Professor Keith Breckenridge (WiSER, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) examines the history and economics of property forms on the African continent, and, especially, the long term effects of the colonial state's endorsement of informal communal land allocations at the start of the 20th century. Much of the work associated with the registration of land on the African continent has been motivated by a critique of the political project associated with Hernando de Soto's Mystery of Capital. This has led many scholars to emphasise the political dangers of formal titling and to downplay the economic and institutional effects of off-register land (and other asset) allocations – perhaps the most important of which is that, as Malikane has pointed out, African firms cannot raise formal capital. The paper shows that another – less visible – effect of the absence of paper-based forms of collateral on the African continent has been the widespread turn to automated systems of high-interest, unsecured individualised debts.
The event was organised by The Politics of Economics network.
• Women in Economics
• Economics and/or Wellbeing
• Measuring Poverty and Inequality in the Global South
• The Power of Economists Within the State
• The Political Vernaculars of Value Creation
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this recording belong solely to the speakers and do not represent the views of CRASSH or the University of Cambridge.