States and Power in Africa

Topics: Colonialism, Political philosophy, Government Pages: 2 (475 words) Published: April 7, 2004
We must understand the differences in the African and European political experience in order to understand the difficulties faced by African leaders. In Herbst's book States and Power in Africa, First I will give an overview of the differences between the African and European advances toward becoming a nation state. Next the reasons why these differences are important to understanding the difficulties faced by African leaders will be discussed. Finally I will give an overview of possible alternatives to the current system of states in Africa.

In States and Power in Africa Herbst shows us several differences between

It is important to look at why Herbst's analysis of Africa's and Europe's political differences gives us many reasons that go toward the explaining African leader's political difficulties. One of Herbst's overall arguments is that the colonization of Africa by Europe is not solely responsible for their self destructive systems of government. He would like others studying comparative politics to understand that many of the pre-colonial social and political norms as well as post-colonial observance of the forced state system have also contributed to Africa's current problems. Herbst's shows us that it is important to look beyond the predetermined political geography as set forth at the Berlin Conference as the sole reason for African leader's difficulty in broadcasting power. To counter this argument Herbst looks at several other reasons why broadcasting power is a problem. One of the arguments focused on is the cost benefit analysis of the building of infrastructures such as roads and telecommunication systems. African rulers even during the pre-colonial period decided that the costs of broadcasting government authority into the hinterlands outweighed the benefits that they would receive. This explains why African leaders have continued to focus their energies on extending power only until a certain point in their countries;...
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