Slavery Colonialism And Under-Development Summary

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Slavery, Colonialism and “Under-Development”
The current political and economic morass of underdeveloped nations cannot be analyzed in a vacuum. As we discussed last week, some countries and regions have greatly benefited from their geographical advantages, which essentially served as a propeller for rapid development. Underdeveloped countries however have long struggled to catch up and their progress have been greatly hindered by the heavy historical baggage left by exogenous groups. Though many, have touted the positive effects of colonialism, this week’s readings explore the role played by both colonialism and slavery in the former colonies’ underdevelopment.
In The Long Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trade, Nathan Nunn attempts to demonstrate
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In order to prove his argument, Nunn performs a series of analyses using historical archives and slave trade data. He first examined the relationship between the number of slaves extracted in each country and current economic development. He found that countries where the highest number of slaves were extracted were currently the poorest. In other words, the production of slaves also played a role in hindering the economic development of slave producing countries. He then examined the relationship between slave trades and current ethnic fractionalization. He found that fictionalization was in fact a result of the slave trade. Ties between communities, villages and ethnic groups were weakened due to the threat of kidnappings; groups began to isolate themselves and distrust one another. Nunn argues that ethnic diversity is an important…show more content…
These topics are often overlooked when attempting to find solutions to Africa’s political and economic problems. Though I agree that the slave trade has had some impact on the present realities of African countries, we cannot diminish with such ease the impact of colonialism. In emphasizing slave trading over colonialism I can’t help but feel that this piece is attempting to shift historical responsibilities from a known culprit, Colonial Metropoles, to an unknown and unrecognizable villain. I would argue that colonialism and the systems that was put in place to support the Metropoles even after independence, contributed if not more to the underdevelopment and economic failures of Africa. From the destruction of a population’s sense of self and worth, the vilification and in some cases the murder of independence nationalists, the support for ruthless dictators, natural resource exploitation, neo-liberal/neo-imperialist policies that continue to benefit the Metropole, all of which in my humble opinion were more destructive than the slave
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