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Hobson and ImperialismRadicalism, New Liberalism, and Finance 1887-1938$
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P. J. Cain

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203902

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203902.001.0001

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Becoming an Anti-imperialist, 1887–1898

Becoming an Anti-imperialist, 1887–1898

(p.47) Chapter Three Becoming an Anti-imperialist, 1887–1898
Hobson and Imperialism

P. J. Cain (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that Hobson's conversion into a radical critic of imperialism and of imperial expansion was even more prolonged than his transformation into a New Liberal. It also shows how his critique of imperialism was an important moment in a long-standing but evolving radical discourse. It was not until 1898 that Hobson successfully merged his radical stance on domestic issues with his growing hostility to imperial expansion. In ‘Free Trade and Foreign Policy’, he brought his theory of underconsumption and oversaving together with his new aversion to imperialism when he claimed that oversaving led to foreign investment and that the need to find more outlets for the latter was the key to understanding modern imperial expansion. His chief concern in 1898 was the scramble for China rather than the storm brewing in South Africa.

Keywords:   J. A. Hobson, imperialism, imperial expansion, radical discourse, Free Trade and Foreign Policy, underconsumption, oversaving, foreign investment, China, South Africa

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