The Significant Costs of Colonialism



IEA co-founders mentioned on the ASI Blog

In the Media

Harrison Griffiths writes for City AM

Kristian Niemietz writes for The Critic

IEA Editorial Director Kristian Niemietz has written for The Critic discussing his new research into the economics of slavery and colonialism.

Kristian wrote:

“I am hardly the first person to say that: I am merely rediscovering a very old tradition of liberal anti-imperialism. Already in the 18th and 19th centuries, some prominent thinkers believed that the Empire would fail a basic cost-benefit test. Adam Smith argued in 1776 that“Great Britain derives nothing but loss from the dominion which she assumes over her colonies”, and in 1835, Richard Cobden described the colonies as “a severe burden to the people of these realms”, as well as “the costly appendage of an aristocratic government”.

“More precisely, liberal anti-imperialists in the Smith-Cobden tradition believed that the additional military expenditure required to sustain the Empire exceeded the gains from imperial trade, and that those gains did not depend on the existence of the Empire anyway. In the absence of an Empire, free or free-ish trade between sovereign nations would replace enforced imperialist trade relations.”

Read Kristian’s full piece here.

You can also read a full copy of Imperial Measurement: A Cost–Benefit Analysis of Western Colonialism.