By John Atkinson Hobson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:October 2011
Original Publication Year:1902
Subjects: British history after 1450 , History of ideas and intellectual history
J. A. Hobson (1858–1940) was an English economist and early socialist, whose writings on capitalism and industrialism influenced Lenin and Trotsky, and were highly regarded by John Maynard Keynes. Imperialism, published in 1902, is considered his most important work. Employed as a war correspondent by the Manchester Guardian to report on the Second Boer War, he became convinced that imperial expansion was driven by the desire to find new markets and investment opportunities, resulting in capitalistic exploitation of the colonies. He argued that imperial policies were a fundamental cause of international conflict, as greed led to aggression and militarism. While modern critics have seen weaknesses in his arguments, such as his failure to examine the development of the British Empire out of early private trading enterprises, Hobson was a very influential and prolific writer and social theorist, who helped shape British welfare policy in the twentieth century.
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