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Empire of Capitalism - Essay Example

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The author contends that the British empire, although it did spread 'capitalist imperatives'1 (making people in the colonies buy and sell goods) to its colonies overseas, could only do so in a limited way. Whilst colonialism relied on actually running the countries and threatening their people with violence, this would get in the way of actually buying and selling goods.
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Empire of Capitalism
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Empire of Capitalism

Download file to see previous pages... French and German capitalism developed in a different way to the (more advanced) British form. When industrialization occurred in Britain it was driven by the need for technology to support farming. In France and Germany, however, it developed because they had a number of rivalries with other countries and so needed armies to support their place in the world.
It was only after the defeat of Napoleon, and the loss of the protection guaranteed by having a large empire, that the economic competition from Britain began to be felt in France. France did not respond by copying the way Britain had developed, nor did they challenge Britain's better economic position in the world. Military needs continued to be the main reason why there was more industrialization in the nineteenth century, and the technological advances this brought gave France a head start in technological industries. The tradition of the government running industries in France also helped encourage industrial development, as well as laying the foundations of the quality of France's current public services - health, welfare, etc.
State-led and military based economic development was even more marked in Germany. Before the nineteenth century Germany was many different countries. ...
late nineteenth century there was a rapid period of economic development under Bismark (who was the German chancellor), and this quick growth was due in the main to military requirements (Bismark needed to fight wars). This is in sharp contrast to Britain's economic development, they made things for the non-military market. Germany's economy developed due to the government spending money on military goods.
The Classic Age of Imperialism
British capitalism meant that other countries had to become capitalist to compete with them. But this did not stop wars; the nineteenth century was the age at which colonial imperialism (the taking of other countries by force) was at its height. Marxist colonial theories of the time reflected this fact: Marx himself was interested in most mature system of capitalism - Britain. He saw Britain as a capitalist country in a world of largely non-captialist countries.
Proceeding Marxist theorists of the twentieth century ("from Lenin to Mao"2) worked within systems that were either only partly capitalist or not capitalist at all. Marxist theories of imperialism likewise shifted their focus from the internal operations within capitalist countries to their exterior relations with the non-capitalist world. They thought that capitalism would end because capitalist countries would destroy themselves in wars over colonies. But such rivalries required a non-capitalistic world (i.e. Countries that could become colonies) to fight over. Rosa Luxemburg explicitly states that capitalism, despite wanting to take oer the world, requires "other economic systems as a medium and soil."3 In these theories, then, capitalism needs non-capitalism.
The world of 'classical imperialism' (in which Europe and Northern American were made up of competing armies ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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