Anthropologist Clough explores non-capitalist accumulation in West Africa, showing how it leads to wealth in people as well as in things. He finds three kinds of accumulation woven into a distinctive trajectory: expansion in the number of wives and children, the search for ever more clients and trading friends, and the accumulation of capital. He chose Hausaland for his study, he explains, because the depth of its historical records shows a long-term potential for locally based growth and change in agriculture, because it has been the subject of classic studies of African logics, and because it displays thriving trade between different rural ecological zones. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The land, labor, credit, and trading institutions of Marmara village, in Hausaland, northern Nigeria, are detailed in this study through fieldwork conducted in two national economic cycles - the petroleum-boom prosperity (in 1977-1979), and the macro-economic decline (in 1985, 1996 and 1998). The book unveils a new paradigm of economic change in the West African savannah, demonstrating how rural accumulation in a polygynous society actually limits the extent of inequality while at the same time promoting technical change. A uniquely African non-capitalist trajectory of accumulation subordinates the acquisition of capital to the expansion of polygynous families, clientage networks, and circles of trading friends. The whole trajectory is driven by an indigenous ethics of personal responsibility. This model disputes the validity of both Marxian theories of capitalist transformation in Africa and the New Institutional Economics.