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Social Obstacles to Technology, Technological Change, and the Economic Growth of African Countries: Some Anecdotal Evidence from Economic History

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  • Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich

This paper comments on a number of social obstacles to the economic growth and technological change of African economies from the perspective of economic history. Economic history is full of evidence about what held African economies back for years. Some obstacles are of domestic origin such as excessive consumption and luxury masqueraded as public investment. Other obstacles were imposed from outside such as the destruction and weakening of traditional African religions and religious leadership as well as other wide ranging institutions. The combined effects can be summed up in one word: de-institutionalization. De-institutionalization devalued local knowledge (technology) thereby reducing performance. It is not possible to turn the clock back, but current policy is better-off bringing these obstacles into discussion as they stand a good chance of lowering the socalled “Africa dummy” variable common to growth regressions. Future research would also benefit if it sought to adjust conventional economic theory to allow space for the special features of African economies. Market theory is misleading in treating private use rights as antithetical to private ownership rights. For example, the suggestion that land tenure in Africa is anti-growth is inconsistent with the spectacular growth China has experienced even without private property rights.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 63273.

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Date of creation: 26 Mar 2015
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:63273
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