From Poverty to Famine in Northeast Ethiopia
A Rural History, 1900-1935Book - 1987
In From Poverty to Famine in Northeast Ethiopia , James McCann engages an interdisciplinary perspective to uncover the historical background to the persistence of famine in the northeast region of Ethiopia. His study focuses on the northern Wallo region, an area that was incorporated into Haile Selassie's modern state system and now one of the most devastated portions of the country.
The history of northern Wallo and its position within the modern Ethiopian state is presented through an examination of the circumstances in which its rural population lived, farmed, and adapted to a changing physical environment and political economy between 1900 and 1935. This period also coincided with the most critical years of colonial Africa's incorporation into the world economy. McCann's employment of new field data calls into question previous studies of Africa, which have frequently identified ecological stress and famine as simply the products of capitalist development.
What accounts for rural Ethiopia's vulnerability to famine, when it boasts one of Africa's most efficient traditional agricultural systems? To what extent have northern Ethiopian patterns of property, marriage, and ideology resisted or contributed to the overall impoverishment of the rural economy? The answers to these questions are found in McCann's careful examination of the historical, geographic, ecological, and demographic characteristics that have affected northern Wallo's systems of production.
This comprehensive description of northern Wallo's historical experience is also instructive in terms of the nature of social change and continuity, and the persistence of famine throughout northern Ethiopia. From Poverty to Famine in Northeastern Ethiopia