Colonial labour policy and Rhodesia
Mackenzie, John M.
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The labour policies which were applied in Rhodesia in the early years of colonial rule had their origins in nineteenth century colonial labour policy as formulated after the abolition of slavery. This article sets out to examine the origins of policies which were framed both in the wider colonial context and in South Africa, particularly Natal, and the application of them to Rhodesia. To understand early Rhodesian ideas upon labour, it is necessary to understand the origins of the concept of labour itself, its applications in the colonial environment, theories of tropical abundance and tropical indolence, notions of inefficient indigenous labour and of target working, the relationship among land, tax, and labour, and the development of the indentured labour policy. It will be argued that after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, the principal problem in the colonial setting was that the position of labour vis-a-vis capital was a powerful one. The prime object of colonial labour policies was therefore to shift the balance of power in colonial economies in the direction of capital.