chapter  One
228 Pages

Introduction

BySandra T. Barnes

This chapter introduces attention to the people of an African city who began at the bottom of their society's structure of power, acquired resources, and developed political skills. Additionally, the creation of new nations transformed the way in which economic power was distributed. Before the colonial period, wealth, as reflected by the standard of living, was fairly equally distributed. This pattern was altered when colonial powers placed the control of economic resources in the hands of the colonial state and, in so doing, reversed the Marxist proposition that control of political institutions derived from control of the major economic resources. The client paradigm thus provides a powerful tool for examining and explaining one style of political interaction. The Weberian view is that client-dominated political systems are a transitional stage in the development of governments from patrimonial to bureaucratic.