International and domestic sources of state stability and regime collapse : merchant capital in Ethiopia, 1974-1995
This thesis is an analysis of the interrelationship between international and domestic determinants of state action in Ethiopia in the period 1974 - 1995. It uses an historical materialist framework to show that the Ethiopian state acts to further the interests of domestic merchant capital, and that continuities between successive regimes express a deeper underlying continuity in the structures of the social formation. It discusses the ways in which land reform further entrenched peasants in their existing conditions of production, in response to which the Derg regime undertook to extend state interventions in trade. State involvement in trade has been crucial to the ability of successive regimes to preserve and expand state structures. The alliance with merchant capital which underpinned the state's role in trade explains the decision to nationalise industry. Nationalisation led to a decline in industrial production to the benefit of domestic merchant capital. However the dominance of merchant capital exists alongside low-levels of capital accumulation which renders the state dependent on external alliances and therefore makes regimes highly susceptible to changes at the international level. The low-level of development of the productive forces has retarded the integration of Ethiopia and strengthened regional identities. The resulting fragmentation of power has been an enduring theme of Ethiopian politics. These continuities in underlying structures have contributed to continuities in regime action at the level of the degree of state penetration, the formation of state revenues, and the military basis of regime legitimacy. Finally, it suggests that the model offered here, of a state supporting a domestic merchant class, may be useful in explaining the relationship between states and classes elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.