- British Imperialism Revisited: The Cost and Benefits of "Anglobalization"
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- by Ferguson, Niall
- Economic historians continue to debate the causes of the 'great divergence of economic'
fortunes which has characterized the last half millennium. In this debate, the role of
colonialism—and specifically the British Empire—must needs play a crucial role. If
geography, climate and disease provide a sufficient explanation for the widening of
global inequalities, then the policies and institutions exported by British imperialism were
of marginal importance;4 the agricultural, commercial and industrial technologies
developed in Europe from 1700 onwards were bound to work better in temperate regions
with good access to sea routes. However, if the key to economic success lies in the
adoption of legal, financial and political institutions favourable to technical innovation
and capital accumulation—regardless of location, mean temperature and longevity—then
it matters a great deal that by the end of the nineteenth century a quarter of the world was
under British rule.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: April 2003
- Field of Interest: International Relations
- Ferguson, Niall. "British Imperialism Revisited: The Cost and Benefits of 'Anglobalization'." Working Paper 2008-0024, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, April 2003.
- Also Development Research Institute Working Paper Series
No.2, RR# 2003-02.