The Pattern of Imperialism: A Study in the Theories of Power

The Pattern of Imperialism: A Study in the Theories of Power

The Pattern of Imperialism: A Study in the Theories of Power

The Pattern of Imperialism: A Study in the Theories of Power

Excerpt

The theories of economic imperialism which have developed in the literature of radicalism during the past fifty years belong to a realm of speculation which has been left almost exclusively to socialists and other critics of capitalism. The great bulk of the original writings dealing with and advocating the idea that economic motives, especially as they operate under capitalism, lead to imperialism and war, is the work of German and Austrian Marxists. So great has been their influence that much of what today passes as political economy is the product of the tireless efforts of the "theoreticians" of this group, and in particular their views on "economic imperialism" have made a great impression on present-day popular economic-political thinking. Whatever the pattern of imperialism actually is, the established pattern of thought regarding this phenomenon of power comes predominately from these sources.

Some of the theories of economic imperialism are the fruit of serious scholarship and represent a high order of analysis. The critic can always find flaws in the various theoretical treatments, and the severest criticism of socialistic studies on this subject has come from socialists themselves. Consequently there is by no means a unanimity of theoretical treatment and understanding of this problem among the professed followers of Marx. Indeed, the fundamental ideological differences which divide socialists and communists, evolutionary and revolutionary Marxists, and the orthodox and the revisionist schools of thought are tied up with, if not directly dependent upon, differences of opinion regarding the precise relation of capitalism to imperialism and war. Yet all hold in common the assumption that the basic cause of these and other undesirable political phenomena is somehow economic in nature.

In presenting the main points of this endless controversy I have sought to avoid adding still another round of detailed criticism. My purpose has been to question the basic assumption of all such . . .

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