Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870-1914

Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870-1914

Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870-1914

Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870-1914

Excerpt

My object in writing this book has been to produce a series of studies of particular aspects of Britain's external economy between 1870 and 1914 rather than an all-embracing history of the growth of her trade. A general view of the problems and changes over the period is put forward in chapter II, but the following four chapters in Part I are all self-contained, each dealing with a specific problem. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the reader will find running through them an the general theme of the growth of the pattern of multilateral trade. The emergence of a world economy as opposed to groups of neighbouring economies, made possible only by remarkable improvements in transport services and the export of capital from Western Europe, is the major feature of these years, and should naturally dominate any study of them. In chapter I we see this pattern beginning to emerge; chapter III deals with the nature of its development; in chapter IV it is linked to the export of capital, and in the following chapter with fluctuations in economic activity. It features largely, too, in the studies of Empire trade, which comprise the second part of the book. In this respect chapter VI on tariffs and commercial policy stands apart and is more closely related to the general analysis made in chapter II.

In the three chapters in Part II, I examine certain aspects of trade relations within the British Empire. Imperial trade has been chosen for special scrutiny in this way, not because I feel that the Empire constituted any specially significant economic unit at this time. Looking at the matter from the point of view of the movement of capital and men from Britain or of economic domination by Britain, it could be argued that other countries outside the formal unit of the Empire were more closely linked with her. Nevertheless, many at the time and in later years have held the Empire to be an economic unit of the greatest value to the well-being of Britain and of the Empire countries themselves. Such a view is so fundamentally important as to deserve the special consideration it is given here. Canada and India are studied separately because of their vital role in the emergent pattern of Britain's trade settlements, and also because their respective roles were so very different. No attempt is made to give an outline of the economic development of these two countries; this is only discussed in so far as it is relevant to an understanding of the growth of their external trade relations.

Much of the material used is of a statistical nature, and a . . .

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