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Department of Psychology


This thesis discusses the integration of' colonial Ghana into the world trading network between 1886 and 1939. It attempts to explain the underdevelopment of Ghana's economy as a result of her subjection to a system of economic and political imperialism. Ghana's contact with Britain resulted in a situation in which, although her trade economy "developed," her economic potential, as well as the potential for development of her trading and entrepreneurial classes, was thwarted. While three groups, namely the expatriate businessmen, the expatriate Government, and the African elite, interacted in the setting of economic policies, generally speaking the policies were set by Government for the benefit of the expatriate oligopolists. In response to what they perceived as exploitation, Ghanaians organized protests and boycotts both against the Government and against the European firms with whom they dealt as producers end consumers.

The thesis, then, is organized around various aspects of Ghana's economic situation between 1886 and 1939 which help to explain her underdevelopment within the world economy. Chapter I summarizes her role in the world economic system prior to 1886. Chapter III elaborates on the development of Ghana's role as a producer of primary products and a consumer of manufactured goods; in short, her "peripheralization." Chapter IV deals with the progressive oligopolization of the Ghanaian economy; the takeover of trade, shipping and banking by European firms, the various agreements in restraint of trade which were in force in the colony, and their effects on indigenous businessmen. Chapters 'l and VI deal with the co-operation between the British economic and political elites in Ghana and the effects which this co-operation had on economic policy; specifically on transport policy, the introDuction of modern currency, investment policies, and Govemment's feeble attempts at crop diversification and quality control. Chapters II and VII discuss two movements of African resistance to foreign economic control which roughly coincide with the beginning and the end of the period, and which indicate the extent of African opposition: Chapter II is concerned with the attempted institution of a Crown Lands Bill which would have removed ownership of land from African hands, and Chapter VII is concerned with the two large boycotts of European cocoa-buying firms which took place in 1930-31 and 1937-38. The concluding chapter considers the underdevelopment of Ghana and the thwarting of her possibilities for indigenous capitalist growth in the light of the research presented in the preceding chapters.

The purpose of the thesis is to describe the underdevelopment of colonial Ghana in such a way as to have meaning for scholars unfamiliar with Ghana, or indeed, Africa, and to situate Ghana within the "world systems" school of analysis of underdevelopment.