The Economic Impact on Under-Developed Societies: Essays on International Investment and Social Change

By S. Herbert Frankel | Go to book overview

ESSAY I
THE CONCEPT OF COLONIZATION

I. INTRODUCTION

AT no previous period in history have such large regions and vast populations found themselves drawn irresistibly into new orbits of economic activity, new spheres of conflicting political influence, and new social ideologies, which, disrupting old habit patterns, leave the peoples of the world bewildered and ill at ease. Mankind is once again on the march driven by the great disintegrating but also formative process of colonization which has always been the handmaid of civilization.

It is more than one hundred years since a Professor of Political Economy in the University of Oxford, Herman Merivale, devoted his attention exclusively to the economic aspects of colonization. Much of what he wrote is naturally no longer of relevance to-day, yet the spirit which inspired his Lectures on Colonization and Colonies: Delivered before the University of Oxford in 1839, 1840 and 18411 was prophetic. He realized that his generation was witnessing the birth of yet another world economy which would dwarf in achievement all those of the past. He recognized the significance of the forces which were knitting together the economies bordering on the Atlantic, and were bursting forth to germinate new economic life across the seas: binding far-flung regions to form a new interdependent economic whole. Europe was its centre: an economic power-house from which great colonizing movements radiated outwards with irrepressible vigour of hope and expectation.

Thus he did not, like others, fail to view the colonial expansion of his time as part of a vast process of change based on the release of the powerful forces of industrialism and scientific discovery. Of these the railway, the steamship, and the telegraph were the heralds in the nineteenth century, just as the conquest of the air and the atom are the harbingers

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1
London, 1861.

-1-

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