After the fall of Haile Selassie in 1974 Ethiopian society experienced a short period of unprecedented freedom and decentralization. This was followed by one of the most stringent regimes of centralized control over people and resources, in the name of socialism. This volume contains contributions by Ethiopian and European scholars from several disciplines who review the historical issues, economic policy, environmental questions and politics. They try to draw lessons from the past and suggest solutions by which the local people - the peasants and the poor - can be involved in a more decentralized structure which will harness their resources, initiatives and capacities.
Looking back - into the future; mutation of statehood and contemporary politics in Ethiopia; from progressive to reactionary; Eritrea - evolution towards independence and beyond; an important root of the Ethiopian revolution - the student movement; reflections on Ethiopian underdevelopment - problems and prospects; new economic policies and rural development options in the 1990s; designing structural adjustment options for Ethiopia - reconstruction, rehabilitation and long-term transformation; small urban centres and their role in rural restructuring; environmental degradation, population movement and war in Ethiopia; neither fast nor famine - prospects for food security in Ethiopia; local democracy and central control; ethnic factors in post-Megistu Ethiopia; the unquiet countryside - the collapse of socialism and rural agitations in Ethiopia, 1990 and 1991; the end of crises? or crises without end?.