1 June 2014

The Rise and Fall of Neo-Colonialism

Development, Part 7b

The Rise and Fall of Neo-Colonialism

Today’s main item is Chapter 8 of Colin Leys’ 1975 book “Underdevelopment in Kenya” (attached, and downloadable from the link below).

This book was researched in Kenya and published 2-3 years after Rodney’s Dar-es-Salaam-written “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”.

“Underdevelopment in Kenya” is remarkable (like Engels’ “Condition of the Working Class In England”, for example) for being written in the right place at the right time, by a man who was able to see what he was looking at, know that it was something new and important, and describe it properly.

What Leys saw was not only post-colonial class formation, but also the beginnings, in 1975, of the “neo-liberal” and “Washington Consensus” policies that have cursed us ever since, but which now, at last, appear to be on their way out.

The fourth linked item of the week  is a more deliberately scholarly essay by David Moore, as compared to the short newspaper article of his that we used two days ago written in the same year, 2004.

Moore’s essay rehearses parts of the factual background of capitalist colonialism and reviews some of the works of the then-fashionable theorists, who now, ten years later, seem out-of-date (which Walter Rodney, for example, or Lenin, will never be).

No doubt David Moore contributed to the demise of the theories that he described and criticised, thereby doing a good service to us all.

The two documents introduced above are together bigger than a normal post in this series. But both are valuable and both contribute substantially to this collection of material on development. Therefore they go out together, today, for the sake of maintaining a well-rounded archive, and for those who may wish to read them.


Top: Photo of the then President of the Republic of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta posing in pseudo-traditional regalia prepared by former colonialists (Disclosure: I, your VC, was working for a different department in the company that made this regalia at the time);

Middle: photo of a bronze public statue of Kenyatta wearing the same phony theatrical robes, providing a long-term image of the neo-colonial mummeries for posterity.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Contradictions of Neo-Colonialism, Leys, 1875; The Second Age of the Third World, Moore, 2004.


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