The Cultural Foundations of Economic Development: Urban Female Entrepreneurship in Ghana

The Cultural Foundations of Economic Development: Urban Female Entrepreneurship in Ghana

The Cultural Foundations of Economic Development: Urban Female Entrepreneurship in Ghana

The Cultural Foundations of Economic Development: Urban Female Entrepreneurship in Ghana

Synopsis

Chalmlee-Wright argues that the economics of the Austrian School provide a strong theoretical framework which can introduce cultural analysis into questions of economic development and other market processes.

Excerpt

For any reform to be permanent and enduring, it must be based on and rooted in the principles of the aboriginal institutions.

(John Mensah Sarbah 1901, cited in Langley 1979:98)

The needle you are looking for in the haystack may be right there at your feet.

(Ga proverb, cited in Ayittey 1991: xxxviii)

In his study of indigenous African institutions, George Ayittey (1991) proposes a radical notion. He argues that the principal reason why international aid programs have not met with an acceptable record of success is that imported solutions do not rest upon the indigenous institutions which have emerged over the course of African history. Only solutions based upon indigenous institutions, he argues, will have a lasting positive impact. By disrupting the social and economic fabric of developing economies, international lending institutions may be doing more harm than good. the best way to foster economic development, Ayittey states, is dramatically to reduce rather than increase international aid assistance. a radical proposition, indeed.

If Ayittey is correct, the ramifications for the development disciplines and the international organizations set up to promote economic development are immense. It would require us not only to rethink our strategies for promoting economic development, but also to reconsider what the crucial elements of economic development actually are. Society’s particular institutions and their cultural context become focal points for development analysts. the introduction of the new institutional economics into development theory has contributed a great deal to our understanding of how and why social institutions, such as property rights, credit institutions, law,

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