Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ivory Coast was touted as an African miracle, a poster child for modernization and the ways that Western aid and multinational corporations would develop the continent. At the same time, Marxist scholars—most notably Samir Amin—described the capitalist activity in Ivory Coast as empty, unsustainable, and incapable of bringing real change to the lives of ordinary people. To some extent, Amin’s criticisms were validated when, in the 1980s, the Ivorian economy collapsed.
In African Miracle, African Mirage, Abou B. Bamba incorporates economics, political science, and history to craft a bold, transnational study of the development practices and intersecting colonial cultures that continue to shape Ivory Coast today. He considers French, American, and Ivorian development discourses in examining the roles of hydroelectric projects and the sugar, coffee, and cocoa industries in the country’s boom and bust. In so doing, he brings the agency of Ivorians themselves to the fore in a way not often seen in histories of development. Ultimately, he concludes that the “maldevelopment” evident by the mid-1970s had less to do with the Ivory Coast’s “insufficiently modern” citizens than with the conflicting missions of French and American interests within the context of an ever-globalizing world.
Contributors. Arun Agrawal, Mark Baker, Molly Chattopadhyaya, Vinay Gidwani, Sumit Guha, Shubhra Gururani, Cecile Jackson, David Ludden, Haripriya Rangan, Paul Robbins, Vasant Saberwal, James C. Scott, K. Sivaramakrishnan, Ajay Skaria, Jennifer Springer, Darren Zook
The noted economist Yair Mundlak presents here a theory of the growth of the agricultural sector within the context of a growing economy. He explores the various aspects of the dynamics of agriculture and their relationship to the dynamics of the economy at large, offering a unique blend of theory, methodology, and empirical analysis.The rate of agricultural growth has varied across countries and over time, even though the main innovations in agricultural technology have been made available to all countries. Consequently, the difference in performance is due to the use made of the available technology. Mundlak treats the implementation of technology as an economic decision similar to decisions about resource supply and allocation. The development of agriculture, like that of other sectors, is determined to a large degree by the economic environment, especially public policies. This framework permits the author to evaluate the effects of policies on growth by examining their effects on sectoral incentives. Mundlak shows that neutral macroeconomic policies may have a stronger effect on sectoral growth than sector-specific policies.The book contains problem sets, and will be a reference and text for graduate-level courses.
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