Of Persons and Things Some Reflections on African Spheres of by Charles Piot

By Charles Piot

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Neopatrimonial systems tend to favor consumption over investment, they produce unsustainable economic policies, and they systematically underinvest in institutional capacity, which threatens power holders. Neopatrimonialism combined 16 Introduction in Africa with a weak civil society and few partlClpatory traditions, a colonial legacy most of the first generation of rulers found useful to maintain. Chapter 4 then shows how these dynamics have conditioned the state's response to the emergence of crisis in the 1970s.

See Richard Sandbrook, The Politics of Africa's Economic Recovery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, I993), pp. 106-13. 26. Jeffrey Herbst, State Politics in Zimbabwe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Tor Skalnes, The Politics of Economic Reform in Zimbabwe (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995); and Michael Bratton, "The Comrades and the Countryside: The Politics of Agricultural Policy in Zimbabwe," World Politics 39, no. 2 (1987): 174-202. 27. See Jeffrey Herbst and Adebayo Olukoshi, "Nigeria: Economic and Political Reforms at Cross Purposes," in Stephan Haggard and Steven B.

31 In an analysis that could be generalized to much of Africa, Tripp has convincingly shown that informal networks in Tanzania have thwarted the state in certain areas of social and economic policy. Thousands of traders have ignored state attempts to regulate and limit informal trading in Dar es Salaam, forcing the government to admit to effective liberalization of the sector. ,,33 There can be little doubt that societies take advantage of the gap between the African state's policy ambitions and its capacity to carry them out.

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