Essays on the Political Economy of Africa by Giovanni Arrighi

By Giovanni Arrighi

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Rcauc ratlc e � r ployrnent in whar we have called the "labor aristocracy," . " By emphasizing the cen­ tra � ty �o the formation of such a labor aristocracy of the process of Afr·­ I . anon of the bureaucratlc of colonial rule' . we rm' y further suggest tIat 1 to th·IS dommant group applies Regis De. bra)" s charactenzanon of what he calls the "progrcssive petit bourgeoi­ . sic of I,;mn America: � �. [ " ,1. does not possess an infrastructure of economic: power before it wins po ltlcal power .

The development of an organic industrial base in South Africa and Rhodesia, which is a key dimension of rhe area's strength, must be traced to the presence in thcse countries of a national bourgeoisie (the senlers) sufficiently Strong to uphold a "national" interest vis-a-vis the metropolitan countries. 19 Mainly through the intermediary of the state, and ofren, especially in South Africa, in opposition to the short-term interests of Icss national- 56 Part I: Outl"1)irws ist;c sections of rhe capitalist class, the settlers have managed to establish some basic industries and consolidate themselves qua capitalists as one less to say, these achie�e­ important clemcnr in rhe modern sector.

For in all areas such a pattern doubtless rcAeers the fuet that the old guard of nationalist politicians has ofren seemed at beSt an inconvenient and irrational element to international capitalism. Military rule, usually stabilized with the full cooperation of the civil service, seems to offer the promise of "technocratic" transformation to eliminate the grosser fonns of corruption and to rationalize the environment of economic penetra­ tion; what this amounts to in practice is, in fact. a "pattern of rule .

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