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Colonialism and Postcolonial Development (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics) 1 , Versión Kindle
|Longitud: 424 páginas||Tipografía mejorada: Activado||Volteo de página: Activado|
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With this abstract model, Mahoney theorized that higher level liberal colonization would generate higher level of economic and social development, while higher level of mercantilist colonization would have the opposite consequences, the “level” being defined as amount of settling colonizers and depth of institutional transplantation. On the other hand, for areas which were initially heavily colonized in mercantilist ways but were later subjected to liberal colonization, different positions in the colonial hierarchy---core, semi-periphery and periphery---could significantly affect the fate of colonies in the years to come. Mahoney argued, and strived to prove with second-hand literatures, that mercantilist colonial periphery which became liberal colonial core, and purely liberal colonies, such as Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela, and British settler colonies, would have higher post-colonial level of economic and social development. Meanwhile, mercantilist colonial core which became liberal colonial periphery, such as Bolivia, Ecuador and parts of early-developing Portuguese Brazil, would stuck in lower level of development. Situations for all other cases would depend on other contingent factors.
Mahoney’s book should be heavily credited for its clear categories, intensity of empirical survey, and incorporation of previously scattered variables into a single, logically self-sustaining framework. In particular, His efforts in taking into account both initial conditions and historical perspectives had produced a model combining high spatial sensitivity with chronological dynamics. Moreover, Mahoney started with relatively simple variables but did not stop there; in later chapters he began to expand his arguments and incorporate more and more contingent factors such as social revolutions and inter-colonial wars before coming back to the initial model. The model developed, while still incomplete, could account for an increasing number of cases while still possessing expansive potentials.
Nevertheless, two problems might have undermined Mahoney’s coherence. The first problem concerns the agency of colonial powers versus colonized areas. Not only was agency almost unitarily assigned only the agency and autonomy assigned to colonized states also appeared to be uneven across time. According to the initial model on Figure 1.1, the more sophisticated and more densely populated areas could be appropriated easily by mercantilist colonial powers, but they were less easily mobilized by liberal colonization. On the other hand, the less sophisticated and scarcely populated areas were usually resistant to mercantilist exploitation, but they could be easily conquered and reshaped by liberal colonial powers. Given that there had been a time lag between the two types of colonization----liberal colonization always came after mercantilist colonization, be it in Spanish America, in Portuguese Brazil or in British colonization in general compared with Spanish and Portuguese colonization---the level of susceptibility of to colonization of particular areas, especially in the Spanish American case, should be more comprehensively accounted for, taking into consideration social changes after initial colonization as well as perceptions of colonization.
The second problem lies in the endogeneity of variables. Mahoney appeared to be take his category of colonization as exogenous, independent variable in his mode. However, significant researches had been done on how metamorphosis of colonialism was related to both importation of resources from existing colonies and inter-state competition in Europe. For example, in the case of Spanish America, Mahoney simply provided dynastic transition as the reason why Spain switched from mercantilist to liberal colonization, without considering how previous colonization in America and inflow of resource to Spain had influenced such changes. British liberal colonization also appeared to be taken for granted without surveying its genesis from previous mercantilist colonization and Britain’s competition against Spanish Empire.
Still, Mahoney’s work remains impressive enough that it should stir a whole new trend of debate on colonialism and post-colonial development.
Mahoney, James. 2010. Colonialism and Post Colonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
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