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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Christian Campbell

- we start out with the industrial revolution not solely because it’s the first development but also because it ends up being the inspiration for several economic theories -> ex. modernisation theory’s vision of a standard trajectory of development wherein ‘all good things go together’and eventually lead, ideally, into participant societies featuring the triple threat of union organisation, political organisation, and demands for universal suffrage (after first having experienced a round of factory employment, production of surplus, and economic specialisation, and then a second round of urbanisation, literacy, and media participation) -> remember: political scientists’concern, their paradigm, had been the question of other countries’democracy, what will make other countries more democratic? -> in general, there are few enough countries that follow the model of britain’s industrial revolution that it doesn’t seem likely that the model is actually generalizable - what explains persistent wide disparities in wealth? - today we are not concerned with the effects of colonialism on the colonial powers but on the countries colonised - among the roughly 195-7 countries in the world, around sixty-something were colonies -> to really see the extent of colonialism, you have to look at maps produced at different times -> the americas were colonised far earlier, but basically the entire global south had been colonised - there is a very strong correlation between past colonial experience and contemporary poverty -> most of the countries that were poor today were also colonies -> having found this correlation, social scientists have sought out possible causal explanations for this phenomeon -> in kohli’s reading, we have a rich description of the many and varied ways in which colonialism distorted development in one particular colony (nigeria) - nigeria does not actually become ‘nigeria’until its colonisation in 1900 -> what they eventually call ‘the scramble for africa’ wherein european powers dive into the continent and start pulling it apart in order to establish territorial control, carving out countries out of disparate regions, arbitrarily drawing boundaries without concern for whatever preexisting boundaries made sense to the populations that lived there (excluding like groups, drawing together unlike groups) -> those boundaries have not changed since first being established 150 years ago -> are not based out of any organic sense of commonality, community, or nationhood - the people who blame present-day problems on past colonialism have a definite political agenda, this is an extremely ideological line of scholarship creating a particular sort of logic -> if the responsibility lies with the colonial powers, then the latter has some sort of moral obligation -> there’s a whole other line of policy-making that is going to focus on the opposite: in the history of africa, colonialism is a blip, colonialism spanned usually seventy years or less in these countries, look at the state of these countries beforehand, therefore there is no moral obligation to extend aid or debt forgiveness, etc. -> both lines of argument feed into a present-day politics, have serious policy-making implications, neither one is necessarily truth, more normative arguments/perspectives -> methodologically speaking, kohli’s article is unusual then because it tries to take a more balanced view, focusing on both the precolonial and the colonial -> starting with the period prior to colonisation, kohli’s argument is that not all colonisation is the same and that colonisation has different effects in different parts of the world depending on what the preconditions were -> colonisation, then, has a different impact in southern nigeria than in northern nigeria because of such preconditions (rather than because of multiple agendas on the part of the colonial powers) and this will have far-reaching consequences - basically kohli focuses our attention on three areas of precolonial nigeria we could argue had the biggest impacts on colonial/postcolonial nigeria -> i. the political system/ institutions, ii. the slave trade, and iii. technological capacity - i. the yoruba kingdoms are striking in that each one has very limited power so that authority is diffused between the king and the chiefs, quite egalitarian with the king depending on the continued support of the chiefs in order to remain king, the chiefs remaining dependent, also striking in that they were never centralised or essentialised into one kingdom -> two implications of this for colonialism, the first being that the kingdoms themselves have very little extractive capacity (do not extract a lot of resources, do not coerce labour from their own populations), not wealthy -> and because they’re neither united nor powerful as one single hierarchy, it is fairly easy for the colonial power to penetrate the south -> when the british expand from the coast, they expand into these populations and do not meet with a great deal of resistance from a strong, centralised indigenous system as there is none -> in the north, on the other hand, the sokoto caliphate is large, stable, and heavily centralised, controlling enormous tracts of land, was much wealthier with much greater extractive capacity, able to engender some economic development (because it’s more powerful it can coerce labour/resources from its population), far more resistant to colonialism -> these differences between the north and south will have a lasting effect on regionalisation in independent nigeria - ii. nigeria was particularly involved in the international slave trade from the sixteenth century onward, this part of the world losing the most productive segment of its domestic population (strong young men, young women) -> large parts of africa are still today underpopulated in ways that continue to affect productivity and economic development, contrary to popular belief, perhaps one of the reasons for poverty in africa, that there is simply not sufficient population for a market, or to make a market work - iii. kohli argues that the technological capacity in precolonial nigeria is rudimentary, that the main precolonial activity in nigeria is food production -> the primary tool being the hand hoe -> in the nineteenth century, there’s a turn to export of palm oil and groundnuts (no longer primarily food production) but this kind of agricultural development doesn’t depend on any sort of agricultural innovation - what is in fact the effect of the colonial state then, on present-day levels of economic development, having gone over the conditions of the precolonial state? -> i. indirect rule, ii. minimal state, iii. extractive economy, iv. regional fragmentation and conflict - i. indirect rule is the colonial practice of ruling through chiefs, through those indigenous leaders that they found already in place on the ground -> they used chiefs to increase production, to provide law and order, to extract resources and taxes from their own people, to guarantee loyalty of the people, so that now the chiefs were essentially acting as agents of colonial power -> as long as these criteria were being fulfilled, the british did not impose any kind of european legal system on their colonies, allowed for the use of so-called ‘traditional methods’though obviously this was not quite without colonial interference (this includes other colonial powers such as france, belgium, portugal) -> they don’t want to create government, citizens, have neither the resources nor the interest to send in the number of bureaucrats needed to run such a huge country in the way that britain itself was being run -> now, when chiefs refused to perform these roles (accustomed to behaving independently) they were removed and replaced with new chiefs, exiled, this was actually incredibly common so that many contemporary chiefs are the descendants of chiefs installed by the colonial powers, lacking real traditional legitimacy (even this traditional system was actually penetrated, then) -> one lasting impact of indirect rule has been the creation of tribalism and of despotic local rule, solidified and entrenched ethnic differences and made them conflictual, one of the reasons being that it changed the nature of chiefly power so that, while chiefs relied historically on legitimacy from below (the approval of their populations/people), they now received their power from the colonisers -> power no longer came from his subjects, came instead from above, and subjects no longer had power over the identity of their chiefs, the length of their time in office -> this is argued generally to have occurred throughout africa, though obviously in area-specific ways - ii. the reason that many colonial powers practised indirect rule is because they were trying to implement colonialism on/through the chiefs, not interested in actually governing the country, weren’t willing to spend money on training indigenous civil servants to
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