Capitalism and Nationalism at the End of Empire: State and Business in Decolonizing Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya, 1945-1963
The two decades that followed World War II witnessed the end of the great European empires in Asia and Africa. Robert Tignor's new study of the decolonization experiences of Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya elucidates the major factors that led to the transfer of power from British to African hands in these three territories. Employing a comparative method in order to explain the different decolonizing narratives in each territory, he argues that the different state policies toward the private business sector and foreign capital were the result of nationalist policies and attitudes and the influence of Cold War pressures on local events.
Using business records as well as official government sources, the work highlights the economic aspects of decolonization and weighs the influence of nationalist movements, changes in metropolitan attitudes toward the empire, and shifts in the international balance of power in bringing about the transfer of authority. The author concludes that the business communities did not play decisive roles, adhering instead to their time-honored role of leaving political issues to colonial officials and their nationalist critics. Tignor also finds that the nationalist movements, far from being ineffective, largely realized the primary goals of nationalist leaders that had been articulated for many decades.
Originally published in 1997.
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