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Accepted Paper:

Imperial Money and the Making of Import Dependency  
Carla Coburger (University of Bayreuth)

Paper short abstract:

This article asks why Nigeria accumulates foreign exchange reserves (FXR), tracing its origins to the role of imperial money to destroy and replac precolonial social and economic relations with an import-dependent economy that self-generates the necessity for FXR accumulation.

Paper long abstract:

This article offers an investigation into why Nigeria accumulates foreign exchange reserves (FXR), tracing its origins to the transformation phase during British colonial rule when precolonial currency systems were forcefully replaced with British imperial money.

Using a Marxist theory of money, this article offers a new conceptualization of imperial money, to understand how imperial money was a central tool to destroy and replace precolonial social and economic relations with an import-dependent economy that self-generates the necessity for FXR accumulation. Consequently, the structure of Nigeria’s FXR accumulation and the associated crisis can only be understood as a deep structural crisis of the underlying economy rather than as a monetary policy issue.

Employing a mixed-method analysis, the empirical section engages mainstream economic analysis of different FXR adequacy ratios and their explanatory power based on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and World Bank data. These adequacy ratios provide the puzzle of FXR being a mirror of the needs and insufficiencies of the real economy, but remain limited in answering the question of why Nigeria started accumulating FXR. Therefore, in a second empirical step, this article uses novel archival material to trace the origins of FXR accumulation.

Panel P08
The colonial roots of commodity dependence
  Session 1 Wednesday 26 June, 2024, -