Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

There may be more questions raised than answers proffered in Walter Rodney’s classic but we seek to summarize the book whilst importing a critical look to complement the book.


Some Questions on Development

1.1 What is Development?

Development defined as a process of change is, according to Walter Rodney, many-sided involving individualism, social stratification/castes, and the society at large. This development is represented in the context of increased skill, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being. However, during the course of this discourse Walter Rodney’s greater attention was directed at material well-being, freedom and skill.
Individual development, though sometimes moral, is tied to the overall development of the state. At the level of social groups, development implied an increasing capacity to regulate both internal and external relationships while for the society at large, development has exhibited strength to single-handedly improve their ability to live better lives through harnessing the earth’s resources available to them. Africa, construed to be the home of man, is not excluded in this regard.
The advent of tools greatly impacted economic development positively no matter how crude they were. However, human industry was beset by varying degrees of setback as they sought to achieve economic development. Using early China as an example, circumstances propelled their discovery of man-made fire and planting seeds. The resultant economic prosperity was evenly distributed equally amongst families. By the time of the T’ang dynasty of the 7th century AD, this quantitative growth progressed into qualitative changes that became evident in the structured political clime of the Chinese society and in specialization and division of labour which resulted in more production. Continue reading “Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”