ACLAIM – Imperialism

Author: The author is John Hobson, a classically educated English economist. Throughout his life, Hobson became known as a critic of Imperialism, to a point where people began to frown upon how open his criticisms were.

Context: This piece was written in 1902, at a time where the British economic system was experiencing a stark downturn. They were no longer the clear superpower in the world, with countries such as the United States and Germany steadily gaining economic and military strength.

Language: The language used is very complex in structure and in tense – the reader can tell that it was composed by an educated author. His writing mentions economics on a wide scale, but it still easy enough to read if you don’t posses an economic back ground.

Audience: The intended audience is that of a rich, educated populace – people who know what they are reading and have the ability to do something with their newly acquired knowledge.

Intent: To show how imperialism has destroyed the economic system of England. He explains how it has caused overproduction and underconsumption, therefore leading to a inefficient method of production. He wants to educate people on how a good economic system works – it isn’t necessarily all about cheap goods, there has to be a sustainable demand for those goods as well.

Message: Nationalism should take over as the prevailing foreign policy of the nation. If the country is more inward based, it would spur on national production and make for a more autonomous (and productive) people.

2 thoughts on “ACLAIM – Imperialism

  1. When comparing Hobson and Ferry, it becomes apparent why Ferry’s argument prevailed. Though nationalism would have benefitted Britain, it had no choice but to keep up with the rest of the world or get run over by it. Britain faced what is known in economics as the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

  2. As a critic of imperialism, Hobson frowned upon ideas of superiority and dominance of one person or nation over another. Imperialism was just a form of capitalism and his criticism of the system could in a way be related to the ideas of Saint-Simon that he voiced after what he witnessed in the first wave of the Industrial Revolution.

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