Tanzania earned a reputation for bold social and economic experimentation in the 1960s and 1970s, but its idiosyncratic version of African socialism was a calamitous failure in economic terms. In the mid-1980s the country reluctantly accepted an IMF-imposed structural adjustment program that compelled it to abandon its most cherished ideological principles. The eight authors of this volume (only one of whom is an economist) examine economic liberalization in Tanzania predominantly from a political perspective.
Assuming the role of champions of Tanzania's poor, they take a generally disdainful view of the country's public and private sector elites, as well as of the IMF and other representatives of foreign capital, all of whom are portrayed as locked in a zero-sum conflict with Tanzania's repressed and exploited workers and peasants. The analysis, while providing for the introduction of some useful historical data, leaves little scope for the development of constructive future alternative scenarios, as opposed to the "revolution" called for by one contributor (Shivji) and the nondependent industrialization advocated by another (Campbell)-both implausible solutions. That Tanzanians want democracy-or at least the better life that their political leaders promised them-seems certain; whether this group of their defenders would do well at the helm of Tanzania's ship of state seems more doubtful.
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