|About the Book|
Lagging economic development in Africa has been attributed to many causes, but the prevailing work ethic is never mentioned as a possible constraint to development in the formal literature. Obviously this is a politically and culturally sensitive issue. A discussion of the work ethic can easily degenerate into paternalistic and racist reflections. The author manages to discus it in a social-scientific manner without lapsing into platitudes. In this book development is seen as a process of long-term evolution in which people are central. Development is about changes in individual and collective behaviour. The work ethic is a crucial component of human behaviour. The work ethic is discussed in relation to the process of disciplining to labour in North-Western Europe, and in relation to issues such as gender, Christianity, the invention of the mechanical clock, the Industrial Revolution, geography, the state, the mimetic desire and the belief in a technological fix.