Chapter

The Fruit of the Vine? An Augmented Endowments-Inequality Hypothesis and the Rise of an Elite in the Cape Colony

Johan Fourie and Dieter von Fintel

in The Role of Elites in Economic Development

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659036
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191749032 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659036.003.0005

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

The Fruit of the Vine? An Augmented Endowments-Inequality Hypothesis and the Rise of an Elite in the Cape Colony

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The arrival of European settlers at the Cape in 1652 marked the beginning of what would become an extremely unequal society. Comparative analysis reveals that certain endowments exist in societies that experience a ‘persistence of inequality’. This chapter shows that the emphasis on endowments may be overstated. A more general explanation allows for ‘non-tropical products’ to contribute to the rise and persistence of an elite, and consequently inequality. The focus shifts to the production method used in the dominant industry and the subsequent ability of the elite to extend these benefits to products that were typically not associated with elite formation in other societies (such as wheat). The Cape Colony is used as a case study to show how the arrival of French settlers (with a preference for wine-making) shifted production in South Africa from cattle farming to viticulture

Keywords: elites; South Africa; inequality; Cape Colony; French settlers

Chapter.  12846 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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