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Maldevelopment - Anatomy of a global failure

Table of contents

General Editor:
Samir Amin



The United Nations University's (UNU) Project on the Third World and World Development aims to study contemporary global developments from the perspective of the South: ongoing trends and structural changes in the world-system are analysed in terms of their consequences for the different regions of the third world and their implications for development strategies and policy options that the developing countries can pursue, singly and collectively through South-South co-operation. Through an interdisciplinary and global comparative framework, the Project integrates the UNU's previous research work on the regional perspectives of Africa, Asia, and Latin America - research which has been undertaken over the last decade and has involved, worldwide, hundreds of researchers organized into regional networks. (The Studies in African Political Economy series grew out of the work of the African regional network as part of an earlier UNU project, Transnationalization or Nation-Building in Africa.) The comparative research into the different regions' experiences of the 1980s provides a basis for comprehending their expectations for the 1990s and for formulating development strategies that would be fully cognizant of the changes that hew occurred at all levels of the global system. Those changes have been analyzed in this Project through five main themes: the process of transnationalization, the crisis of states, the emergence of social movements, the cultural dimension of contemporary developments, and conflicts and the possibilities of co-operation in the third world.

M.L. Gakou
The Crisis in African Agriculture

Peter Anyang' Nyong'o (editor)
Popular Struggles for Democracy in Africa

Samir Amin, Derrick Chitala, Ibbo Mandaza (editor)
SADCC: Prospects for Disengagement and Development in Southern Africa

Faysal Yachir
The World Steel Industry Today

Faysal Yachir
Mining in Africa Today: Strategies and Prospects

Faysal Yachir
The Mediterranean: Between Autonomy and Dependency

Azzam Mahjoub (editor)
Adjustment or Delinking? The African Experience

Hamid Ait Amara, Bernard Founou-Tchuigoua (editor)
African Agriculture: The Critical Choices

Samir Amin
Maldevelopment: Anatomy of A Global Failure

Fawzy Manour
The Arab World Nation. State and Democracy


United Nations University Press
Zed Books Ltd.
London and New Jersey

Maldevelopment Anatomy of a Global Failure was first published in 1990 by:
Zed Books Ltd., 57 Caledonian Road, London N1 9BU, UK, and 171 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey 07716, USA and:
United Nations University Press, The United Nations University, Toho Seimei Building, IS-I Shibuya 2-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150, Japan in co-operation with The Third World Forum, B.P. 3501, Dakar, Senegal.

Copyright The United Nations University, 1990.

Translation by Michael Wolfers
Cover designed by Andrew Corbett.
Typeset by EMS Photosetters, Rochford, Essex.
Printed and bound in the United Kingdom by Biddles Ltd. Guildford and King's Lynn.
All rights reserved.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
Amin, Samir 1931
Maldevelopment: anatomy of a global failure. - (The United Nations University/Third World Forum Studies in African Political Economy).

1. Economic development. Sociopolitical Aspects
1. Title II. Series
330 9

ISBN 0-86232-930-2
ISBN 0-86232-931-0 pbk

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Amin, Samir.
Maldevelopment: anatomy of a global failure/Samir Amin; translated from the French by Michael Wolfers.

p. cm.
ISBN 0-86232-930-2. - ISBN 0-86232-931-0 (pbk.)

1. Developing countries - Economic policy.
2. Africa - Economic conditions - 1960 -
3. Economic history - 1971 - 1. Title.
HC59.7.A7777 1990
338.9'009172'4 dc20



Introduction: why a political analysis?


1. Africa's economic backwardness

Sources and methods for the analysis

South of the Sahara
The origins of Africa's agricultural failure
Analysing the exploitation of peasants
North Africa and the Arab world: from statism to comprador capitalism

False analyses, false solutions

Conceptions of Africa's agricultural development: a critique
Industrialization and the agricultural revolution


2. The decade of drift: 1975-1985

The excitement of the Bandung plan (1955-73)2
The battle for a new international economic order (NIEO): 1974-1980
Structural costs; the stakes; the struggle for the NIEO
Africa: from the Lagos plan (1980) to the world bank plan and the United Nations Conference (1986)
Debt and the threat of a financial crash
The efforts of radical African nationalism: adjustment or delinking?6

3. The crisis of state

Nation-state and the ideology of nation in crisis'
Ethnicity: myth and reality
The cultural dimension of development in Africa and the third world
The cultural dimension: the example of the crisis in the arab world today - the end of the Nahda?7
New forms of the social movement

4. Complexities of international relations: Africa's vulnerability and external intervention

African economies' vulnerability vis--vis the challenge of capitalism's new worldwide expansion
Some specific aspects of Africa's economic integration in the world system, ACP-EEC association and Euro-American mercantile conflict1
Special links with France: the Franc zone2
Evolution in Euro-Arab relations: interwoven economics and politics
Conflict and national and regional security in Africa
The Middle East conflict in a world perspective
Africa and the Arab world in the world system

5. Alternative development for Africa and the third world

Inequality in income distribution the centre and periphery1
The alternative: popular national development, social and political democracy, delinking3
Obstacles to popular national, autocentric and delinked development

6. Political and social conditions for alternative development in the third world

Impossibility of the bourgeois national state in the peripheries of the world system1
Inequality in the worldwide expansion of capitalism; the state's central role
The worldwide spread of value3
A return to the third world?4
The consequences of unequal development
The issue of democracy
The historical subject of the popular national option; the role of the intelligentsia

7. Inter-African and south-south co-operation

Pan-Africanism in the light of the colonial inheritance1
The problematic of the Arab nation2
Afro-arab co-operation3
Prospects for south-south co-operation4

8. A polycentric world favourable to development: a possibility?

The scope and stakes of the global crisis
Conservative forces' offensive
The difficulties of forecasting
The real options for the peoples of the West
Options for socialist societies and east-west relations
The genuine long-term option, transnationalization or a polycentric world and broad autocentric regions
Conclusion: a crisis of transnationalization, ideology and development theory