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Pleasures of BenthamismVictorian Literature, Utility, Political Economy$
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Kathleen Blake

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563265.001.0001

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Utilitarian Political Economy and Empire

Utilitarian Political Economy and Empire

Mill as Liberal Imperialist

Chapter:
(p.195) 7 Utilitarian Political Economy and Empire
Source:
Pleasures of Benthamism
Author(s):

Kathleen Blake (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563265.003.0007

Empire is again the concern in discussion of writings on India by Bentham‐‐‐with parallels in Smith‐‐‐and the Mills. Revisiting the principle of liberty, the chapter asks how the liberalism of the age can be reconciled with its imperialism. It treats reform rationales for India concerning: equalization of persons; penal code; education; and, in a distinctly original culminating section, government revenue/land tenure. The discussion is historically specific and mindful of postcolonial theory. Imperialism is undoubtedly dominatory, but critical thinking remains important under the Raj. Indeed it is spurred and finds opportunities, including opportunities to learn from India, with results in both India and Britain that are rightly called liberal. This last chapter gives reminders of principles in practice and of shared ground between writers in the traditions of Utilitarianism and political economy and other Victorian writers usually set apart from them and more often than not deemed their foes.

Keywords:   Bentham, critical thinking, education, equalization of persons, India, liberalism and imperialism, Mill, penal code, revenue/land tenure, reform

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