Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Markets and States in Tropical Africa

Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policies

Robert H. Bates
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 208
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Markets and States in Tropical Africa
    Book Description:

    Following independence, most countries in Africa sought to develop, but their governments pursued policies that actually undermined their rural economies. Examining the origins of Africa's "growth tragedy,"Markets and States in Tropical Africahas for decades shaped the thinking of practitioners and scholars alike. Robert H. Bates's analysis now faces a challenge, however: the revival of economic growth on the continent. In this edition, Bates provides a new preface and chapter that address the seeds of Africa's recovery and discuss the significance of the continent's success for the arguments of this classic work.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95852-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the 2014 Edition
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface to the 2005 Edition
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Over the last decade a deepening sense of crisis has arisen among those concerned with African agriculture. The Sahelian drought of the mid-1970s temporarily dramatized the plight of the African farmer, but those who follow Africa are convinced that the problems lie deeper than the vagaries of the weather. They cite figures published by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, which suggest that per capita food production in Africa had been stagnating prior to the drought; and they stress that although the rains have returned, food production has failed to recover (FAO 1978b, pp. 77–78). They...

  7. Part I. Government Interventions in Major Markets

    • CHAPTER 1 Policies Toward Cash Crops for Export
      (pp. 11-29)

      The economies of tropical Africa are based on the production and export of primary products. In addition to such commodities as timber, minerals, and oil, African exports include agricultural products. Most important among them are the beverage crops—coffee, tea, and cocoa—and crops that yield vegetable oils: palm oil, palm kernel oil, cotton seed, and groundnuts. Also important are such fibers as sisal and cotton.

      Like all nations in the developing world, the nations of Africa seek rapid development. Their people demand larger incomes and higher standards of living. Common sense, the evidence of history, and economic doctrine all...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Food Sector: The Political Dynamics of Pricing Policies
      (pp. 30-44)

      Political pressures for low-cost food come from two main sources. One, of course, is the urban worker. The other is the employer who, when his workers are faced with high-cost food, is forced to pay higher wages. For political reasons, African governments must appease the urban worker; but as major employers and as the sponsors of industry, governments share the interests of those who pay the wage bill. To appease consumers while pursuing their own interests, governments therefore join with workers and industry in seeking low-cost food.

      The issue that most frequently drives African city dwellers to militant action is...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Food Sector: The Use of Nonprice Strategies
      (pp. 45-61)

      The desire to promote the fortunes of industry and the need to appease the urban areas have led governments to adopt policies intended to provide low-priced food. As has been shown, however, the regulation of internal markets is difficult to achieve. Moreover, the importation of foreign supplies to depress local prices has become an unattractive option. Rising oil prices and demands from industry for imports of capital, machinery, and skilled manpower have intensified demands for foreign exchange. And given the overwhelmingly agricultural make-up of their countries, African governments have responded by promoting programs to reduce food imports by increasing domestic...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Emerging Industrial Sector
      (pp. 62-78)

      Thus far we have analyzed government interventions in the markets for products that farmers sell and in the markets for products they use in farming. There remains a last major market to be explored: the market for the commodities that farmers consume, and in particular the goods they purchase from the urban-industrial sector.

      Like governments throughout the developing areas, the governments of Africa try to promote industrial development, and every government in Africa has pledged to develop its national economy by creating domestic industries. This chapter will show that a major strategy for promoting industrial development has been to shelter...

  8. Part II. Interpretation

    • CHAPTER 5 The Market as Political Arena and the Limits of Voluntarism
      (pp. 81-95)

      When African governments intervene in markets, they often do so in ways that harm the short-run interests of most farmers. On the one hand, by sheltering domestic industries from competition, they increase the prices that farmers must pay for goods from the urban areas. On the other, through the use of state power, they lower the prices that farmers receive for their products; alternatively, they compete with them in supplying food to the urban markets. And the benefits of the subsidies they do confer on farm inputs are reaped by the richer few.

      This pattern of public policy raises many...

    • CHAPTER 6 Rental Havens and Protective Shelters: Organizing Support Among the Urban Beneficiaries
      (pp. 96-105)

      The new nations of Africa were born in a moment of hope. It is difficult to recapture the emotional tone of that moment. But the depth of it, the fullness of it, and the promise it offered left its mark on all who were in any way touched by events of that era. It was called a new dawn, a rebirth, a reawakening.

      For many, the dreams of that period have given way to disillusion. Social scientists studying the United States long ago learned to listen to the “little man from Missouri.” The sullen cynicism of the common man of...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Origins of Political Marginalism: Evoking Compliance From the Countryside
      (pp. 106-118)

      In Africa, as elsewhere, governments use force to quash peasant resistance to measures intended to create a new political and economic order. By frustrating those who would seek fundamental changes, governments remove proposals for comprehensive reforms from the political agenda and forbid organized efforts to alter the collective fate of the disadvantaged. Instead, they allow only efforts to seek marginal adjustments to the status quo, or petitions for individual exceptions to it. The capacity to coerce is thus used to defend and perpetuate basic policy commitments and the political and economic order they create.

      Among the primary objects of government...

    • CHAPTER 8 Commonalities and Variations: The Politics of Agricultural Policy
      (pp. 119-128)

      This book has analyzed the ways in which political power has been used to manipulate the major markets that determine the incomes of farmers in Africa.

      Agricultural policies in Africa are characterized by attempts to set prices in markets in a way that is harmful to the interests of most farmers. The economies of Africa are overwhelmingly rural in nature, but the governing elites of Africa seek to industrialize. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that these elites should attempt to extract resources from agriculture and channel them into manufacturing and industry. All nations seeking to industrialize have done this. The...

    • CHAPTER 9 Political Reform and Economic Development
      (pp. 129-148)

      In the initial years of independence, Africa’s polities turned authoritarian and their economies contracted. Government policies favored the welfare of those who worked in the cities—and for their governments—at the expense of those who dwelt in the countryside. And they did so in economies where agriculture often represented the single largest sector (see Figure 3). Given their assault on their economic foundations, it was therefore not surprising that many nations in Africa became poorer than they had been in the years before independence.

      But then, in the mid- and late 1980s, things changed. Africa’s political institutions changed and...

  9. APPENDIX A: Interrelations Between Food Supply, Demand, and Prices
    (pp. 149-151)
  10. APPENDIX B: Value Received by Farmers for Export Crops
    (pp. 152-162)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-184)
  12. Index
    (pp. 185-196)