975,

6. Founou-Tchuigoua, Bernard, Les fondements de l'economies de traite au Sgal, Genoble. Silex, 1981, and preface by Samir Amin. Cf. Amin, Samir. 'Underdevelopment and dependence in Black Africa', The Journal of Modern Africa Studies. Vol. 10. No.4, 172, pp.503-24: 'The Class Struggle in Africa', Revolution. No. 9, 1964, pp. 23 47; introduction to Amin, Samir, (ed) Modern Migrations in Western Africa, Oxford. Oxford University Press for the International African Institute, 1974.

7. Amin, Samir, 'Le dloppement du capitalisme en Afrique noire', L'Homme et la Soci, No. 12, 1969.

8. See thesis in preparation by Jean Pierre Leclerc and contributions on China to the MSH-State University of New York Colloquium. Paris, June 1988.

9. Data from reports of the Economic Commission for Africa, Economic Commission for Western Asia, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and the integrated economic reports (in Arabic) of the Arab League. Cf. Amin, Samir and Yar, Faysal. La Mrerrandans le syst mondial, Paris, La Duverte, 1988. (English edition, The Mediterranean Between Autonomy and Dependency. London, Zed Books, 1989); Riad. Hassan [Amin. Samir], L'Egypte nasserienne. Paris, Minuit, 1964); Amin, Samir, The Arab Nation, London, Zed Press, 1978; The Arab Economy Today. London. Zed Books, 1982 Samir Amin's preface to Sertel, Yildiz, Nord-Sud: crise et immigration; le cas turc, Paris, Publisud, 1987; Keyder Caglar, State and Class in Turkey. London. Verso. 1987.

10. Amin, Samir, The Maghreb in the Modern World (Trans, by Michael Perl), London, Penguin, 1970, p. 104.

11. Amin, Samir, 'Pour une strate alternative du dloppement, ropos du CILSS'. African Development, No. 3, 1981, and Samir Amin's introduction to AAmara, Hamid and Founou-Tchuigoua, Bernard (eds) Etudes sur la crise des politiques de modernisation en Afrique.

12. Amin, Samir, Faire, Alexandre, and Malkin, Daniel, L'avenir industrial de l'Afrique, Paris. Harmattan. 1981; various authors for UNU, Crise des politiques d'industrialisation en Afrique. (in preparation): Amin. Samir. 'L'nomie politique de l'Afrique dans la crise contemporaine' in Bourges, H, and Wauthier. C.. Les 50 Afriques, Paris, Seuil, 1979; Yachir, Faysal, Mining in Africa Today: Strategies and Prospects, London, Zed Books, 1988; The World Steel Industry Today, London, Zed Books. 1988.

13. Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action, Washington D.C., World Bank, 1981. Cf. Amin, Samir, 'Critique du rapport de la Banque Mondiale pour l'Afrique', Africa Development, No. 1-2, 1982; 'Un dloppement autocentrst-il possible en Afrique?' in Ahooja-Patel, Krishna, Drabek, Anne Gordon, and Nerfin, Marc, World Economy in Transition: essays presented to Surendra Patel on his 60th birthday. Oxford, Pergamon. 1986.

After this book was written, the World Bank produced a new report on adjustment in Africa. This report is a little less arrogant than the Berg report commented upon here; it pays lip service to the issue of the 'social negative aspects' of adjustment. Yet it proceeds from the same methodology and basically unscientific assumptions, which disregard the polarizing dimension of actually existing capitalism, ignoring therefore that these 'social negative aspects' are, precisely, pan and parcel of the political rationale of the targets of the adjustment.