Linking this information to the survey map of the village, I was able to create a series of maps of the landscapes of Dominase and Ponkrum. These maps begin in 1950, the earliest decade for which we have ethnohistorical data, and show paired villages, with Dominase the dominant partner. Dominase grew between 1950 and 1960, likely the result of new opportunities in this village. Ponkrum grew slightly but remained a fairly marginal settlement. This pattern is not surprising. The heads of the principal landholding families in the area all lived in Dominase, and much of the infrastructure of these communities, such as the well and cistern, were located there. Ponkrum had no well and only a simple cistern. Someone moving to this area would likely have chosen to live in the larger village.
Reconstructing as best we can from the landscape of these villages, the activities in their wider historical setting, and the memories of the few remaining residents old enough to remember life at this time, Dominase and Ponkrum were prosperous villages in the 1960s. One long-term resident of Dominase told me the land around the village was very fertile and rainfall more than adequate, resulting in years in which "We left crops in the ground because we had more than we could harvest." While this oral historical evidence might be tempered by a rosy view of the past situation of these villages, the 1960s were a period of generally high rainfall in West Africa. Further, many who lived in Dominase and Ponkrum in that decade were highly integrated into the regional economy and, as a result, into the global economy for the commodities that drove the Ghanaian economy. Of the few remaining residents who lived in Dominase or Ponkrum at the time, nearly all reported significant nonfarm employment, ranging from security guards at the University of Cape Coast 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) to the east to laborers on the logging road through the village. All agree that cocoa was a significant crop in the area, an assertion supported by the earlier letters written by residents of these villages to the colonial government.
As the 1960s wore on, those living in these villages had every reason to be optimistic about their futures. Development in the form of transportation infrastructure, cash crops, and nonfarm employment opportunities had allowed them to connect their lives to a globalized market for commodities and created a situation of unprecedented prosperity for the residents. This is how development and globalization are supposed to work along globalization's shoreline. These improvements in local conditions were highly correlated with population growth in the area. This new population needed access to farmland, which they could obtain only through connections to, or renting from, landholding families in these villages. Therefore, these changes worked to consolidate the authority of those who headed these families. Dominase and Ponkrum were the products of a series of development (or at least developmentlike) interventions that began not long after the villages were settled. This was not a place awaiting development but rather something of a development success story.
Unfortunately, that success was fragile. By the end of the decade, the tide of globalization would go out on these villages, ebbing toward towns such as Elmina, leaving Dominase abandoned and the residents of Ponkrum much poorer and vulnerable to economic and environmental change, even up to the present day. The first 150 years of Dominase's and Ponkrum's history shows that the current situation in these villages, like many places we characterize as lacking development, are better understood as the outcomes of development and globalization.
Reprinted by arrangement with Palgrave Macmillan from Delivering Development: Globalization's Shoreline and the Road to a Sustainable Future by Edward R. Carr. Copyright © 2011 by Edward R. Carr.