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Political Science
Political Science 3205F/G
Richard Vande Wetering

A HISTORY OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT  The present position has been arrived at through exploitation  Respective rates of development – to set the record straight, four operations are required 1. Reconstruction of the nature of development in Africa before the coming of Europeans 2. Reconstruction of the nature of development which took place in Europe before expansion abroad 3. Analysis of Africa’s contribution to Europe’s present developed state 4. Analysis of Europe’s contribution of Africa’s present underdeveloped state  As far as Africa is concerned during the period of early development, it is preferable to speak in terms of cultures rather than civilizations  Religion is an aspect of the superstructure of a society  The secularization of life speeded up the development of capitalism and later socialism  The predominant principle of social relations was that of the family and kinship associated with communalism  Contrasted with capitalism where money buys labour, and with feudalism where the serf provides labour in order to have access to a portion of land which belongs to the landlord  Communalism is one phase through which all human society passed  Marxists and non-marxists alike – with different motivations – have pointed out that the sequence of modes of production noted in Europe were not reproduced in Africa  Most African societies before 1500 were in a transitional stage between the practice of agriculture in family communities and the practice of the same activities within states and societies comparable to feudalism  Feudalism involved great inequality in distribution of land and social products  African communal societies had differences – however, those were not exploitative or antagonistic relations  The first pre-requisite for mastery of the environment is knowledge of that environment - Africans everywhere had arrived at a considerable understanding of the total ecology  The single most important technological change underlying African agricultural development was the introduction of iron tools  When the colonialists started upsetting the thin topsoil the result was disastrous  Development is very much determined by the social relations of production  Under communalism every African was assured of sufficient land to meet his own needs by virtue of being a member of a family or community  When African societies became linked up with other social systems outside the continent on the basis of trade, little attention was paid to agriculture  Increasing specialization and division of labour  Africa was a continent of innumerable trade routes  Various communities were producing surpluses of given commodities which could be exchanged for items which they lacked  As trade became more complicated some items began to be used as the standards for measuring other goods  Social stratification was the basis for the rise of classes and for social antagonisms  Secret societies arose in the area that is now Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and they permitted knowledge, power and wealth to pass into the hands of the elders nad ultimately to the elders of particular lineages  African society accepted the principle that some families or clans or lineages were destined to rule and others were not  Families with the largest herds became socially and politically dominant  The areas of Africa in which labour relations were breaking out of communal restrictions corresponded to areas in which sophisticated political stages were emerging  It can be conceded that on the whole the
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