The purpose of this paper is to study the decline of the Tuareg, and explore the emergence of traditional elements of Tuareg culture to circumvent formal barriers to trade.
This paper examines the history of the Tuareg through the lens of the New Development Economics.
This paper examines three elements of past Tuareg wealth: the caravan trade as spontaneous order; the unintended consequences of forced modernization policies under colonization and post-colonial states; and contemporary problems from hindered freedom of trade. The bad news is that the Tuareg are facing impediments from failed states with low economic and political freedom. The good news is that traditional elements in the Tuareg’s entrepreneurial culture are re-emerging to circumvent formal barriers.
The literature on the Tuareg is largely pessimistic, as the Tuareg’s traditions have largely been quashed by post-colonial boundaries and failed states. The New Development Economics offers a new perspective, with two implications. First, there is hope for the Tuareg, and a possible win-win, if the local states adopt a policy of laissez faire and international trade, rather than assimilation or repression. Second, this theoretical lens can be used in other cases throughout Africa (and the world) involving post-colonial borders.
There already exists a rich literature on the Tuareg. This paper uses the New Development Economics to examine the history of the Tuareg’s decline – and to find hope in traditional elements of Tuareg entrepreneurship emerging to circumvent local failed (and predatory) states.
For comments, the authors thank Carrie Kerekes and the participants at the 2016 meeting of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. The usual disclaimer applies.
C. Besenhard, P. and G. Wenzel, N. (2017), "Circumventing the predatory state: Lessons and futures for the Tuareg from the new development economics", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 245-259. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDI-03-2017-0032Download as .RIS
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