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Slavery and Imperialism Did Not Enrich Europe

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  • McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen

Abstract

Since trade was not an engine, neither was a part of trade, such as the trade in slaves. And certainly the profits from the trade did not finance the Industrial Revolution. Imperialism, too, was a mere part of trade, and despite the well-deserved guilt that Europeans feel in having perpetrated it, it was not an engine of their growth. Stealing from poor people is not a good business plan. Certainly the possession of India did little for the great British public, except tax them for the Navy. That Europeans did not benefit from imperialism does not mean that imperialism was good for the imperalized. That a thief kills his victim does not add to the thief’s monetary profit, and some imperialism was certainly killing. The cases of simple theft, such as the Belgian Congo, did nothing to enrich the average Belgian. Nor have internal imperialisms, such as apartheid, been profitable. The episode of economic success in Europe came from domestic sources of innovation, not from exploitation.

Suggested Citation

  • McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen, 2009. "Slavery and Imperialism Did Not Enrich Europe," MPRA Paper 20696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20696
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/20696/1/MPRA_paper_20696.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Feinstein,Charles H., 2005. "An Economic History of South Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521616416.
    2. Eltis, David & Engerman, Stanley L., 2000. "The Importance of Slavery and the Slave Trade to Industrializing Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 123-144, March.
    3. Engerman, Stanley L., 1972. "The Slave Trade and British Capital Formation in the Eighteenth Century: A Comment on the Williams Thesis," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 430-443, January.
    4. Feinstein,Charles H., 2005. "An Economic History of South Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521850919.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade; industrial revolution; imperialism; England; slavery; europe; innovation; economic innovation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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