From 1815 to 1914, European centralized nation-states, particularly Britain and France, established colonial domination over Africa and South East Asia. Vast new regions of the world were peripheralized, so that the modern world-economy became truly global in scope.
South East Asia was incorporated into the periphery of the modern world-economy during the nineteenth century. During this period, many of the agricultural and handicraft systems of South East Asia were destroyed. Its land was converted into the production of raw materials for export to Europe. And the region was forced to import European manufactured goods, leading to the destruction of its traditional handicraft systems. The unequal rate of exchange between European manufactured goods and South East Asian raw materials promoted the development of Europe and the underdevelopment of South East Asia (Frank 1979:149).
The industry and village handicrafts of the Arab world were destroyed during the period. When Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire, Mohammed Ali attempted to stimulate national and industrial development. ButEgypthad insufficient political autonomy within the Ottoman Empire to establish the necessary tariff protection. When Egypt fell under British rule, its de-industrialization continued. Lord Carver, who governed Egypt between 1883 and 1907, observed, "Some quarters [of Cairo] that formerly used to be veritable centers of varied industries -spinning, weaving, ribbon making, dyeing, tent making, embroidery, shoemaking, jewelry making, spice grinding, copper work have shrunk considerably or vanished" (quoted in Frank 1979:155). At the same time, the Egyptian countryside was converted into cotton plantations with a small landowning class. Similar developments occurred throughout the Arab world (Frank 1979:154-56).
In Africa, several regions were converted into single-crop export zones during the nineteenth century. Agricultural products, including palm oil, peanuts and other oil seeds, and cocoa, as well as minerals were exported. Mining operations and large-scale commercial agricultural enterprises were owned by Europeans. There also was supplementary cash crop production by peasants, usually coerced through such mechanisms as the hut tax, a system of taxation in which each household was required to pay a tax, thus necessitating production by peasants of cash crops for sale. The payments received were no greater than the tax, so the peasants were in effect producing without compensation, providing cheap raw materials for the world-economy. The tax revenues collected from the peasants were used to develop the transportation infrastructure to facilitate the export of the raw materials to the core. So the forced labor of the peasants also facilitated the development of the infrastructure of the core-peripheral relation. The peripheralization of Africa would deepen in the first half of the twentieth century (Frank 1979:157-59).
Thus, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the conquest of the world by the principal European nations was virtually complete. Beginning in the early years of the sixteenth century and culminating in the twentieth century, the European project of domination involved conquest of the Caribbean, Central America, South America, North America, North Africa and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and much of Southeast Asia (except China and Japan). In the wake of the conquest, colonial empires were established, functioning to develop and maintain the peripheralization of the conquered regions and to repress popular resistance to colonial domination. In this way, the foundation was established for the underdevelopment of vast regions of the world and the development of the nations of the core of the world-system.
Frank, Andre Gunder. 1979. Dependent Accumulation and Underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Key words: Third World, revolution, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, democracy, national liberation, sovereignty, self-determination, socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Cuba, Latin America, world-system, world-economy, development, underdevelopment, capitalism, peripheralization, Andre Gunder Frank, Africa, Asia