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Article
Capital and the Congo
Anthropology Faculty Publications
  • Alvin W. Wolfe
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
1-1-1966
Keywords
  • supranational system,
  • Congo economy,
  • Societe General de Belgique,
  • Tanganyika Concessions,
  • Rhodesian Selection Trust,
  • De Beers Consolidated Mines,
  • Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa,
  • British South Africa Company
Abstract

Describes ways in which the "Congo Economy" was completely embedded within the supranational system. Shows how the firm, Societe General de Belgique, "cam to control a much larger segment of Congo industry than their risk, in terms of actual capital investment, warranted" (p.368). In consequence, "this Belgian company is in a stronger position than its investment warrants in the supranational system of mining enterprises that involves such giants as Tanganyika Concessions, Rhodesian Selection Trust, De Beers Consolidated Mines, Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa, and the British South Africa company" (p. 368).

Comments

Although it was not published until 1966, the paper entitled Capital and the Congo was originally presented in 1963, at the Fourth International Conference of the American Society of African Culture, held at Howard University, Washington, D.C.. In 1966 it was included in Southern Africa in Transition, edited by John A. Davis and James K. Baker (Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers). The decision to publish the papers in 1966 “because of their value for understanding what is currently happening in Southern Africa.”

This paper is printed essentially as it was presented to the conference in April, 1963, and then published in 1966..Betweem those years, the re-entry of Moise Tshombe, replacing Cyrille Adoula as Prime Minister of the Congo, has not invalidated anything in the paper. Those subsequent events may help the reader to appreciate even more one point of the paper that any government beholden to foreign powers, public or private, is certain to generate considerable opposition within its own territory and will thus be unable to organize for self-sustaining growth. After this paper was written, the United States and Belgium (under American prodding) involved themselves even more directly in the Congo, beginning with technical military assistance, then arms, planes, and pilots, and finally the well-publicized paratroop attacks on Stanleyville and Paulis that ensured the defeat of the anti-Tshombe forces in that area. The only action of the Tshombe government aimed at changing the system of external control over capital was the decree of November 29, 1964, dissolving the Comite Special du Katanga and declaring that all its rights and properties became the rights and properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. No real consequences have flowed from this declaration, and even through 1965 there was no real change in the administration of any of the operating companies.

Citation Information
Wolfe, Alvin W. "Capital and the Congo." Southern Africa in Transition." Eds. John A. Davis and James K. Baker. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966. 362-377.