The State, Market Reforms and Social Inequality in Nigeria: A Political Economy Interpretation

Dele Seteolu, Gbenga Komolafe, Oluwatobi Aje


The neo-liberal economic reforms and corresponding arrogance of the Nigerian governing class on the inviolability of market reforms depicts aspects of the Nigerian crises. The resultant social inequality among social groups because of the implementation of market reforms raises question on its purpose, relevance, and implications. The neo-liberal paradigm had been posed and foisted on the Nigerian economy by external agencies as panacea to its structural distortions and underdevelopment. The market reforms, however, have been pigeon-holed as retarding development and signposting social inequality. Social inequality reflects the social backlash of economic reforms; the lopsided sacrifices of the working people, urban poor, and peasants in relation to the affluence and profligate lifestyle of state officials and their allies, changing lifestyles and decline in the living conditions of affected social groups. The victims of market reforms question its purpose and insist on endogenous, pro-poor and pro-people based alternative economic and developmental frameworks. The political economy approach offers theoretical basis to examine the Nigerian economy, its social classes, and the ensuing social class struggles against market reforms and social inequality. This work poses specific questions to situate the interfaces of state, market reforms and social inequality in Nigeria. Who are the beneficiaries of economic reform programs? Who are the victims of social inequality? How do the victims respond to social inequality? How do economic reforms result in social inequality? How does the Nigerian state deal with the question of social inequality? How adequate are these measures? 


Market Reforms; Social Inequality; Social Backlash; Social Groups; Governing Class; Structural Distortions; Underdevelopment

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