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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
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