Wednesday 3 December 2014


Third world countries were dominated by colonial masters during the early years of their existence, the colonial masters in search for new colonies and new markets to sell their products which were as a result of over production of goods at the industrial revolution. Colonial masters came to Africa and other third world countries of Asia, and Latin America. They colonized our territories, dominated everything including the mode of production, also they decided the types of goods we should produce; that is African states were only meant to produce cash crops or raw materials which were taken to their home countries and refined in those countries, this raw materials were used to develop their countries at the detriment of African states and other third world countries.
 However in the 1950s and the 1960s when African countries and other third world countries started gaining independence from their colonial masters, people celebrated that at least we could enjoy our own freedom and government dominated by people who will serve our interest. But as time went on, it dawned on us that we are still under some of control by the colonial masters, this time a new form or advance method of domination called Neo-colonialism. The colonial masters after departing our lands still left behind structures, institutions and authorities. Also they built a ruling class called the comprador bourgeoisie, so this time they dominated us through the comprador bourgeoisie set up by them to continue their activities of exploitation. Neo colonialism means new colonialism, that is it is the new form of colonialism, it is the domination of a country through indirect means such as loans from International Monetary Fund (I.M.F) and World Bank to third world countries, multi-national co-operations e.t.c it is the exploitation without redress (Nkrumah, 1974).
 In this work, our discussion will be on the concept of neo-colonialism, the explanation of third world countries, origin of Neo colonialism, the characteristics of Neo colonialism, the negative and positive impacts of Neo colonialism, before going down to give our final conclusions and reference
The Concept of Neo-Colonialism
Neo colonialism is a critical concept in the study and understanding and analysis of African politics in particular and in its subject matter of political science in general. The concept of Neo colonialism is not new to any political scientist; it has been subjected to much analysis and commentary by different scholars at different times. However we shall attempt a definition presented by some scholars.
 According to the dictionary of political economy, Neo colonialism is taken to mean “a system of economic political, military and other relations imposed by the imperialist states on the developing countries in order to keep them within the framework of the capitalist economic system (Votkov, 1981), it is further explained that Neo colonialism is based on the economic backwardness, unequal and dependent state of Neo colonial countries within the scheme of the world capitalist economic and political systems. Two major material base of the Neo colonialism are identified as: one, the Neo colonial states belong to the system of the international capitalist division of labour. And in being so, they remain economically dependent on imperialist/metropolitan powers. Two foreign finance capitals, in terms of imperialist monopolies retain important positions in the vital economic sectors of the Neo colonial states.
 On the other hand, M.B. Brown sees Neo colonialism as the “survival of the colonial system in spite of formal recognition of political independence in emerging countries, which became the victims of an indirect and subtle form of domination by political, economic, social, military or technical forces” (Brown, 1978). As an aspect of imperialism, Neo colonialism involves continuing economic dependence on the former colonial countries, superficial integration of the Neo colonial countries into Neo colonial and socio economic blocs and “infiltration” through foreign capital investments, aid and technical partnerships.
 Another definition we consider relevant here is that given by late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Nkruma defines neo colonialism to mean “the worst form of imperialism” he added that it means it is exploitation without redress. (Nkruma, 1978)
Third World Nations
The name third world nations are a collective name for most of the nations of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Many of which share a colonial past and are variously termed as developing, less developed or least developed countries. They support about 75 percent of the world’s population but consume only 20 percent of its resources and are generally characterized by.
(1)   Slow pace of industrialization
(2)   Low to very low levels of per-capita income
(3)   New literacy levels but high rate of population growth
(4)   Poor health facilities and transport infrastructure
(5)   Dependence on agricultural and commodity exports as main foreign exchange earners.
The concept was coined in the 1950’s by French writer Alfred Sauvy, it was originally used in the cold war era (1945-1989) to distinguish non-aligned nations from western capitalist economies aligned with the United states (first world) and the eastern communist economies aligned with the USSR (the second world) Bhatia; 1978)
Theoretical Framework
Dependency theory is to be used in this work because it seems to provide the best framework for this study. This is because it vividly explains how the third world countries and Nigeria in particular are economically dependent in the western world. It was as a reaction to the modernization theory that this theory came about. This theory was principally propounded by scholars of the third world countries, scholars like: Paul Baran, Dos Santos, Andre Gunder Frank and Samin Amin among others.
According to Dos Santos (1979):
Dependency relates to a situation which the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of the other to which the former is subjected .The relation of inter dependence between two or more economies, and between these and the world trade, assumes the form of dependence when some countries the dominant ones which are the capitalist nations like America can expand and can be self-sustaining while other countries the dependent ones like Nigeria can do this only as a reflection  of expansion which can have either a negative or positive effect on their immediate development.
The basic assumption is that there is a dialectical relationship between development and underdevelopment. In the words of Andre Frank (1975) “Development and under development are two different sides of a universal historical process.” To him what causes under development in third world is as a result of what brought about development in Europe and America. This dependency concerns the center which refers to the technological and industrial advanced countries of the world and the periphery refers to the third world countries, also, when looking at this theoretical framework we talk about the center of the center which refers to the urban areas of the world.
Baran argued that the backward countries were characterized by dual economies, that is, a large agricultural sector and a small industrialized sector. Thus profit margins and the potentials to generate economic surplus from agricultural sector are still minimum. Amin also argued that the relationship between the center and the periphery is characterized by an unequal exchange in the international system. Although they are differences between the leading scholars most of them tried to identify external factors to explain the backward economies of the third world relating it to the developed world. This theory is going to explain the cause of dependency in the third world countries and thereby tracing it back to the developed economies (Garry, 1998).
Origin of Neo Colonialism
Neo colonialism could be traced to the political history of the origin and development of capitalism and imperialism respectively. In the same manner, colonialism is closely associated with capitalism and imperialism. Historically, it is right to state that capitalism, imperialism and neo colonialism are three sides of the same triangle, they are originally intertwined. It will be noteworthy to point that the capitalist era of mercantilism marked the origin of foreign trade, commerce and the role of the state in the whole process of capitalist expansion and the development outside its immediate environment.
 Neo-colonialism is a direct offshoot of colonialism in its classical sense. However, it does not follow that neo-colonialism could only exist in the ex-colonial territories. Such countries as Liberia, Egypt and Ethiopia that suffer from neo-colonial activities today did not pass through former colonial experience as other territories in Africa did. As a modern equivalent of decayed colonialism, “imperialist stage of capitalist expansion and development on a global scale marked the historical origin of neo-colonialism. The search for external sources of and profits by individual merchants and later transitional cooperation from western capitalist centres culminated into direct seizure of foreign lands through conquest and military operations. Such imperialist operations and adventures resulted into formal colonization of territories and peoples worldwide. In most cases, the major political, economic and socio-cultural ideas, beliefs, norms, values, practices, structures and institutions, introduced or establish by the respective colonial imperialist powers were not dismantled at independence. Neo-colonialism operates through the various imperialist or colonialist links earlier established by capitalist powers before and during the era of colonialism. Therefore, the historical origin of neo-colonialism is firmly entrenched in the political history of capitalism, imperialism and colonialism (Garry, 1998).
 The following are the features or characteristics of neo-colonialism.
Survival of Colonial Structures and Values: In any colonial state one finds that most of the imperialist structures and institutions continued to be strengthened rather than being decisively dismantled. Such institutions or structures include the bureaucracy, the military, the police, the legal system, the economy, the educational system and the pattern of foreign relations. All these tend to follow the pattern direction and dimension established during the colonial rule, with minor medication, which in most cases are superficial.
Foreign Investment/Aid
Neo-colonial powers infiltrate into the politics and economies of neo-colonial countries through such things as foreign investment and foreign aid. Severe conditionality’s are imposed by a net power of imperialist/neo-colonialist financial monopolies on specific financial assistance sought by neo-colonial countries. Such conditionality’s and strings usually attached to certain loans and aid often render the receiving neo-colonial states subservient to the imperialist donor powers. Nigeria has often been referred or described as a subservient neo-colonial state.    
Intermittent political instability, economic crisis and social dislocation are yet another feature. Many neo-colonial states display fragile political structures and processes, resulting into political and economic chaos. Countries such as Ghana, Kenya and a host of them in Africa continue to experience the crisis of neo-colonialism.
Dependency and Distorted Development
 Any form of development that takes place in a neo-colonial country is usually distorted and superficial as a result of the dependent nature of a neo-colonial economy. The nature, scope spate and dimensions of development initiated by neo-colonial countries are teleguided and controlled by the forces of international imperialist finance capital. The international division of labour and the pattern of trade/commercial relations between the neo-colonial states and the international capitalist powers are in favour of the latter. This is because the neo-colonial states have no control over international capitalist markets operate on global scale.
 There is usually a competitive economic environment where the neo-colonial states strive to increase or promote the national character of the state economy while the neo-colonialist powers strive harder to strengthen the superficial international character of the same economy; thereby keeping it at the peripheral levels of world capitalist economy. This reinforces the dependent nature of a neo-colonial economy.
 The struggle for a self reliant economic system and a virile democratic polity in neo-colonial states remain endless as a result of the multidimensional obstacles already posed by the forces of imperialism and for neo-colonialism
Negative Effect of Neo­-Colonialism
The negative effects of neo-colonialism among states are obvious. Politically, a neo-colonial country often finds it extremely difficult to establish a viable, stable and virile democratic polity. This is because the bourgeoisie ruling elites of neo-colonial states lack the capacity and the political will for embarking on a genuine autonomous political development after the granting of political independence.
  Economically, the neo-colonial economies are susceptible to imperialist manipulations and distortions emanating from the centres of international capitalist economies. The involvement of transitional co-operations and other multilateral capitalist agencies in the economic activities of neo-colonial states to exercise any meaningful control over their economic resources (Garry, 1998).
 The populace in any neo-colonial state experiences exploitation and the marginalization by two parts. These are the internal and the external parts. Internally, the emergent bourgeoisie ruling and business as well as traditional elites are engaged in primitive accumulation to the detriment of the generality of the populace. In some cases, the intra-elite scramble for political powers and economic positions result into severe crisis, and at times civil wars. Nigeria is a good example of this.
 Neo-colonialism exploit third world nations through comprador bourgeoisie left behind by them, this comprador bourgeoisie only serve the selfish interest of the neo-colonialist without putting that of their home countries at heart. The neo-colonialist exploits them through Multi-national Corporation.
 Externally, the metropolitan neo-colonialist powers penetrate into the neo-colonialist economy through the indigenous bourgeoisie, who serve as commission agents and the transnational co-operations to exploit the state and the people indigenous elites, neo-colonialist collaboration in this strategy of dual exploitation and distortion of the economies of neo-colonial countries have continued unabated to most African states since independence. This act of un-patriotism perpetuated by the emergent African ruling class has been aided by the neo-colonialist environment created and strengthened by imperialist powers and their agencies throughout the continent of Africa.
To Lynn (2011), the timeline of imperialism right from the slave trade period to the global age accounts for “Enforced dependency”. This is a form of reliance upon external resources or externally created conditions. For such dependency to function as enforced dependency it must, once established, progressively undermine the self-sufficiency and resilience of the dependent person, community, institution, or government, making the dependent party increasingly vulnerable to exploitation. The “enforcement” of enforced dependency derives from the increasingly dangerous and or destabilizing results that would entail from severing the dependent relationship. Under conditions of enforced dependency, the resiliency of the dependent party diminishes progressively over time. Typically, dependent parties are also progressively co-opted into supporting the system of enforced dependency upon which they have come to rely, even as the system progressively robs them of freedom, independence, and resiliency. As the dependency deepens, the social power of dominant people, institutions, or governments who provide there sources or create the conditions that enforce dependency increases relative to dependent parties. Dominant parties may increasingly constrain the decisions and actions of dependent parties in order to enhance their opportunities to gain material and financial wealth and increase their social power.

In conclusion we can say that neo-colonialism has brought negative effects on third world countries more than how it has contributed to the growth of the economies of third world countries. Economically third world nations have been left in worse possible conditions after independence through neo-colonial activities of their former colonies.
 However we can recommend that in order for third world nations to develop and escape the domination of their former colonial masters, they should first of all dismantle all colonial structures left behind by the colonial masters, also the comprador bourgeoisie should show high level of patriotism by not exploiting their own nations and taking the resources to foreign lands of their former colonies which are been used in developing their regions at the detriment of third world nations, they should be able to convert their resources into finished products and also encourage infant industries to produce massively so they can rival foreign goods.     
Andre F. G. (1975) On Capitalist Underdevelopment. Boulbay: Oxford University Press
Bhatia, H. (1978), History of Economic Thought.  New Delhi.  Viktas publishing house.
Brown, M. B. (1978), Economics of Imperialism. London: Penguin Books.
Garry B. (1998) Globalisation: Confronting fear about Open Trade, Washington DC. Brookings Institute Press
Lynn, E. (2011), Understanding the Political Economy of Enforced Dependency in the Globalized World: Prescott; Prescott College Press.
Nkrumah, K. (1974), Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism,  London, Panaf Publishers.
Volkov, M. I. (ed) (1981), A Dictionary of political Economy, Moscow. Progress  Publishers.

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