A Golden Pendulum
This chapter introduces the main study of this book, which focuses on the efforts of Luo-speaking people and others in Kenya to make sense of, and cope with, foreign interventions in the form of credit. It discusses how by both insiders' and outsiders' judgments, tropical Africa, and western Kenya within it, are short of capital for agriculture and other productive uses. The chapter reveals that credit has been a standard response of international aid agencies to reports of declines in Africa's per capita agricultural production or rises in its population. It has come by itself or tied together with training, extension, marketing infrastructure, pricing interventions, conditional requirements about exchange rates, and free emergency relief. However, the philosophy, language, and career incentives of aid officials have been geared to the idea that poor people and countries must borrow.
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