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Week 2 Readings and Discussion: Pitcher, Transforming Mozambique

Page history last edited by Zenobia Jeffries 14 years, 8 months ago

Book: Pitcher, Anne M.  2002. Transforming Mozambique : The Business of Privatization, 1975-2000.   Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

LC Call Number: HC890 -- .P58 2002eb, ISBN: 9780521820110 9780511055379

Availability: http://encore.lib.wayne.edu/iii/encore/record/C|Rb2964732|Spitcher+mozambique|Orightresult?lang=eng&suite=pearl





Questions:  a) The author makes reference to the neo-liberals quite frequently.  Who are the neo-liberals?  Why does Anne Pitcher make reference to this group as though they portray the progress of democratization as somewhat less that realistic?  ...Sebrina


I operationalize neo-liberals to mean those folks who embrace the classic liberal economic view in the modern age of globalization. (A quick Google search reveals that this brief definition is generally accepted, although much more can be said.)  Unless I am mistaken (someone please correct me if so), this has little relation with how we use the term "liberal" in everyday, political vernacular, especially here in the USA. According to Pitcher, many of the forces for privatization in the book are using neo-liberal policies in their methods, and I assume this being referenced by using the term throughout the book.

- Cameron


According to our class discussion, Cameron's comment regarding the term neo-liberalism having little relation to what Westeners consider liberal is correct. If I understood correctly, supporters of neo-liberalism believe in less governmental control regarding both the economy and cultural factors. As a result of shifting governmental control, neo-liberals believe the state should act in partnership with the private sector - encourage and regulate it, but not intervene (p4). The neo-liberal supporters' view of "good governance," instead, belives that government spending should focus on broader issues, such as offering basic services including education, health care, infrastructure and environmental protection (p3). In response to Sebrina's question, it seems Pitcher makes reference to the group as though they portray the progress of democratization as somewhat less realistic because of "transformative preservation." According to Pitcher, the socialist period's influence on the emerging market economy was greater than ideal for neo-liberals. Unsuprisingly, government officials became managers of new enterprises and former structural arrangements/social networks continued (p6). Therefore, the neo-liberal's view of close-to-complete government withdrawal was unrealistic.



1 The reconfiguration of the interventionist state after independence



Although the Mozambique state attempted nationalization of the private sector upon independence, it is clear the mission failed in its first two years. Pitcher explains the state lacked capacity and experience as well as felt fear toward the consequences of taking over foreigners' assets, but detail lacks as to how some private companies were able to dominate and why others resorted to abandoning their companies/fleeing. How did the state determine which foreign companies would stay and which would be forced to leave? How did these companies impact the more aggressive state intervention Frelimo initiated after 1977? How do they impact Mozambique today?



2 Demiurge ascending: high modernism and the making of Mozambique

Questions:When reading this chapter, I wondered why the Frelimo leadership, in its quest toward modernism did not look at other transformative efforts of other African countries to help in transitioning rural communities (especially in terms of traditions and cultural norms)?


On page 70, Pitcher mentions that Marxism-Leninism had to compete ideologically with the goals of nationalism and modernism.  While I understand what is being stated in this section/chapter, I feel that I need further understanding of Marxism and Leninism, as these two schools of thought are mentioned in other chapters as well. I understand the basics of these theories, but need help sorting out the details and the history as to how they are connected. 

3 State sector erosion and the turn to the market



The Fourth Frelimo Party Congress of 1983 resulted in the government wanting state companies to make profit and to cut costs. They then began to decentralize several state farms and gave local management greater autonomy to make decisions about the inputs, workforce, production, and planning. With the changes beginning towards privatization, how/what effects and measures did the World Bank and Western countries enforce to influence Mozambique?







4 A privatizing state or a statist privatization?

Questions:  Being a complete novice in political science, I found myself wondering (and wandering) through the chapter as Pitcher discussed the state's position in relation to investors, as well as her (I guess it's an) argument against dependency and "recolonization" theorists (which is also threaded throughout the text).  On page 150, she states "the government can afford to be selective about the type of investor it wants," to oppose the idea (or argument) of a monopolization of foreign capital. She explains that the government cancels proposals if it doesn't find the terms attractive; it negotiates hard for the inclusion of nationals; and it is tough on the condition of payment.  However, earlier on she states that investors were reluctant to invest in Mozambique despite the fact that the government was quite soft on the terms of payment for privatized companies.... It would seem that if the government had the upperhand as Pitcher infers, this would not be the case.  So, my question, I guess, is with the contradictions within, as well as the inconsistency the author describes of the government how strong of a government can they be to "afford" to be this selective?"  I feel like maybe I'm not understanding thoroughly this point of view.  From the little that I know about the current government (via Pitcher) they don't have much power, except when it's to their own detriment.  ~Zenobia


5 Continuities and discontinuities in manufacturing



6 Capital and countryside after structural adjustment



In the conclusion to the last chapter Pitcher notes that “the state has played pervasive, complex, and contradictory role.” This theme is scattered throughout the book, notably in the last 4 chapters. Pitcher consistently points out the dual roles of the state, yet it is difficult for me to tell if the author is passing judgement on this situation. What is the conclusion in this regard? Is this good or bad? Pitcher seems to point to both. Obviously, these connections between the state and private sectors are “interactions of history;” but what is the consequence?


I am not sure that I could expect anything different from a country that has begun its privatization and democratization process so recently. Is this not a natural progression in the steps of democratization? Pitcher does reference Romania and Hungary, but I am curious if what is taking place is a function of the process, rather than the particular cases. 

 - Cameron 




Comments (1)

Zenobia Jeffries said

at 10:43 pm on Sep 8, 2009

My challenge with Pitcher's work is not so much the content but rather the context (or perspective/standpoint) in which it's written. From the onset (the Introduction) the tone of the research takes on a condescending tone toward FRELIMO. I'm at a disadvantage in pointing out specifics (page numbers that is) because for whatever reason I cannot access the e-book (and therefore my notes taken there). However, I've noticed that Pitcher takes every opportunity to exacerbate what she's identified as somewhat ineffectual attempts of FRELIMO's leadership. Her identification of FRELIMO's skills or as she implies "the lack thereof" pretty much strips the liberation organization/government of its power and symbolism of liberation. No doubt a new government coming into power will have some stumbles along the way but there is no balance in Pitcher's research that rightfully credits FRELIMO for their victory. Also, (again I cannot remember the page number at this point---ordered the paperback and should have tomorrow for class to be more accurate) she significantly down plays (in my opinion) the role racism played and continued to play once FRELIMO came into power. As I can recall, at one point it's mentioned but brushed over. I'm expecting as I read the final chapters that maybe some noticeable balance will come along. It seems that in unbiased research, a reader should not be able to witness an obvious slant toward a particular view point.

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