The political economy of development and decline in Ghana (1895-1992)

Quartey, S.K., 2019. The political economy of development and decline in Ghana (1895-1992). PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The search for a sustainable Sub-Saharan 'developmental state' stands as one of the most cherished alternative models for economic transformation proposed by those who would question the neoliberal trajectory of African political economy in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although the particular example of Ghana offers an archetypal case study, scholarship contributions on this subject are surprisingly quiet or limited in their scope or level of analysis particularly in the so-called Fordist or pre-neoliberal era. This thesis was written as a response to this lacuna and aims to unravel the historical problems of underdevelopment in Ghana within a particular time-frame (1895-1992), offer theoretical interpretations, and suggest the need for fresh appreciation of development-based state strategies. Its overarching objective was to address the question of protracted economic underdevelopment in Ghana and understand why it has been resistant to a number of development efforts by both colonial and post-colonial governments utilising both state-based and market-based strategies. The purpose is to bring the past to life in order to generate historically relevant approaches to African political economy.

In this thesis a theoretically-informed and historically-embedded approach is used to examine theories of the capitalist state, production process and development models in relation to the political economy of Ghana 1895-1992. By adopting a longitudinal comparative historicist analysis the study is able to investigate more than one subject of interest over many historical junctures. It critically examines the development efforts of three distinct state forms and the roles played in production, trade, distribution and development. This method of examining development under distinct state forms is relevant because it was essentially the state that conditioned economic development in the Fordist era under discussion. Rather than first constructing theory to explain history, this thesis thus utilise history as the vehicle for understanding why particular theoretical approaches to development in Ghana arose and then fell. The intent is not so much to model for the future but to understand the conditions and potentialities of the present through appreciation of the past. In this direction a desk-based research was used with data gathered from a wide-range of archival information from the Public Record Office in London, National Archives in Accra, Hansard online resources, African Studies Centre resources, newspaper publications, journal articles, books, World Bank reports and British online archives.

The outcome of the study identifies distinct trends in Ghanaian development across the colonial and post-colonial periods: from a colonial strategy of development dependency 1895-1956, to an import-substitution industrialization strategy 1957-1966, finishing with the more market-directed developments from 1967-1992, that finally ushered in the contemporary neo-liberal era. This interpretivist and historical method enable theoretical mapping of three distinct attempts at creating Ghanaian versions of the ‘development state’ that provide a clear and distinct analysis of efforts to modernise the political economy of Ghana, explain Ghana’s underdevelopment, and in so doing bring back politics into economics in order to make an original contribution to knowledge. It is hoped that policy makers, development partners, and scholars can learn from Africa in the same way they think and learn from the dramatic successes of East Asia.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Quartey, S.K.
Date: May 2019
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 07 Apr 2021 14:10
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:04

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