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Discuss the main pillars of the Marxist political economy. What is the relevance of Marxism to the social transformation of African Countries?

Dimmelmeier, Pürckhauer & Shah (2016) identifies the Marxist political economy as comprising an integrative analysis of the economy, society and politics. In addition, the authors identify the interdependence that evolves historically. The dynamics of labour and capital lead to class struggle.

The main pillars of the Marxist political economy are economic democracy and political democracy, these must move in tandem. Marxist Political economy results in analysis of socioeconomic interactions and conflicts thereof.

The Marxist political economy seeks to settle class struggle. It analyses class struggle through historical materialism and dialectic materialism. By advocating for a classless society, the Marxist Political economy seeks to protect labourers and push for equality.

The Marxist political economy admonishes private property. It recommends collective ownership or state ownership. This will solve the issue of exploitation as the labourers are isolated and marginalised.

The Marxist Political economy advocates for fair remuneration, to avoid industrialists from exploiting the reserve labour force. Legislation regarding minimum wages and working hours attempts to protect labourers from exploitation.

The Marxist political economy advocated for progressive taxation. In addition, it posits inheritance should be taxed. This will stem accumulation as there will be future resources used for exploitation.

Through humanism, the Marxist Political economy seeks to protect the vulnerable and the environment. There are achieved through state intervention by way of legislation.

The Relevance of Marxism to the social transformation of African counties

The colonial period witnessed a period of forceful eviction of the indigenous society form their land. This isolation created a class of discontented Africans who challenged the settlers. The struggle for land and authority led to the fight for independence in Africa.

The post-colonial period witnessed the rise of a group of African elites that comprised of individual who had schooled abroad and were at the forefront of reaping from the struggle for independence. Some African leaders adopted the Marxist ideologies. However, the ideologies were often modified to suite their self-interests. For instance, the adoption of single party states in Angola and Zaire (DRC).

The post-colonial period also witnessed a surge in military coup d’état. These were manifestations of class struggles. Social transformations for instance in Nigeria were witnessed as a result of Marxism and the opposition to the new breed of African elitists.

The recent Arab Spring in North Africa is attributable to Marxism, to a limited extent. Achcar (2014) observes that the popular uprising in North Africa were more political than full social revolution in some countries. From an economic point of view, he identifies rampant unemployment, poverty and inequality due to monarchs as catalysts to the labor relations and class conflicts.

However, despite the appeal of Marxism in Africa, the existence of Marxism in Africa is infinitesimal, Cowell (1983), mainly due to the demise of USSR, upset of socialists like Nkrumah in Ghana and a general failure of the socialist experiment in Africa like Mozambique. In addition, variants of Marxism in Africa like Ujamaa, Harambee and scientific socialism lead to a lack of clear cut Marxism.

Outline the Fundamental arguments of the Keynesian economics. How had the Keynesianism influenced both economic and political parties in Africa?

Jahan et al (2014) indicate that the central idea to Keynesian economic is that the government intervention can stabilize the economy. Keynesian economics provided solutions to the Great depression of 1930’s, at a time when current economic theory failed to provide such solutions. Classical economics advocated for free markets that automatically brought back the economy to full employment.

Akerlof (2005) observes that early Keynesian economists developed major components of their model from consumption function, investment function, and price and wage equations from intuition. Keynesianism argues that aggregate demand can be stimulated by both public and private decisions. The labor market maybe inefficient due to rigidities for instance minimum wages thus the economy cannot elf regulate back to full employment. In the short run, increase in government spending would spur increase in real output and employment rather that increase in prices.

From this premise, Keynesian economists advocated for increased government spending to spur aggregate demand. Thus the government should engage in expansionary fiscal policy to stabilize the labor market and drive it towards full employment.

Influence of Keynesianism in Africa

Keynesianism in Africa is greatly evident from the number of public corporations in Africa. However, there has been a shift from public corporations to privatization. In Kenya the government has privatised some corporations for instance

Public spending in Africa has increase, indicating the influence of Keynesianism in Africa. Governments spend on various sectors of the economy to spur growth and in some instances to stabilize the economy. However, inefficiency in government sending has been observed especially during power transition.

Bruton (1996) in a World Bank Report concludes that government intervention can help meet the objective of routine functioning to generate sustained growth. Specifically, the report identifies that factors of productivity can be raised through taxation, regulation, exchange rate and exchange rate policies.

Budget deficit in Africa can be traced back to Keynesianism. There has been aggressive borrowing by African states in recent times. African states have justified their borrowing by investing in infrastructure and capital intensive sectors.

The influence of Keynesian economics in Africa is however waning off as there are some concerns regarding debt and consumption led growth. Current African economists are instead advocating for efficient and investment and industrialization-led models of the economy as clearly highlighted by Wagacha (2017).

Political parties in Africa campaign on platforms of development. Political parties have crafted their manifestos on the backdrop of increased government spending on health, education, infrastructure and employment. These investments require government spending to take off. The pledges from politicians are attractive to a low income electorate that comprises the largest population. This has led to the advent of free education, free health care and increased infrastructural spending in some countries.