COURSE: DS 403 – 3A: Comparative Development
TITLE: 2. Using African countries’ experience with both state centred and liberal models, demonstrate that there is no ideal model for development.
The post-colonial regimes in Africa were predisposed to taking a developmental trajectory that was administered by the government. Accelerated industrial growth was to be attained through massive public spending, and the administration of the new professional elite; thus the path taken was structuralism, corporatism or socialism. The systems were not in vogue with the donor community who saw the government as wasteful, inefficient and running a patron-client enterprise. They (donors) prescribed liberal policies through the Washington Consensus with all its utopian, fruitful returns; like the former, pessimism has loomed and with many countries looking for an alternative. In these, focus will be on demonstrating that corporatism and neo-liberal policies have failed African development.
1. STATE CORPORATISM:
Corporatism is divided into state run corporatism and societal corporatism. State corporatism, as it is the focus of this paper, is dominated by elites within the state, who may have even created the functional organizations. State corporatist practices are usually found in authoritarian regimes (King, 2012).
Many African leaders who took office after independence struggle believed that long term development could only be achieved if society was disciplined. They governed through de jure or de facto single party mechanisms. In this, the state apparatus such as the army and police are inseparable with the higher echelons of the party and they are often used to crush descend cohesively. For example, Dr Kamuzu Banda led the Malawi Congress Party which negotiated independence from Britain in 1964. His party won elections, and he soon banned all other parties and people were imprisoned or killed for criticising him. As a result there was no political debate about how to develop the country and Banda did as he pleased. He built Kamuzu College for children from wealthy families while the poor had no desks or classes.
There is vast literature on the ‘personalisation’ or ‘privatisation’ of the state in Africa. Titeca (2006) is of the view that the state and society cannot be treated separately, but there are blurred categories through the interpretation by personal, familial… and fraternal networks. Power and authority are situated in the person, not the office. These networks have a strong impact on the people regarding the services to be provided. People expect services to be there only for their political camp; and these networks have become instruments for accumulation of wealth and individual advancement.
According to Menocal (2004) incumbents distribute rents in a highly selective manner in order to sustain a system of patronage and clientelism in which favours and connections can be exchanged for political support. During the first decade of independence, Keller (1996) purports that most African leaders seemed more concerned in asserting their power, authority and hegemony over their subjects than enhancing their legitimacy. Thus there is a political rationale to an otherwise seemingly incongruent economic logic: state intervention has engendered a predatory state composed of rent-seekers and entrepreneurs in which only the most highly organised aggregation of interests prevail, and in which the individual maximization of self-interests takes precedence over collective goals. Consequently, corruption is the order of the day, economics and politics become inseparable.
African countries adopted the Import substitution Industrialisation (ISI) strategy which was based on substituting the previously imported finished goods with locally produced. This was to be achieved...