Rupture and continuity : the state, law and the economy in Angola, 1975-1989
This work analyses the main lines of the attempts of the post-colonial state to ensure the implementation of a project of social change to respond to the expectations Angolans had of independence. Focusing on the functions and limits of the state and law, it aims to inquire about the barriers to social change generated by state intervention and the role of law in the shaping of social relations. After references to the colonial society and the social groups and responses it generated, the conditions in which Angola attained independence are summarised. Chapter 3 describes the project of change as in 1975 (the so-called socialist option) and the different changes in the constitutional framework up to 1989 as a result of political struggles, emphasising the progressive centralisation of decision-making within the state and related loss of participation of grassroots organisation. Part II deals with the central command economy. It describes the project of change in the period 1976-1988, as well as the different national and international factors leading to the failure of part of the avowed goals it aimed. Chapter 4 analyses the legal regimes of public enterprise and the planning system, from the standpoint of resource allocation and shortage, approaches of state bureaucracies to the system, problems of co-ordination and information, and struggles for the control of allocative apparatuses. Chapter 5 approaches the central command economy from the standpoint of control of wages and prices, statisation of trade and welfare provisions. It demonstrates that in the area of distribution the central command economy was not capable of satisfying the needs for consumer goods and lost the control of this economic area for the informal economy. Chapter 6 refers to specific problems of change in peasant societies and the policies of the post-colonial state to deal with them. Chapter 7 describes different aspects of post-colonial legislation dealing with international economic relations, emphasising the progressive fragmentation of state property rights under international contracting as one of the conditions for the failure of the attempts to implement a central command economy. The third part deals with the main lines of the 1988-1992 economic and political reforms, analysing their background and outcomes, within the (analytical) boundaries of the short time-span of these changes so far. The conclusions focus on the economic and social, national and international, boundaries of projects of radical change implemented from above in an underdeveloped country, on the role of the peripheral 'soft state' and on the functions performed by postcolonial economic law in promoting change and enabling social groups access to resources.