White-Settler Colonialism and the Myth of Investment Imperialism
‘Financial’ imperialism is a fashionable term. It is supposed to be different in nature from the ‘mercantile’ imperialism of the 17th and 18th centuries, to have matured during the last quarter of the 19th century and to have led to the ‘informal’ and then the ‘formal’ take-over of the world, culminating in the sharing out of the last unoccupied territories—Africa, the Ottoman Middle East and Indochina. This theory has been put to severe trial recently. The huge colonial empires, which had taken centuries to build, broke up in a few years without proportionate violence and without any marked impoverishment of the great imperial parent states or any reduction in their capacity to exploit the rest of the world.
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