How Is Africa a Neoliberal Utopia? An Analysis of God Complexes, Eden, and Development


  • Jessica Adevor


neoliberalism, race to the bottom, race to the baton, Africa, capitalism, structural adjustment


This paper explores the different ways that Africa is a neoliberal utopia for the Global North. On the one hand, the introduction of neoliberal ideologies into African society was assisted historically by the transatlantic slave trade and by the subsequent period of European colonialization and, on the other hand, these neoliberal ideologies are now the reason that neo-colonialism thrives in Africa. This paper uses both Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972) and William Darity’s “Africa, Europe, and the Origins of Uneven Development: The Role of Slavery” (2005) as its theoretical foundations. Within this framework, I analyze the formation of Africa as a neoliberal paradise, from the historical ‘original sin’ of enslaving people to the political, social, and economic implications, both in historical and contemporary contexts. Most importantly, I offer two primary theoretical interventions to the discussion of neo-colonialism and neoliberalism in Africa today. They are the analogy of ‘original sin’ and a phenomenon I term ‘race to the baton.’ These interventions show the distinctions between the overtness of historical processes of colonialism and the contemporary covertness of neo-colonial processes that define the relationship between the Global South and the Global North.




How to Cite

Adevor, J. (2021). How Is Africa a Neoliberal Utopia? An Analysis of God Complexes, Eden, and Development. Revue YOUR Review (York Online Undergraduate Research), 8. Retrieved from