Friday, May 27, 2011

Is there a Neo-Colonialism?

If colonialism is primarily a system of economic exploitation rather than political domination then the creation of independent states does not necessarily end colonial relationships. The situation of continuing colonial economic relationships between former colonies and European powers like the UK and France is generally referred to as neocolonialism. This relationship is characterized by the export of raw materials to the former colonizing powers in Europe and the importation of finished goods from those same countries. Yet, without any political control to enforce this relationship I fail to see how it is truly colonial. A lot of former colonies in Asia have managed to move away from such trade patterns first by engaging in import substitution and then the export of manufactured goods. A move away from the export of raw materials to the use of those materials to produce finished goods is certainly also possible in Africa. There already is a lot more manufacturing in Africa than I think most people outside the continent realize.

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