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The Shadow of Neocolonialism

G.N. Rao

By Dan Mole
Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1974, 555, 70.00

By Samir Amin. Translated from French by Francis McDonagh
Monthly Review Press, New York and London, 1973, 298, Price Not Stated

VOLUME I NUMBER 1 January - March 1976

Barring a few general works dealing with the under-developed countries, the economic surveys by the United Nations commissions and old administrative reports by the erstwhile colonial governments, there are few specialized works dealing specifically with the economic problems of the various developing countries of Africa. Critical works analysing the background and suggesting new lines of thought or development are fewer still. This is probably because African studies were hitherto concentrated more on sociological aspects concerning tribal societies and practices. Dan Mole's critique of ‘imperialist heritage’ in Africa is therefore a most welcome and timely study. As the title suggests, it is a severe indictment both of past practices and of present manipulations of imperialist powers. It is a book written with great power and passion and also with erudition. It is likely to make a powerful impact on the economic thought and perhaps also policies of the developing African countries. Dan Mole's own personal background and expe­riences illustrate to some extent the predicament and the mood both of the new countries and their planners and thinkers. A Nigerian by birth, but living in exile and driven from one university to another to obtain his Degree and his Doctorate, and embittered by the uncompromising attitude of American publishers towards his heretical writings he was compelled at last to turn to an Indian publisher to publish his book! But his book is not entirely a product of embitterment. It is coldly analytical, erudite and well documented with facts and figures. Dan Mole applies the Marxian doctrine in the historical analysis of the contemporary situation and traces the gradual growth of capital through centuries of exploitation of slave labour, serf labour and appro­priation of the surplus produced by landless labour sweating in the mines and factories. His basic argument is that economic society or the mode of production is the basic catalyst of human culture and of the mani­fold institutions in a society, and that the capitalist­ imperialist system not only serves a narrow segment of the community but that its dessicative effect makes itself felt on the intellectual and cultural life of the colonized people. The native bourgeoisie—both bureaucratic and feudal—actively collaborate with the client imperialist-capitalist forces. Dan Mole illustrates his thesis through practical application to the situation obtaining in most African countries and to their relationship with western nations. He discusses, for example, the trade relationship ...

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