Global Uneven Development, Primitive Accumulation and Political-Economic Conflict in Africa: The Return of the Theory of Imperialism
The world is witnessing a political-economic passage on a global scale: from economic stagnation, amplified uneven development and financial volatility to worsening primitive accumulation (‘looting’) and socio-economic conflict. Considering Africa’s plight in this way suggests intellectual links between the political economy and security disciplines. Reforms proposed at the global level by elite bodies are apparently ineffectual and actions taken by elites in the name of conflict resolution often undermine peace because they reinforce the very dynamic of external looting. If these reforms continue to fail, it is to popular struggles that we should turn, especially in Africa where oppression is most extreme and global and local elites have the least credibility. For social movements, the objective of transforming power relations as the basis for ending conflict and underdevelopment requires engaging this new theoretical approach with the critique of capitalism. Conflict and peace theorists should also consider other innovations in political economy which address uneven and combined development, primitive accumulation and imperialism more broadly.