Debate from ROAPE Volume 7 Number 17
Capitalist Accumulation in Kenya: Straw Men Rule OK?
Kaplinsky's paper ‘Capitalist Accumulation in the Periphery - The Kenyan Case Re-examined’ attempts to correct Colin Leys's deviation from his previous commitment to dependency theory expounded in his book Underdevelopment in Kenya. While Leys' book undoubtedly remains the outstanding account of the development of the post-colonial political economy of Kenya, it is not without its faults. In particular, Ley's formulation of the development process in Kenya in that book would seem over externally determined. His recent retreat from a position of denying any autonomy to local Kenyan interests to one of recognizing the potential of the indigenous bourgeoisie for independent capital accumulation might appear an unexceptional adjustment to his original model. However, while Leys' book upset many of Kenya's admirers with its portrayal of Kenya as an economy run by a clique of self-seeking and parasitic compradors, his new line seems to have offended at least one Kenya watcher with a longstanding interest in its industrialization policies.