and even rapid development of agricultural export

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Unformatted text preview: on (last point..) and even rapid development of agricultural export economies in the late 19th century, such as the Ghanaian cocoa boom. What about the failure to use the plow or the wheel in West Africa. This might have been because it was a latitude speci…c technology, unsuited to the soils and environment of West Africa, but it might just have been another failure. The incidence of trypanosomiasis meant that goods had to be carried by porters in the forest zone because pack animals could not survive. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 5, 2009 6 / 25 The parasite that causes sleeping sickness is called the trypanosome. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of a tsetse fly of the genus Glossina: Technological Puzzles The wheel was certainly known about and used in North Africa and early trans-Saharan trade, at least in the Roman period. Dahomey and Borno had wheeled ceremonial carriages. Allan McPhee suggested in 1926 (The Economic Revolution in British West Africa) that the non-adoption of the wheel in sub-Saharan Africa was due to the absence of draught animals caused by the tsetse ‡y. But wheels not used even where there were such animals. Domesticated Camel entered North Africa in …rst century BC. After the collapse of Rome the trans-Saharan caravan trade had re-started on a regular basis by the 8th century using Camels. Richard Bulliet (The Camel and the Wheel ) showed that the introduction of the Camel roughly coincided with the disappearance of the wheel in the Sahel. By the 15th century West Africans came into regular contact with wheel using Europeans. Hopkins concludes roads were too expensive to build, and using wheeled vehicles not economical without roads. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 5, 2009 7 / 25 Hopkins on African Poverty Hopkins does a very good job of showing that historically there was a functioning market economy in West Africa which performed very well in many dimensions (long distance t...
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