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‘The Devil You Know’: The Impact Of The Mulungushi Economic Reforms On Retail Trade In Rural Zambia, With Special Reference To Susman Brothers and Wulfsohn, 1968-1980

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks in more detail than was possible in An African Trading Empire: The Story of Susman Brothers & Wulfsohn, 1901?2005 at the background to the Mulungushi Economic Reforms and to the decisions that were then made about retail trade. It suggests that the dismantling of established trading networks, including those of Susman Brothers & Wulfsohn, contributed significantly to the economic decline of rural Zambia from the late 1960s onwards. This made it more difficult for these areas to withstand the pressures of the oil price crisis and the downturn in the global economy. The chapter concludes that the Mulungushi Economic Reforms had disastrous results for most Zambians ? especially those in rural areas. However, the author says that ?resident expatriate businessmen? were not angels, but when dealing with capitalists and capitalism, there is a good deal to be said for dealing with ?the devil you know?.

Keywords: Mulungushi economic reforms; rural Zambia; Susman Brothers; Wulfsohn



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