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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972)
by Walter Rodney
An extremely well-researched text detailing the effects on African people and societies of their asymmetrical relationship with European states and capitalists starting in the 16th century.
So much so, that it was somewhat hard for me to read. There were a lot of numbers, figures, and specific anecdotes which clearly were important for backing up his argument, but slowed down my reading of the book. Regardless, I took a lot out of it. I feel like I can explain how Western European states and investors contributed to the suffering of Africans and the relative poverty they face now compared to wealthier societies and more powerful states.
All that said, the author is a Marxist-Leninist. This might just be the first book I've read that speaks positively of East Germany.
i mean yea if this doesn't explain it for ya i don't know what will. europe and european offshoot nations like the US have been absolutely obliterating the african population for centuries now at every level imaginable. resembles the american imperial treatment of the native americans and the treatment of black americans by american government. it really reflects itself and reveals itself everywhere. colonial control infects everything
How Europe underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney tells the story of African colonization from the African point of view, it counters the Eurocentric view of Africa being uncivilized, primitive, barbaric and as well as monkeys that lived on trees. The author concludes in chapter six of the book after examining the prons and cons, that colonialism is one arm bandit.
A classic in the history of Europe's exploitation of Africa.
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Wikipedia in English (4)
The classic work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at an international scale. In 1980, shortly after founding of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, the 38-year-old Rodney would be assassinated. In his magnum opus, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Rodney incisively argues that grasping "the great divergence" between the west and the rest can only be explained as the exploitation of the latter by the former. This meticulously researched analysis of the abiding repercussions of European colonialism on the continent of Africa has not only informed decades of scholarship and activism, it remains an indispensable study for grasping global inequality today.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)330.96Social sciences Economics Economics Economic geography and history Africa
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The general thesis of the book I think is spot on: colonialism was fueled by capitalism, and capitalism was fueled by colonialism, especially colonialism in Africa. Capitalism was just a budding concept when colonialism began, so it is impossible to say how one might have developed without the other. That being said, I don’t think socialist and communist countries are innocent parties in colonialism. Dr. Rodney mentions that North Korea should be an example to newly independent countries, and though I don’t know much about North Korea in the 70s, and even if North Korea is significantly less colonialist than more capitalist countries, it certainly fails any test of humanitarianism today. Similarly, Dr. Rodney praises China’s lack of exploitation of Africa. I’m not sure if that was true in the 70s, but today’s Belt and Road Initiative makes clear that even socialist China is more than willing to exploit developing countries to make a profit.
Even if you agree with socialist ideas, I think the book goes a little far in glorifying socialism as anti-colonialism. I think Dr. Rodney is dead on right that capitalism is inherently linked in many ways to exploitation and colonialism (either in flag or economics), and the book is worth ready even only as a historic work in itself. This laid a lot of groundwork for future studies of colonialism and the impact it continues to have on modern Africa. ( )