Imperialism pp 132-176 | Cite as

The Economics of Empire

  • Philip D. Curtin
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The role of economic motives behind the European drive for empire is still one of the most hotly debated of all historical problems concerning imperialism. But that problem belongs to the historical analysis of imperialism, not to the history of imperial thought. Whatever his underlying motives, every advocate of imperial expansion argued that the conquest he proposed would be profitable to his country—at least that it would pay its own way out of local revenue. No European legislature could be expected to vote willingly for a long-term financial drain on the taxpaying voters. Imperialists were therefore concerned about economic development, and they looked to the body of economic theory available in nineteenth-century Europe.


Direct Taxation Public Revenue Legislative Council European Legislature Penal Sanction 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1971

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  • Philip D. Curtin

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