Development Strategies in Africa: Current Economic, Socio-Political, and Institutional Trends and Issues

By Aguibou Y. Yansane | Go to book overview

9

Africa in an Emerging World

IBRAHIM GAMBARI


INTRODUCTION: AFRICA IN A CHANGING GLOBAL CONTEXT

It is clear that the international system that emerged at the end of World War II is now collapsing. But what new structures will replace this system are thus far not entirely evident although trends do appear to be emerging. The focus of the present chapter is to indicate the outlines of the emerging world order and to speculate about Africa's position in that order. A look at recent developments in the international system reveals two dominant perspectives. On one hand, There are those who argue that the Cold War is over and the West has won. In other words, that Western liberal democratic free market economies have scored victories, irreversible victories, over centrally planned economies and socialist political systems. The others argue that socialism is not dead; that Third World countries in particular must find a way of trying to combine free market economies with a system that will provide for social justice. In any case, those who also argue for caution would point out that the competitive relationship between the East and the West will continue to be a critical feature of international politics.

To return to the first perspective, it was not long ago in the United States that the very survival of capitalism was believed to be in some doubt, and there was concern expressed in some quarters about the ability of the Soviet Union to "Finlandize" Western Europe. In fact, in the early 1970s, a professor (now a senator from New York) named Daniel Patrick Moynihan recalled the "depression era" thesis that capitalism contains and cultivates the seeds of its own destruction. Not because of the Marxian concept of the inherent contradictions of capitalism, but because the system aided and abetted those who became its very worst enemy: the intellectual class.

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