Robert Allen (2011): Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction, chapter 7 http://amzn.to/2iloEx6
- What is the "short list" of candidates that are major causes for both the origins and the persistence of deep relative poverty in sub-Saharan Africa?
- Allen attributes a lot of early African underdevelopment to relatively low population density. What, according to Allen, kept population density low in West Africa? In East Africa? In South Africa?
- West Africa saw major medieval empires--Ghana, Mali, Songhay. How does their existence square with Allen's story? Why, in Allen's view, were they not or why did they not trigger the growth of what Allen calls "advanced agricultural civilizations"?
- East Africa had a great deal of contact with the advanced agricultural civilizations of the Indian Ocean basin for a very long time. Why, in Allen's view, did that not trigger the development of what Allen calls "advanced agricultural civilizations"?
- Allen thinks that Africa's poverty today was "baked in the cake" as of 1500--that the "social and economic structure of 1500... determined how the continent responded to globalization and imperialism, and those responses have kept it poor since..." Is this true? How could we find out whether this is true or not?
- Africa developed major exports in the late-nineteenth century--cocoa, oils, precious metals, copper and other metals, coffee, and others. After World War II Zambia was richer and more developed than Portugal. What factors, according to Allen, turned those moves toward export-oriented development that African economies undertook into a trap?