Thursday 14 March 2024

"Did the West get rich from imperialism?"

"Did nations get rich on the backs of other nations? Did the West get rich from imperialism? ...
    "[W]hen most people think of plunder, they generally think colonial plunder. The problem with that, however, is that the vast majority of enrichment in the world has happened during the last 150 years, well after most colonial empires had collapsed. [But] plunder is not — and never has been — the path to national wealth. While plunder might make a nation (or a person) richer, it won’t make them rich, and that’s an important distinction ..."
~ Amy Willis, summarising Noah Smith's arguments that 'Industrialisation > Imperialism'


Tom Hunter said...

WRT this bullshit claim I've often thought that the best argument against it is the simple fact that Japan and Germany became immensely richer after they turfed their colonies and colonialist ideas.

Of course the Far Lefters (Wallerstein and company), with their argument bleeding into "The Moderate Left", have simply re-purposed the colonialist argument into their critique of capitalism; outsourcing, etc.

MarkT said...

I think the proper way to frame this is not to deny that colonial powers got rich off the back of its colonies. If there wasn’t profit to be made from the colonies, there wouldn’t have been colonies. Acknowledge that they did become rich off the back of the colonies, and that the colonies grew richer too as a result. All trade is about win-win.