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Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa: Indigenous Accumulation in Hausaland

Paul Clough
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 468
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  • Book Info
    Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa
    Book Description:

    The land, labor, credit, and trading institutions of Marmara village, in Hausaland, northern Nigeria, are detailed in this study through fieldwork conducted in two national economic cycles - the petroleum-boom prosperity (in 1977-1979), and the macro-economic decline (in 1985, 1996 and 1998). The book unveils a new paradigm of economic change in the West African savannah, demonstrating how rural accumulation in a polygynous society actually limits the extent of inequality while at the same time promoting technical change. A uniquely African non-capitalist trajectory of accumulation subordinates the acquisition of capital to the expansion of polygynous families, clientage networks, and circles of trading friends. The whole trajectory is driven by an indigenous ethics of personal responsibility. This model disputes the validity of both Marxian theories of capitalist transformation in Africa and the New Institutional Economics.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-271-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-xiii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiv-xviii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. Maps
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  7. Introduction: Methods of Fieldwork and Analysis
    (pp. 1-22)

    For ten weeks in 1976, and for almost two years from October 1977 through July 1979, I did fieldwork in the rural Hausa hamlet of Marmara in Katsina Emirate of northern Nigeria. I followed up this research with return visits in December 1985, September 1996 and December 1997–January 1998. Thus, my involvement with Marmara has spanned over twenty years – years of turbulence in the Nigerian economy. The main research, of 1977–79, took place when the economy was undergoing heady expansion. Subsequent visits from 1985 to 1998 occurred during a period when national economic contraction had begun (1985) or...

  8. Chapter 1 An Introduction to the Political Economy and Culture of Marmara Hamlet
    (pp. 23-50)

    Any model of the production and exchange relations in the area around Marmara will only be clear once key patterns of historical change in the wider political economy have been introduced. Thus, this chapter surveys changes in the much larger contexts of the Nigerian state, of northern Nigeria as an historical formation and within it, the economic region of southern Katsina of which Marmara forms a part.

    From its independence in 1960 until 1966, Nigeria was governed by civilian politicians. Thereafter, a succession of military governments continued, apart from a brief return to elected government between 1979 and 1983, until...

  9. Chapter 2 The Cultural Logic of Noncapitalist Accumulation
    (pp. 51-87)

    On the surface, chapter 1 has shown signs of a capitalist agrarian transition in Marmara as a result of changes in the regional and wider political economy since colonial times. The process of commoditization had extended chronologically from the sale of produce (well before the onset of colonialism) to the widespread selling of farmland and the frequent hiring of labour in the mid-twentieth century. Some villagers had grown rich by engaging in an interactive cycle of investment, such that trading profit was invested in farmland and the hiring of labour, while money income from the sale of produce became working...

  10. Chapter 3 Land Distribution and Land Transfers
    (pp. 88-126)

    From January through early May 1979, I mapped the farms of Marmara by using aerial photographs lent to me by the FADP. I surveyed all fields on foot. With the help of my paid assistants, I determined the boundaries of each field and marked the corresponding boundaries on the aerial photographs, listing the name of the owner of each field.

    The purpose of this exercise was not just to obtain a strong idea of the extent of inequality in land distribution. Land measurement, as a universal survey, was to be combined with other universal surveys – of all household sizes, of...

  11. Chapter 4 Farm Labour
    (pp. 127-170)

    As with land, so, too, with labour power: the market has become highly developed. Since the mid-1960s, the use of hired labourers in farming (yan kwadago,sing.dan kwadago) has become widespread. Many Small and Middle Farmers make occasional daily use of hired labour. Richer farmers frequently hire labour. A form of production making frequent use of hired labour has grown up alongside the form based on family labour. This chapter will be especially concerned to analyse the connections between the two forms.

    Farming is commonly pursued through three time periods:

    Rana:The ‘long morning’ of 5–6 hours....

  12. Chapter 5 Credit Relations and Social Consumption
    (pp. 171-225)

    This chapter describes the range of credit practices in Marmara. It is particularly concerned with the terms on which various types of credit are extended. But as in previous chapters, the deeper aim is a better understanding of the range of economic relations between richer and poorer villagers; the patterns of wealth acquisition; most generally, the evolution of production and exchange relations.

    Since credit pays for spending, I relate credit to the patterns of expenditure in rural society. I show how different types of credit meet distinct social needs. Types of credit can be described straightforwardly in terms of the...

  13. Chapter 6 Interregional Produce Markets
    (pp. 226-256)

    The previous chapters have analysed economic relationships within the hamlet of Marmara during the period 1977–79. This chapter goes beyond the hamlet. It examines the agricultural marketing during the same period, whereby the farmers of Marmara were linked to the much wider regional economy. Its focus is on the marketing of grains, which were the main source of income throughout 1977–79.

    To understand agricultural marketing, we must broaden the scale of analysis in order to describe the trade linkages between Malum-fashi Division, of which Marmara hamlet forms a part, and other areas. This chapter describes the main marketplaces...

  14. Chapter 7 Rural Produce Traders and Wealth Acquisition
    (pp. 257-327)

    In chapters 3 to 5 I analysed the economic relationships between richer and poorer villagers of Marmara hamlet. Through studies of land, labour and credit, we observed various constraints on the acquisition of wealth. This chapter addresses a final question: how do some people overcome the constraints in order to become rich?

    I consider wealth in two senses – the specific accumulation of farmland (and the labour power to work it), and the more general, many-faceted process of acquiring ‘wealth’ as the rural Hausa understand it. Already, we have discussed avenues to wealth. A number of villagers in Marmara began with...

  15. Chapter 8 Economic Change from 1985 to 1998
    (pp. 328-357)

    By probing rural Hausa institutions governing the transfers of land, labour, credit, produce marketing and the formation of working capital in trade and farming, chapters 3 through 7 have sought to demonstrate the constraints under which farmer-traders engaged in the long-term acquisition of wealth, and the corresponding vitality of smaller farmers, during 1977–85. These patterns emerged from the analysis of fieldwork focussed mainly on 1977–79, when the price and output of Nigerian petroleum was rising dramatically. The oil boom led to a vast increase in state spending and in the private importation of capital goods. The upward valuation...

  16. Chapter 9 Continuity, Change – and Growth
    (pp. 358-377)

    This book has argued that the concept of atrajectoryof accumulation enables us to explain the particular economic changes which the people of Marmara experienced and enacted between 1977 and 1998. Different, discernible processes of accumulation were united through a local hierarchy of desires into an interrelated, moving whole. Because the model of a polygynous trajectory of noncapitalist accumulation has been tested through two markedly contrasting economic cycles, it is more likely that we are witnessing a durable order of desires with the power to absorb changes in economic circumstance. Through the period when rising petroleum wealth in the...

  17. Appendix 1. Basic Information on Household Heads, Marmara, 1979
    (pp. 378-383)
  18. Appendix 2. Innovation, Agricultural Extension and Yields
    (pp. 384-391)
  19. Appendix 3. All Landholding Household Heads Grouped by Labour Practices During the Weeding Operation in the Farming Season of 1978
    (pp. 392-396)
  20. Appendix 4. Household Consumption of Food Grain and ‘Soup Ingredients’ (Cefane)
    (pp. 397-400)
  21. Appendix 5. Trading Purchases, Sales and Margins of M., 1978
    (pp. 401-407)
  22. Appendix 6. Land Sales and Labour Use, Marmara, 1978 and 1979
    (pp. 408-412)
  23. Glossary of Key Hausa Words in the Text
    (pp. 413-417)
  24. Bibliography
    (pp. 418-428)
  25. Index
    (pp. 429-442)