Poverty Trap in a Tributary Mode of Production: The Peasant Economy of Ethiopia
AbstractThe paradox of EthiopiaÕs agrarian economy is that, despite underwriting a world civilization, the transition to an industrial economy has eluded it. Using a model of AfroAsiatic tributarism, we attribute this outcome to endemic extractive contests between a predominantly landed peasantry and a titled, prebendary overlord class. The latterÕs strategy of political accumulation inevitably engendered immiserization of overlord and peasant alike by privileging diversion over production. The surplus was then dissipated on unproductive consumption, national defence, and internecine strife. Lacking a strong state to mitigate predation and political instability, the Ethiopian peasant rationally ÔchoseÕ to be efficiently, albeit self-sufficiently, poor.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 06.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 15 Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Ethiopia; feudalism; tributarism; overlordship; landlordship; gebbar system;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
- O55 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
- P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2005-01-02 (Africa)
- NEP-ALL-2005-01-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2005-01-02 (Development)
- NEP-POL-2005-01-02 (Positive Political Economics)
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