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Title: Vanguard capitalism : party, state, and market in the EPRDF's Ethiopia
Author: Weis, Toni
ISNI:       0000 0003 8501 4585
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Since the fall of the Derg regime in 1991, Ethiopia has undergone a remarkable economic transformation. Shunning liberal policy advice yet avoiding the pathologies of patrimonialism, its experience is increasingly presented as an example for others to follow. However, there has been surprisingly little research, and even less consensus, on what actually constitutes this 'Ethiopian model.' The present thesis provides an answer to this question by focusing on the role of the EPRDF - the former insurgency movement which has governed Ethiopia since 1991 - and the fundamental reconstruction of state and market it has overseen. It argues that the resulting political economy is best characterised as a form of 'vanguard capitalism,' which combines the centralising political logic of a Leninist movement party with the expansive logic of capitalist markets. At its base lies the monopolisation of state-society relations by the EPRDF which, in turn, allows for the creation, centralisation and strategic use of economic rents by its administration. The two processes of illiberal state- and market-building are complementary, and their outcomes mutually reinforcing: a state that seeks to derive legitimacy from 'developmental' interventions in the economy, and an economy that advances a particular vision of the Ethiopian state. To bear out this argument, the thesis traces the evolving relationship between party, state, and market through four distinct periods in the EPRDF's Ethiopia. While the administrative and economic institutions built during the wartime years were all subsumed into the movement's thrust toward military victory, structural adjustment during the 1990s led to a gradual differentiation between party, state, and market. The propagation of an Ethiopian 'developmental state' in the early 2000s implied a re-centralisation of economic rents, yet without a corresponding degree of control over society the party was left vulnerable. After the electoral near-defeat of 2005 the EPRDF thus reclaimed its 'vanguard' role, again fusing party, state, and market into a campaign for economic transformation that it presents as a logical extension of the original struggle for liberation. The thesis draws on over one hundred stakeholder interviews conducted during ten months of field research in Addis Ababa, Mekelle, and among the Ethiopian diaspora, as well as on extensive archival research.
Supervisor: Oliveira, Ricardo Soares de Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Democratization--Ethiopia ; Capitalism--Ethiopia ; Political parties--Ethiopia ; Ethiopia--Politics and government--1991- ; Ethiopia--Economic conditions--1991-