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    they're still under British rule now? Dont really think thats a good argument, I dont buy the 'all our problems now are becasue we were rulled by the British half a century ago' arguments from some pissed off Africans either.
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    (Original post by The_Adarshster)
    Given that the title is about "British Imperialism", do you think that the citizens of the native countries may feel oppressed that they're still under British rule in some sense, and they don't have freedom? Surely they'd want to do things their own way.
    British government is generally more liberal than most - so people will actually be allowed greater freedom to ''do things in their own way'.
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    You're making a free market argument within an empire framework. Bizarre. The whole point of economic imperialism is that the 'colonies' have no choice about opening their markets. This is not beneficial, since many economies are best left protected until ready to enter the world economy. Britain and America got rich via protectionism.

    Ha Joon Chang: "Almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment. But these countries are now denying poor ones the same chance to grow by forcing free-trade rules on them before they are strong enough" (more detail: http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/a...ls.php?id=9653)

    It should be the choice of smaller economies whether they wish to open their markets. Economic imperialism denies that choice.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    theres always been a bit of a discontinuity between Britian's love of free trade and empire i thought. I could see why we were into it when the idea was mercantilism was about, but it sort of contradicted free trade to an extent.
    Free trade implies movement of luxury goods between exotic, isolated regions and Europe. And who controlled the seas on which those goods were to be transported?

    (Original post by The_Adarshster)
    Given that the title is about "British Imperialism", do you think that the citizens of the native countries may feel oppressed that they're still under British rule in some sense, and they don't have freedom? Surely they'd want to do things their own way.
    There's a fair presentational point. Don't publicly call it imperialism, whatever you do. But the idea is that, as Libertine pointed it, it's the British style of imperialism - free trade, economic stability, unobstructed movement of peoples - as opposed to the political imperialism which Britain (unfortunately) ended up with, as a result of eg. East India Co's activities.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    they're still under British rule now? Dont really think thats a good argument, I dont buy the 'all our problems now are becasue we were rulled by the British half a century ago' arguments from some pissed off Africans either.
    I don't buy the 'all success after independence has roots in the history of Empire' or 'look what happened when they left the Empire' arguments. Zimbabwe was doing fine until Mugabe decided never to let go of the reins he was handed.
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    You're making a free market argument within an empire framework. Bizarre. The whole point of economic imperialism is that the 'colonies' have no choice about opening their markets. This is not beneficial, since many economies are best left protected until ready to enter the world economy. Britain and America got rich via protectionism.
    That's a fallacious argument:
    a) substantial British protectionism was abandoned with the Corn Laws (as it had earlier been dropped elsewhere), and economic progress continued to sky rocket;
    b) research into US attempts at protectionism conclude that "the early experience of the United States confirms the weakness of the idea that protection can aid infant industries. In practice, so-called infant industries never grow competitive behind trade barriers, but, instead, remain perpetually underdeveloped, thus requiring protection to be extended indefinitely";
    c) poor nations must have access to developed nations markets - protectionism is retaliatory, and always hurts the poor 'protector' - see this post I made earlier. Only one former African British colony (Botswana) has reduced the income gap between them and the UK since independence.

    (Original post by biggie-n)
    It should be the choice of smaller economies whether they wish to open their markets. Economic imperialism denies that choice.
    I disagree. It should be the choice of a self-owning individual to determine who they trade with and on what terms. Protectionism denies them that choice.
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    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    Free trade implies movement of luxury goods between exotic, isolated regions and Europe. And who controlled the seas on which those goods were to be transported?


    There's a fair presentational point. Don't publicly call it imperialism, whatever you do. But the idea is that, as Libertine pointed it, it's the British style of imperialism - free trade, economic stability, unobstructed movement of peoples - as opposed to the political imperialism which Britain (unfortunately) ended up with, as a result of eg. East India Co's activities.
    There's a fair presentational point. Don't publicly call it imperialism, whatever you do. But the idea is that, as Libertine pointed it, it's the British style of imperialism - free trade, economic stability, unobstructed movement of peoples - as opposed to the political imperialism which Britain (unfortunately) ended up with, as a result of eg. East India Co's activities.
    You quoted me, not Consie. Anyway, so is this idea not about Britain being the centre of the Imperialism and having no control what so ever?
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    You're making a free market argument within an empire framework. Bizarre. The whole point of economic imperialism is that the 'colonies' have no choice about opening their markets. This is not beneficial, since many economies are best left protected until ready to enter the world economy. Britain and America got rich via protectionism.

    Ha Joon Chang: "Almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment. But these countries are now denying poor ones the same chance to grow by forcing free-trade rules on them before they are strong enough" (more detail: http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/a...ls.php?id=9653)

    It should be the choice of smaller economies whether they wish to open their markets. Economic imperialism denies that choice.
    Protectionism is bad for national economies, it breeds discontent internationally and results in tariffs being introduced in other countries which is not a good thing for global trade. The economic imperialist argument is that we can help undeveloped nations with inwards investment, free trade and access to larger markets under the power of the flag.

    Economic imperialism does not force anyone to open their markets, the Empire would be a mutual scheme and entirely voluntary there would be no annexation or military invasion unless there was a serious human rights abuse or a nation was threatening a protectorate.
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    (Original post by The_Adarshster)
    You quoted me, not Consie. Anyway, so is this idea not about Britain being the centre of the Imperialism and having no control what so ever?
    Sorry about the misquote - I'll fix it. I just copied and pasted from the first one, without thinking.

    The idea, if I've understood it properly, is about private firms from (Western) capitalist countries investing in poor regions to get at resources, cheap labour &c and thereby undermining the established authority's attempts to monopolise resources and practise protectionism. Perhaps a better word is neoliberalism, with the added implement of private defence - like the East India Company. It's not necessarily related to Britain, but more a Western neoliberal foreign policy with teeth.
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    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    That's a fallacious argument:
    a) substantial British protectionism was abandoned with the Corn Laws (as it had earlier been dropped elsewhere), and economic progress continued to sky rocket;
    Preceded by over a 100 years of protectionism. Yes, the point is that free trade was embraced only when the country was developed (in relative terms).
    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    b) research into US attempts at protectionism conclude that "the early experience of the United States confirms the weakness of the idea that protection can aid infant industries. In practice, so-called infant industries never grow competitive behind trade barriers, but, instead, remain perpetually underdeveloped, thus requiring protection to be extended indefinitely";
    A common argument. Advocating protection in certain sectors does not advocate hiding behind them perpetually. Source for that statement 'research'? If you read the article I linked, modern Japan was built on protectionism of the likes that would be condemned today.
    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    c) poor nations must have access to developed nations markets - protectionism is retaliatory, and always hurts the poor 'protector' - see this post I made earlier. Only one former African British colony (Botswana) has reduced the income gap between them and the UK since independence.
    The figures you provided don't really prove anything. I could easily point to bad economic management rather than protectionism that caused the problems. Africa's problems are deeper than just hiding behind trade barriers. Those that have opened up markets at the whim of the IMF etc. have found that the developed countries are less than willing to do the same in selected sectors (e.g.US and cotton).
    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    I disagree. It should be the choice of a self-owning individual to determine who they trade with and on what terms. Protectionism denies them that choice.
    Yes, and I support this. Protection of sectors should be at the government's (hopefully well advised) discretion where requested. I don't think many govts would keep trade barriers in place when there was lobbying for free markets (unless its a political move). Its usually the opposite.
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    (Original post by dan_man)
    Protectionism is bad for national economies
    The examples of Britain, USA and Japan point to the opposite.

    (Original post by dan_man)
    it breeds discontent internationally
    Yes, discontent usually against the developed nations because trade barriers are so unbalanced.

    (Original post by dan_man)
    The economic imperialist argument is that we can help undeveloped nations with inwards investment, free trade and access to larger markets under the power of the flag.
    I didn't know flags were the key to successful economic management. And the points before were all trumpted in the early 90s as the IMF and World Bank used Latin America as their guinea pig. It didn't turn out great.

    (Original post by dan_man)
    Economic imperialism does not force anyone to open their markets, the Empire would be a mutual scheme and entirely voluntary there would be no annexation or military invasion unless there was a serious human rights abuse or a nation was threatening a protectorate.
    Not much of an empire then. Just a free trade area, like the EU.
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    Protectionism was used by Britain and America during the Great Depression because of its use as a political tool to appease the working classes and mass unemployed, the fact it made the situation worse with goods sitting around in dock remaining unsold is a testament to the failings of protectionism in economics. The point of economic imperialism would take away the trade barriers and make it fair thus removing discontent. My comment about the 'power of the flag' is how if these products were being transported by British registered ships or companies they would have a higher chance of being sold in places like the US and the EU.

    And yes, the EU idea of a free trade zone was the vision of Cecil Rhodes, a man I hold in very high esteem for his work.
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    You're making a free market argument within an empire framework. Bizarre. The whole point of economic imperialism is that the 'colonies' have no choice about opening their markets. This is not beneficial, since many economies are best left protected until ready to enter the world economy. Britain and America got rich via protectionism.
    Britain and America got rich via a lot more than protectionism; more significantly, just because certain countries did something does not imply it is good or just to create some sort of right out of it.

    It should be the choice of smaller economies whether they wish to open their markets. Economic imperialism denies that choice.
    Denies the 'choice' to tin-pot dictators, military juntas and other assorted rabbles of government and passes it to individuals more like.
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    You're making a free market argument within an empire framework. Bizarre. The whole point of economic imperialism is that the 'colonies' have no choice about opening their markets. This is not beneficial, since many economies are best left protected until ready to enter the world economy. Britain and America got rich via protectionism.

    Ha Joon Chang: "Almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment. But these countries are now denying poor ones the same chance to grow by forcing free-trade rules on them before they are strong enough" (more detail: http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/a...ls.php?id=9653)
    This isn’t an argument killer, its just one of the arguments surrounding the nature of free trade at the moment. I agree there is a bit of a contradiction between the idea of empire and free trade in its current meaning, but not in terms of mercantilism and the idea of self sufficientcy being key, which were the economic norms Untill the mid 19thC really. I think you have to look at it more that the whole of the empire was one mass called ‘The British Empire’ and this single collective entity traded freely with the rest of the world. Plus, there are plenty of holes in the ‘we protected out infact industries argument’. In the 20’s one of the key arguments levied retrospecitvly at the LG, Baldwin and Labour governments is that they wanted to keep free trade which accelerated the staple industries' decline, instead of protecting them. It was our ideologicial love of free trade that contributed to the crash and burn nature in which the staples declined. Although some new industries enjoyed SOME (not much) protection in the late 20’s and 30’s, this wasn’t because of wanting to save them per se, it was because the worldwide depression meant free trade naturally declined because everyone was suddenly so much poorer. Plus, Britian in the last 20ish years has got much richer from free trade.

    On the developing economies, there are two ways you can look at it, you can argue multinationals speed up the development of these economies or that they slow it down. It would be hard for subsistence farmers to buy some combine harvesters and start becoming producing powerhouses, but a multinational comes in, buys their land, and makes production far more advanced. Either way, it has to be the choice of the individual in question.


    There's a fair presentational point. Don't publicly call it imperialism, whatever you do. But the idea is that, as Libertine pointed it, it's the British style of imperialism - free trade, economic stability, unobstructed movement of peoples - as opposed to the political imperialism which Britain (unfortunately) ended up with, as a result of eg. East India Co's activities.
    I wouldn’t say this is exclusively a British style, its more a universally recognised economically sound way to go about running a country, it today's opinions at least.


    I don't buy the 'all success after independence has roots in the history of Empire' or 'look what happened when they left the Empire' arguments. Zimbabwe was doing fine until Mugabe decided never to let go of the reins he was handed.
    Neither do I, both extremes are equally dumb, so don’t imply I was advocating what youve said in that quote saying. Anyway, how was Zimbabwe doing fine? They declared independance in 1965 (i think) but the UK rejected it and demanded more voting rights for the Black African Majority. The first free elections in 1979/1980, which in reality was the first time Zimbabwe was truly independant, saw the election of Mugabe. Of all the examples, that's one of the worst.

    Free trade implies movement of luxury goods between exotic, isolated regions and Europe. And who controlled the seas on which those goods were to be transported?
    Are you agreeing with me here, thermoregulatio?


    The examples of Britain, USA and Japan point to the opposite.
    Whereas the economies of Italy, Germany and France, don’t.
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    Preceded by over a 100 years of protectionism. Yes, the point is that free trade was embraced only when the country was developed (in relative terms).

    A common argument. Advocating protection in certain sectors does not advocate hiding behind them perpetually. Source for that statement 'research'? If you read the article I linked, modern Japan was built on protectionism of the likes that would be condemned today.
    Source - a summary of the work of Gottfried von Haberler. As you'll see, if you read that, the US grew in spite of protectionism, not because of it - as did Britain. And the idea that Japanese wealth is predicated upon protectionism is like claiming that Britain's wealth in the 1960s came from Keynsian "demand management" - which, after the Japanese recession of 1990, their government stupidly decided to adopt, and has magnificently failed. Japan's protectionism encouraged exports and discouraged imports - so Japanese wealth was in dollars, not yen. Policies to discourage imports meant premium prices for US products - so Japanese investors tied themselves to US property, and collapsed along with it in the early 90s. Japanese interventionism has been, as the article you link to argues, a success - but only nominally. The fallacy that protectionism is in a nation's interest remains unrefuted.

    (Original post by biggie-n)
    It should be the choice of a self-owning individual to determine who they trade with and on what terms. Protectionism denies them that choice.

    Yes, and I support this. Protection of sectors should be at the government's (hopefully well advised) discretion where requested. I don't think many govts would keep trade barriers in place when there was lobbying for free markets (unless its a political move). Its usually the opposite.
    You obviously do not support it. If the government of nation X is allowed to levy tariffs on external products from nation y, then inhabitants of nation X cannot set the terms on which they buy goods and inhabitants of nation Y on which they sell them. Similarly with subsidies - if nation X have a subsidy on wine, for example, then taxpayers in nation X cannot exchange on their own terms - they are extorted of some of their income to protect farmers (or businesses) they didn't choose to trade with.

    You say "protection of sectors should be... where requested." I can't think of a worse condition for employing protectionism, if ever there is one. What company will request that competitors from external nations can trade on equal and unimpaired terms? The same argument applies to trade unions - what trade union is in favour of unlimited skilled & unskilled immigration from abroad. Where a special interest seeks to gain a competitive advantage by waging proxy violence against their competitors, it is unjustified and should be resisted by government.

    And who lobbies for free markets? Economists, with no financial capacity to lubricate the wheels of government. That protectionism prevails in almost every developed country in one form or another is abundant evidence of the repudiation of mainstream economic orthodoxy in favour of populist, nationalist, illiberal policies.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    Are you agreeing with me here, thermoregulatio?
    You said "I could see why we were into it when the idea of mercantilism was about" here, so I assumed it was in the 'capitalist' period (post-Smith/1789) you couldn't square free trade and empire. I was giving a bespoke British reason for retaining empire as a pre-requisite for continuing access to luxury foreign goods - and thus for preserving free trade.
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    but the idea of preserving luxury foregin goods is more in line with mercantilist ideas than current free trade ones.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    but the idea of preserving luxury foregin goods is more in line with mercantilist ideas than current free trade ones.
    Luxury goods are just an example. The point is: free trade is in the interest of Britain and her colonies. If Britain adopted free trade without retaining the necessary naval force to trade without foreign intervention, the stance would be folly. If the colonies were given independence, it would be short lived and other powers would intervene. So to ensure that free trade is meaningful, it was necessary to retain military power to deter other nations from attempting to interfere with the practical job of carrying it out.

    Smith, talking about Peter the Great here, says

    "A standing army establishes, with an irresistible force, the law of the sovereign through the remotest provinces of the empire, and maintains some degree of regular government in countries which could not otherwise admit of any."

    And more generally, about "advanced" (ie captalist) societies:

    "The first duty of the sovereign, therefore, that of defending the society from the violence and injustice of other independent societies, grows gradually more and more expensive as the society advances in civilization. The military force of the society, which originally cost the sovereign no expense either in time of peace or in time of war, must, in the progress of improvement, first be maintained by him in time of war, and afterwards even in time of peace."
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    but these examples highlight that free trade then isnt the same as free trade now, as a superficial example, our navy/airforce would have a hard time monopoising trade routes. Again, the idea of protecting raw material sources 'from foregin intervention' is inline with the idea of increasing the national stock of Britian and her self sufficiency more than the modern concept of free trade in a globalised world, i.e. exporting what you have a surplus of and are best at making and importing what you have less of/are crap at making between independant, non hosile nations.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    but these examples highlight that free trade then isnt the same as free trade now, as a superficial example, our navy/airforce would have a hard time monopoising trade routes.
    Comparing the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century to today is precarious. I would say that up to the 1930s, British naval power remained necessary to securing unimpaired trade (the 30s led to the depression led to protectionism led to less trade) and, as an illustration of why this needed to be the case, consider the relative German successes in blockading London during 1940. After 1945, the GATT meant that the developed nations agreed to co-operate on opening up markets (closed by 30s protectionism), so the conclusion - "free trade then isn't the same as free trade now" is wrong; it's just that there are different arrangements for ensuring unimpaired access to goods.

    (Original post by Consie)
    Again, the idea of protecting raw material sources 'from foregin intervention' is inline with the idea of increasing the national stock of Britian and her self sufficiency more than the modern concept of free trade in a globalised world, i.e. exporting what you have a surplus of and are best at making and importing what you have less of/are crap at making between independant, non hosile nations.
    The free trade empire shouldn't be thought of as "increasing the national stock of Britain" (I would say this only became significantly the case with Disraeli and jingoism) but rather ensuring access to markets. Of course capitalism is predicated upon comparative advantage, but if you have no one to compare with (because you can't access their markets) the paradigm fails. The threat of external blockades to British sources of imports - from France, Germany or Russia - could have, without British naval hegemony, have crippled any attempt to trade freely.

    I'm not trying, by the way, to make out that Britain was solely driven by the desire to implement free trade. But rather that the two policies - free trade and empire - are compatible.
 
 
 
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