The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Imperialism

  • Alice H. Amsden
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_1049

Abstract

Few subjects of such conspicuous historical importance have so consistently escaped lucid theoretical exposition as imperialism. The neoclassical economists have made no theoretical gains whatsoever in the field, having chosen to ignore the subject altogether. Their starting and ending point is a short essay borrowed from Schumpeter in which imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is attributed to the atavism of states, acting on feudal and absolutist impulses from an earlier precapitalist era. The field, therefore, has been dominated by Marxists. ‘To write about theories of imperialism is already to have a theory,’ states Barratt Brown (1972). In modern times, just to use the word is to label what is said as Marxist. The word – like capitalism itself – also implies a theory of broadly construed economic systems and long historical epochs. The sweep of the subject matter is reflected in the breadth of the two major propositions that Marxists have posed: that imperialism and monopoly capitalism are synonymous; and that capitalism underdevelops the third world. The sweep of the subject matter has lent itself to meaningless generalizations and reductionist arguments. But to ignore imperialism altogether on the ground that it is a political phenomenon is to abrogate a responsibility to study a major dimension of economic life, in particular the relationship between the operations of the market and coercive mechanisms.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Bibliography

  1. Amin, S. 1976. Unequal development. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  2. Amsden, A.H. September, 1981. An international comparison of the rate of surplus value in manufacturing industries. Cambridge Journal of Economics 5(3): 229–49.Google Scholar
  3. Amsden, A.H. 1985. The state and Taiwan’s economic development. In Bringing the state back in, ed. P. Evans et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bagchi, A. 1982. The political economy of under development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Baran, P.A. 1957. The political economy of growth. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barratt Brown, M. 1963. After imperialism. London: Merlin Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  7. Barratt Brown, M. 1972. A critique of Marxist theories of imperialism. In Owen and Sutcliffe (1972).Google Scholar
  8. Brenner, R. 1977. The origins of capitalist development: A critique of neo-Smithian Marxism. New Left Review 104, July–August, 25–92.Google Scholar
  9. Bukharin, N. 1914. Imperialism and world economy. New York: Monthly Review Press. 1972.Google Scholar
  10. Chandler, A. August, 1980. The growth of the transnational industrial firm in the United States and the United Kingdom: A comparative analysis. Economic History Review 33: 396–410.Google Scholar
  11. Engels, F. 1878. Anti-Dühring. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Fieldhouse, K.D. 1966. The colonial empires: A comparative study from the eighteenth century. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.Google Scholar
  13. Hayes, C.J.H. 1941. A generation of materialism 1871–1900. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  14. Hilferding, R. 1910. Finance capital: A study of the latest phase of capitalist development. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.Google Scholar
  15. Hobson, J.A. 1902. Imperialism: A study. London: Allen & Unwin, 1938.Google Scholar
  16. Hymer, S. 1976. The international operations of national firms: A study of direct foreign investment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lal, D. 1984. The poverty of ‘Development of economics’. London: Institute of Economic Affairs.Google Scholar
  18. Langer, W.L. 1935. The diplomacy of imperialism 1890–1902, 2nd ed. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  19. Lenin, V.I. 1973. Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism. Peking: Foreign Language Press.Google Scholar
  20. Little, I. 1982. Economic development: Theory, policy, and international relations. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  21. Luxemburg, R. 1913. The accumulation of capital. Trans. Agnes Schwarzchild. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1951.Google Scholar
  22. Magdoff, H. 1972. Imperialism without colonies. In Owen and Sutcliffe (1972).Google Scholar
  23. Marx, K., and F. Engels. 1960. On colonialism. London: Lawrence & Wishart.Google Scholar
  24. Mommsen, W. 1980. Theories of imperialism. Trans. P.S. Falla. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  25. Myint, H. 1964. The economics of the developing countries. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  26. Myrdal, G. 1957. Rich lands and poor: The road to world prosperity. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  27. Nurkse, R. 1953. Problems of capital formation in underdeveloped countries. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Owen, R., and B. Sutcliffe (eds.). 1972. Studies in the theory of imperialism. New York: Longmans.Google Scholar
  29. Reynolds, L.G. 1985. Economic growth in the third world, 1850–1980. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Robinson, R., and Gallagher, R. 1953. The imperialism of free trade. Economic History Review, 2nd Series 6(1): 1–15.Google Scholar
  31. Schumpeter, J. 1919. Imperialism and social classes. Trans. New York: Augustus M. Kelley.Google Scholar
  32. Singer, H.W. 1950. The distribution of gains between investing and borrowing countries. American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings 40, May, 473–85.Google Scholar
  33. Sutcliffe, B. 1972. Conclusion. In Owen and Sutcliffe (1972).Google Scholar
  34. Stokes, E. 1969. Late nineteenth-century colonial expansion and the attack on the theory of economic imperialism: A case of mistaken identity? Historical Journal 12: 285–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. United States Department of Commerce (USDC). (Various Years.) Survey of Current Business.Google Scholar
  36. Vernon, R. 1966. International investment and international trade in the product cycle. Quarterly Journal of Economics 80, May, 190–207.Google Scholar
  37. Viner, J. 1953. International trade and economic development. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  38. Warren, B. 1980. Imperialism: Pioneer of capitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice H. Amsden
    • 1
  1. 1.