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I would say it is more like: Hitler needs iron, I sell him iron. Hence, I profit from his crimes he commits with the iron.

But to return from Godwin territory, do you seriously question that the countries in Europe that traded with the colonial powers did not benefit from the latters access to cheap resources?

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by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 10th, 2009 at 03:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might or might not be the case to a certain degree. If you recall, wages were low in Sweden as well, and having a greater labour pool to compete with might not have been a positive thing.

No matter what, the effect is marginal compared to all the things that actually did make Sweden (and other western countries) rich.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Sep 10th, 2009 at 06:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, what would those things be?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 11th, 2009 at 07:15:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to my textbook in economics (Vår ekonomi by Klas Eklund, page 375 and forward) there were several reasons, mainly industrialisation which began in Sweden around 1870.

  • Growing agricultural productivity because of the skiftes reforms.

  • The Peoples School reform which improved general education.

  • Freedom of trade had been introduced and guilds were abolished. Pro-growth and pro-business institutions were established.

  • The igniting spark came from abroad as European industrialisation and urbanisation led to highly increased demand for Swedish exports like iron, wood anf farm produce.

  • During the 1890's three new dynamic industries surfaced: the pulp industry which was spurred by an explosive growth in the demand for newsprint and improved wood resource use technology. Iron and ore industry, where new technology had made the Lappland ore fields exploitable. At the same time ingenuity and development made Sweden a leader in high quality steels. Finally, from the 1890's to WW1 saw the rise of the manufacturing industry, based on many new inventions like the separator, turbine, ICE, ball bearing, of which many were Swedish. The telephone industry expaned strongly as well.

After that, it was just full speed ahead and here we are today.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Sep 11th, 2009 at 11:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I get where you're coming from, but attempting to write the economic history of any European country in the 19th century without mentioning colonialism is simply nonsense. It is comparable to writing the economic history of any European country in the 11th century without mentioning the Crusades - even those countries that never seriously participated first hand were deeply and broadly affected by these events.

We can argue about how and where to assign blame until we go blue in the face, but that does not detract from the fact that Sweden had a privileged position relative to Bangladesh. If for no other reason then because it had enough rifles and gunpowder to stop other European powers from bashing it over the head, dismantling its political structure and stealing its stuff.

Similarly, we can argue about the economic benefits (or not) of having colonies in general, or specific colonies in particular. But this does not detract from the fact that whatever hypothetical net burden upon European countries the colonies might have been, it does not compare - not even within an order of magnitude - to the burden imposed on the colonies by having their social, political and economic system deliberately demolished.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 13th, 2009 at 06:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid
If you recall, wages were low in Sweden as well, and having a greater labour pool to compete with might not have been a positive thing.

If we are talking about "non-colonial European countries" in the period before WW II, the issue of competing with cheap labor from the colonies of colonial powers was not an issue.  Colonies were seen as natural resource providers, as providers of goods unobtainable in Europe, such as spices, and as markets for European manufactured goods, such as cloth, railroads and locomotives along with telegraphs, the metal blades for Zulu spears, etc. etc.  Another colonial play was to obtain goods, such as opium, in one colony, such as Burma, and use the superior military power of the colonial mother country, such as Great Britain, to facilitate access to the interior markets of, for example, China, where that opium could be sold to landowners, who became addicted, as a means of extracting gold and silver from China for shipment back to, for example, Great Britain.  This led, of course, to the infamous Opium Wars between Britain and China when the Chinese Emperor and the Mandarins took a dim view of this process.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 11th, 2009 at 09:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The sole reason opium was exported was because of the huge bullion deficits created by the massive imports of tea from China, with China being uninterested in any imports of its own from the West, except bullion. A lot like the current situation actually, with China holding a trillion dollars of IOU's, the modern equivalent of bullion.

Anyway, it was to even the balance of trade that the opium trade began, to stem the outflow of bullion.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 12th, 2009 at 06:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mercantilism forever!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Sep 12th, 2009 at 10:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, Britain (and France, and later Germany) bashed China over the head and looted their stuff. After all, "looting their stuff" is what happens when you "buy" their goods and "pay" in toxic crap like opium.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 13th, 2009 at 06:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After all, "looting their stuff" is what happens when you "buy" their goods and "pay" in toxic crap like opium subprime mortages.

And history just keeps repeating itself...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Sep 14th, 2009 at 01:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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