THE DETERMINANTS OF THE ECONOMIC POLICIES OF STATES IN THE THIRD WORLD: THE AGRARIAN POLICIES OF THE ETHIOPIAN STATE, 1941-1974
Recent developments in the Third World have been marked by the increased interventions of states in their respective economies. These developments raise the problem of explaining the causes for, and the dynamics of, such interventions. In the dissertation, I seek to develop a theoretical framework for explaining the economic policies of Third World States (TWS).
I first argue that the TWS is a variant of the modern state, but with its structure defined by its own unique constitutive social relations. As a modern state, the TWS seeks to maintain, what I have called, its position of relative sovereignty in society, viz, its claim to being the supreme-rule making institution in society, and its claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of force in society. But as these claims of the state are dependent on the size of, and the state's access to, the social surplus, the economic policies of states are best explained, I argue, by the TWS's need to ensure that these conditions are met.
The Third World economy is constituted by different systems of production, and its dynamics is determined by their interaction. I show that this results in specific crises of production that limit the size of the social surplus. Another important determinant of state intervention is thus the political and economic conflicts generated by the unique structure of the Third World economy.
I show the validity of the theoretical approach that I develop by using it to analyze and explain the agrarian policies of the Ethiopian state during the 1941-74 period. I explain the measures that the emergent modern state took during this period--measures that dissolved the pre-war tributary system of social production, and advanced both simple commodity and capitalist systems of production--not in terms of the voluntary modernizing projects of state leaders, but in terms of the imperatives that the state faced in establishing its position of relative sovereignty in society.
0615: Political science