“Of all the third world intellectuals, there is nobody else I know; whose commitment, whose dedication and whose insights in the struggle against imperialism are as great as that of Samir Amin’s,”
-Prof. Prabhat Patnaik, introducing Samir Amin at an interaction organised by NewsClick in 2012
On August 12, Professor Samir Amin, an audacious critic of global capitalism and the contemporary world order, passed away at the age of 86 in Paris. He was suffering from serious complications from a brain tumour, according to reports. He had served as the director of Third World Forum (from 1980) and the President of the World Forum for Alternatives (from 1997). Professor Amin was born in Cairo in 1931, got his PhD in Economics from the University of Paris in 1957, and became a Professor in Economics in 1976.
An eminent Marxist intellectual, Samir Amin was a source of great inspiration for all those who dreamed of and toiled for a better world. He brilliantly comprehended and analyzed the characteristics of contemporary capitalism and the impact of the North-South divide. He was a proponent of the Dependency theory and outlined the structures through which wealth flows from the peripheries to the capitalist metropolises. Prof. Samir Amin was clear that political Islam was not a spontaneous result of the assertion of authentic religious convictions by the peoples concerned. He asserted that it was constructed by the systematic action of imperialism and supported by reactionary forces and subservient comprador classes. He advised the left to revive the international of workers and peoples in order to defend themselves from the international oligarchy of multinational corporations and global financial institutions.
Professor Amin wrote extensively in French, Arabic and English, and published around 30 books, including Liberal Virus (2003), Spectres of Capitalism (1998), Capitalism in the Age of Globalisation (1997), Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of Underdevelopment (1979) etc. The term Eurocentrism is attributed to him with the publication of his book of the same name in 1988.
Professor Samir Amin also worked in Cairo at the Institute for Economic Management (1957- 1960), and served as the advisor in the Ministry of Planning in Mali (1960-63). He also taught economics at the University of Poitiers in Dakar, Senegal, and in Paris. While in Paris, he was associated with French Communist Party (PCF) for a short period. He was a founding member of the Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and the Environment for the Development of Africa (ENDA). In 1980, he became the director of the Third World Forum headquartered in Dakar. He was awarded the Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2009.