Historians have so far made few attempts to assess directly the costs and benefits of Britain's investment in empire. This book presents answers to some of the key questions about the economics of imperialism: how large was the flow of finance to the empire? How great were the profits on empire investment? What were the social costs of maintaining the empire? Who received the profits, and who bore the costs? The authors show that colonial finance did not dominate British capital markets; returns from empire investment were not high in comparison to earnings in the domestic and foreign sectors; there is no evidence of continued exploitative profits; and empire profits were earned at a substantial cost to the taxpayer. They depict British imperialism as a mechanism to effect an income transfer from the tax-paying middle class to the elites in which the ownership of imperial enterprise was heavily concentrated, with some slight net transfer to the colonies in the process.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Series:||Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Modern History Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
Table of ContentsPreface; 1. The British Empire and the economics of imperialism: an introductory statement; 2. The export of British finance: 1865-1914; 3. British business and the profits from Empire; 4. Government expenditure in support of business; 5. The costs of defending an empire: the British and colonial taxpayer; 6. British subsidies to the Empire: the nondefence component; 7. The shareholders in imperial enterprises; 8. The sources of government revenues; 9. Empire, the special interests, and the House of Commons; 10. Imperium economicus - in retrospect; Official documents; Private papers; Company records; Notes; Bibliography; Index.