Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Decentralisation and the local state under peripheral capitalism : a study in the political economy of local government in Bangladesh
Author: Ahmed, T.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1991
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Conventional social sciences literature usually presents decentralisation as a means of achieving development and democracy. The present thesis, however, argues that the significance of decentralisation and local government is rooted in the specific material conditions of a society which in turn are reflected in the nature of the state stemming out of it. In a developed capitalist society, the local state helps to reduce the variable costs of accumulation to private capital through its 'social investments' and 'social expenditures' and legitimises bourgeois institutions as humane and benevolent providers of social services. Nevertheless, in the developed capitalist societies, because of the development of the productive forces and the existence of an organised working class, the local state can also be used as an arena of class struggle against the hegemonic bourgeois class. While decentralisation and local government support the process of private accumulation and political legitimation in the peripheral capitalist societies as well, the difference in the material conditions of society there and the corresponding class nature of the state make for substantial differences in the character and functions of local government. The absence of a single hegemonic class brings different fractions of contending classes into coalition in order to control the state because control of the state is central to the whole process of accumulation. Local government in these societies provides the central state with an institutional basis on which to forge and extend the class alliance on which the state is based. As peripheral capitalist accumulation is not dependent on the indigenous production system, the provision of social investment and social expenditure is not intended to support the reproduction of labour power in general, but rather to secure the support of class alliance. State-induced development initiatives are designed as a patronage distribution system for the local power structure in order to serve their support to the central power bloc. Local government in Bangladesh since 1958 has been used by military-bonapartist regimes to create local support through a patron-client network. Because of this the potential of local government institutions to act as a viable means of progress and social change has been arrested. However, the potential still remains if progressive social and political forces could be realigned for enlarging the class consciousness of the rural majority, enabling it to participate authentically and more fully in the political process at local and national levels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available