African - Rodney Chpt 4.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 3205F/G
Richard Vande Wetering

EUROPEAN SLAVE TRADE IN AFRICAN UNDERDEVELOPMENT  The truth is that any figure of Africans imported into the Americas which is narrowly based on the surviving records is bound to be low, because there were so many people at the time who had a vested interest in smuggling slaves – and withholding data  An emphasis on population loss as such is highly relevant to the question of socio-economic development  Population growth played major role in European development in providing labour, markets and the pressures which led to further advance  Population was in their circumstances the most important factor of production  Many African rulers acquiesced in the European slave trade for what they considered to be reasons of self interest, but on no scale of rationality could the outflow of population be measured as being anything but disastrous for African societies  Slave raiding was violently conflicting with that objective in Western, Eastern and Central Africa  In certain localities food production was increased to provide supplies for slave ships, but the overall consequences of slaving on agricultural activities in Western, Eastern and Central Africa were negative  Slave trading after all meant migration of labour n a manner one hundred times more brutal and disruptive  Quite apart from the moral aspect and the immense suffering from it caused, the European slave trade was economically totally irrational from the viewpoint of African development  The destructive tendency of slave trading can be clearly established; and, wherever a state seemingly progressed in the epoch of slave trading, the conclusion is simply that it did so in spite of the adverse effects of a process that was more damaging than cholera  Unfortunately one of the aspects of current African underdevelopment is that the capitalist publishers and bourgeois scholars dominate the scene and help mold opinions the world over TECHNICAL STAGNATION  The abandonment of traditional iron smelting in most parts of Africa is probably the most important instance of technological regression  What Africa experienced in the early centuries of trade was precisely a loss of development opportunity and this is of the greatest importance  The basic reason is that the very nature of Afro-European trade was highly unfavorable to the movement of positive ideas and techniques from the European capitalist system to the Africa pre-capitalist communal, feudal and pre feudal system of production  Europeans deliberately ignored those African re quests that Europe should place certain skills and techniques at their disposal  The circumstances of African trade with Europe were unfavourable to creating a consistent African demand for technology relevant to development; and when that demand was raised it was ignored or rejected by the capitalist  Capitalism introduced into Africa only such limited aspects of its material culture as were essential to more efficient exploitation, but the general tendency has been for capitalism to under develop Africa in technology  Portuguese were in effect breaking up the economic integration of the region  What was doubly detrimental to African attempts to integrate their own economies was the fact that when Europeans became middlemen in local trade networks, they did so mainly to facilitate the extraction of captives and thereby subordinate the whole economy to the European slave trade  Never theless, there is something to be said in favor of Africa trade with Europe in this particular commodity th  Zimbabwe and Mozambique sustained flourishing socio-political systems up to the 19 century, largely because of gold production POLITICO MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS  Africa had a meaningful past long before the coming of Europeans  Slave trading led to the commercial domination of Africa by Europe within the context of international trade  As before, religion continued to act as an element of the superstructure, which was crucial in the development of the state  Being conscious of territorial boundaries, the inhabitants and rulers
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