Imperialism – Hobson


A. John Hobson (1902)

  • English economist
  • Critic of imperialism
  • Wealthy family and well educated


  • One of the most famous critiques of the economic bases of imperialism
  • Middle of 2nd IR
  • Britain had lost its monopoly on the world market


  • Intelligent, enlightened, somewhat complex


  • Britain’s leaders


  • Inform Britain not only that imperialism is unnecessary, but it wastes Britain’s resources on peoples that can never become part of Britain instead of fixing internal problems


  • Meaning of the word imperialism shifts through manipulation
  • Nationalism has had both unifying and dividing effects
  • Nationalism set the momentum for expansionàimperialism
  • Imperialism was unnecessary until Britain lost its monopoly of the world market
  • As other nations such as Germany, Belgium, and the US encroached upon Britain’s markets, Britain had to find new markets
  • Must be undeveloped
  • Safest means of developing these new markets is establishing protectorates
  •  Imperialism is not inevitable like many people think
  • If Great Britain focused on bettering itself, they wouldn’t need to seek our undeveloped markets to exploit
  • Neglecting agriculture
  • Overpopulation
  • Poor education system
  • New markets they are seeking cannot be assimilated to Britain
  • Imperialism driven by class interest
  • Must cut imperialism at its economic roots to be effective