Download PDF by J.Forbes Munro: Britain in Tropical Africa, 1880–1960: Economic

By J.Forbes Munro

ISBN-10: 0333323300

ISBN-13: 9780333323304

ISBN-10: 1349061727

ISBN-13: 9781349061723

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Additional info for Britain in Tropical Africa, 1880–1960: Economic Relationships and Impact

Sample text

Peasants, traders and governments were all engaged in attempts to find ways to overcome the stagnation or decline in incomes, profits and revenues, which frequently meant exploiting whatever opportunities existed for production and exchange within the domestic economy as well as the disarticulated world economy [4: 254-67; 5: 150-74; 98: 342-75]. But these were essentially short-term expedients, and the structures of the 'peasant economies' remained frozen in the patterns of the late 1920s. When the thaw came from the late 1940s onwards, the structures were modified without being substantially altered.

More significantly, perhaps, the model's assumptions about the availability of idle, underused resources merely ~aiting to be brought to bear are less than accurate. Land was certainly abundant, even ifit was no free good. Obtaining access to it, particularly for planting tree crops, could necessitate the development of new methods of land purchase [151: 38-160] or the manipulation of customary laws and practices. Labour, however, was not necessarily an idle resource. Two factors determined the extent to which labour could be regarded as 'underemployed' at the beginning of the colonial period.

By contrast with early modern Europe, where 56 according to Marx the powers of the state were used to separate people from the means of production, the state in 'settler-mining' colonies created a 'semi-proletariat', the existence of which was beneficial to employers in that they secured cheap labour. Wage-rates set at levels needed to support a single man threw the costs of maintaining the worker's wife and family on to the reserves: capital obtained labour at less than the cost of reproduction [81: 222-3; 15: 255-(j; 129: 275-93].

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Britain in Tropical Africa, 1880–1960: Economic Relationships and Impact by J.Forbes Munro


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