How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney Essay example

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney Essay example

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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney, was one of the most controversial books in the world at the time of its release. The book seeks to argue that European exploitation and involvement in Africa throughout history. This is the cause of current African underdevelopment, and the true path to the development is for Africa to completely sever her ties with the international capitalist economy. Rodney describes his goal in writing the book in the preface: “this book derives from a concern with the contemporary African situation. It delves into the past only because otherwise it would be impossible to understand how the present came into being and what the trends are for the near future” (vii). Rodney writes from a distinctly Marxist perspective by arguing that the inequalities inherent in European capitalism and required exploitation of certain countries in order to sustain capitalism.
Rodney’s argument is broken down into six chapters each consisting of several subdivisions and case studies supporting his principle argument. The first chapter works towards defining the terms of development and underdevelopment and argues the comparative nature of these terms; a country is only ‘underdeveloped’ by European standards. This chapter begins by tracing European development from its early stages of communalism through feudalism and finally capitalism. Then, he works towards developing an understanding of the term ‘underdevelopment’ and through an analysis of a variety of development indices what it constitutes in present day society: “In Niger, one doctor must do for 56, 140 people; in Tunisia one doctor for every 8,320 Tunisians”(18). The Marxist concept of inherent inequalities within the international capitalist system un...

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...ions both in the past and the present and is one of the best explanations of present day African underdevelopment, showing the importance of a historical approach to understanding current affairs.

Works Cited

Rodney, Walter. 2011. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Baltimore: Black Classic Press.
Adas, Michael. 1989. “Africa: Primitive Tools and the Savage Mind” In Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology and Ideologies of Western Dominance, from Historical Problems of Imperial Africa. Edited by Robert O. Collins and James M. Burns, 30-39. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers.
Aviles, Luis A. Ideology: A Marxist Perspective. Accessed March 17.
Peuple Sawa. 2007. “Literatur How Europe Underdeveloped Africa 1973.” Accessed March 17.

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