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Taxing Colonial AfricaThe Political Economy of British Imperialism$
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Leigh A. Gardner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661527.001.0001

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From Complement to Conflict: Trade Taxes, 1914–1938

From Complement to Conflict: Trade Taxes, 1914–1938

(p.63) 4 From Complement to Conflict: Trade Taxes, 1914–1938
Taxing Colonial Africa

Leigh A. Gardner

Oxford University Press

From World War One to the Great Depression, the global economic crises of 1914–38 were also crises for colonial administrations in Africa. By 1914 colonial economies were becoming dependent on the export of a limited range of commodities, and both producers and governments were affected when prices declined. This chapter examines the impact of these crises on colonial fiscal systems, focusing particularly on trade taxes. Though tariffs were initially imposed to raise revenue, demands from local producers for tariff protection brought colonial administrations into conflict with the British government, who hoped to use imperial preference in tariffs to encourage closer integration of colonial and metropolitan economies. Equally fierce debates occurred with regard to increased government involvement in export trade through marketing boards, and restrictions on colonial government purchasing. The chapter presents these debates from the perspective of colonial administrations in Africa.

Keywords:   World War One, Great Depression, economic crisis, commodity prices, tariffs, imperial preference, marketing boards, colonial trade policy

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