International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

Here lay the economic origins of imperialism. Hobson noted that the expansion of productivity and productive capacity generated by industrialization necessitated the simultaneous growth of markets to absorb the increased production. The impoverished state of the mass of Britain's population prevented the domestic market from providing that expanding outlet, thereby forcing industrialists to seek overseas markets. This problem of domestic underconsumption also deprived the financiers of sufficiently profitable investment opportunities in domestic industry and compelled them to seek higher returns overseas, especially in the developing world, where raw materials and the demand for improvements to the economic infrastructure attracted investment.

From 1870, to protect these overseas investments, the financial interests increasingly used their strong political influence over the British state to secure the absorption of such territories into the British Empire. Hobson stressed that other groups, notably administrators, military officers, arms traders and missionaries also benefited from, and lobbied for, such expansion; but it was the financiers, who were so well placed politically, who were the main force behind imperial expansion. Thus, for Hobson, imperialism was largely a product of Britain's peculiar form of finance capitalism.

Hobson was fearful of the economic and social consequences of the continued export of capital and overseas imperial expansion. The unwillingness of financiers to invest in domestic industry threatened to undermine its competitiveness by denying it the latest innovations in technology and organization. Ultimately, this would lead to deindustrialization as foreign competitors drove British industry out of business, with terminal decline in Britain's position as an international power. The financiers and rentier capitalists who earned their incomes from foreign investment would be the only beneficiaries in this sorry scenario of national decay.

There are undoubtedly similarities between the work of Hobson and Lenin. This is unsurprising, given that Lenin drew heavily upon Hobson's work, especially with regard to concepts such as underconsumption. Some debate has ensued about the extent to which the two theories can be regarded as being effectively the same, and that controversy continues. Perhaps the most important point of departure between the two theories concerns the question of remedy. For Lenin, on one hand, imperialism was an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of capitalism, and no measure of reform could divert monopoly capitalism from its expansionist destiny. Hobson, on the other hand, saw the redistribution of wealth by social reform as a way of turning British capitalism away from imperialism. By increasing the incomes of the poorer section of the population, the problem of domestic underconsumption would be overcome, thereby boosting industry and financial investment in the domestic economy. The drive for overseas colonies as outlets for capital export would diminish; and British capitalism would emerge strengthened and without the need for imperial expansion. It is here, on this question of the alleged dependence of the capitalist system upon imperialism, that the two theories diverge.

ANTHONY WEBSTER


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barratt Michael Brown, 1974. The Economics of Imperialism. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Bukharin, Nikolai, [1917] 1972. Imperialism and the World Economy. Reprint. London: Merlin Press.

Hobson John A., [1902] 1988. Imperialism: A Study. 3d. ed. London: Unwin Hyman.

Hodgart, Alan, 1977. The Economics of European Imperialism. London: Edward Arnold.

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich, [1916] 1978. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Reprint. Moscow: Progress Publishers.

Marx, Karl, [1887] 1974. Capital. Reprint. London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Porter, Andrew, 1994. European Imperialism 1860-1914. London: Macmillan.

IMPLEMENTATION. Activities that carry out authoritative public policy directives or mandates (e.g., statutes, executive orders, judicial orders); the stage in the policy process that follows the formal adoption of a policy and precedes the evaluation or assessment of a policy's impact on society. Implementation typically involves a wide range of actors with diverse interests and competing goals, including formal policymakers, bureaucratic officials from all levels of government (i.e., local, state, national), private sector organizations, nonprofit organizations, clientele groups, and other interested citizen groups. Typical activities include procuring resources (e.g., personnel, equipment, space, money), interpreting policy directives, planning, communicating and negotiating among implementing organizations and clientele groups, and the delivery of a service. Academic research on policy implementation can be classified into three phases or generations, each of which is discussed later.


First-Generation Implementation Studies

In the early 1970s, scholarly attention turned to the issues of policy implementation. Prior to this time, implementation generally was treated as automatic, as informed by a classical model of administration. Early implementation research was descriptive and relied on a case-study approach that provided few generalizations across cases. These studies focusing on the barriers to effective implementation did little more than identify a list of what could go wrong.

Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky ([1973] 1984) classic study highlights the problems of policy implemen-

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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