n Historia - Introduction to "South Africa in a comparative study of industrialization"

Volume 53, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The peculiarities of South African society, where class, ethnic, linguistic and national cleavages overlap, tend to obscure the process which have led to industrialization. This is unfortunate because a study of South African social structures may shed light on the wider problems of development. An attempt is made in the article to compare political and economic developments in South Africa with similar developments in Tsarist Russia, Imperial Germany and the American South. It is suggested, for example, that the German 'marriage of iron and rye' has a counterpart in the relationship between maize and gold in South Africa and that similar political consequences follow. The organization of the South African mining compound is considered, in its formulating effect upon the peculiar process of urbanization in South Africa. This particular form of urbanization has resulted in the creation of a very considerable surplus for investment, the implications of which are discussed.

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