Date: 2017-04-21 19:27
France maintained colonies in modern-day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, areas of West Africa and India, small possessions in South America, and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.
First - Almost the whole of recent imperial expansion is occupied with the political absorption of tropical or sub-tropical lands in which white men will not settle with their families.
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These extracts from Hobson&rsquo s text present his views on the causes of imperialism. For Hobson it is not the search for new markets but the profitable employment of surplus financial resources that is at the basis of the drive to imperialism. The existence of this surplus is due to the fact that the masses are kept in a condition of under-consumption through a policy of low wages for the workers and high rents for the financiers.
As for the territories acquired under the new Imperialism, except in one instance, no serious attempt to regard them as satisfactory business assets is possible. Egypt alone yields a trade of some magnitude of the other possessions, three only - Lagos, Niger Coast Protectorate, and North Borneo - are proved to do a trade with Great Britain exceeding one million pounds in value.... Apart from its quantity, the quality of the new tropical export trade is of the lowest, consisting for the most part... of the cheapest textile goods of Lancashire, the cheapest metal goods of Birmingham and Sheffield, and large quantities of gun-powder, spirits, and tobacco.
Investors who have put their money in foreign lands, upon terms which take full account of risks connected with the political conditions of the country, desire to use the resources of their Government to minimize these risks, and so to enhance the capital value and the interest of their private investments. The investing and speculative classes in general also desire that Great Britain should take other foreign areas under her flag in order to secure new areas for profitable investment and speculation.
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Belgium was one of the smallest nations in Europe but still possessed a significant African colony (Belgian Congo), as well as a small concession in China.
Russia ruled modern-day Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, Georgia and several regions in central Asia, such as Kazakhstan. Russia also had colonial interests in east Asia, including a concession in China.
Such is the array of distinctively economic forces making for imperialism, a large loose group of trades and professions seeking profitable business and lucrative employment from the expansion of military and civil services, from the expenditure on military operations, the opening up of new tracts of territory and trade with the same, and the provision of new capital which these operations require, all these finding their central guiding and directing force in the power of the general financier.