Imperialism Essay

Imperialism Essay

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Imperialism is often the focal point of failure, the main cause cited in any discussion of the problems in modern day Africa, Asia, or the Middle East. It is blamed for civil unrest, wars, famine, destruction of culture, and unfair and unnatural division of land. Charley Reese, a writer and editor for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971-2001, wrote in Kipling’s Back, “The truth is that neither British nor American imperialism was or is idealistic. It has always been driven by economic or strategic interests.” Perhaps Reese in his attempt to discredit imperialism as an, “arrogant and racist … attitude” stumbled upon the true value of imperialism. Imperialism is not pleasant. It has systematically destroyed cultures, killed citizens, and plundered countries. But it is the effect that imperialism has as a whole, the net total of its influence, that reveals its positive effect on not only the imperial nation, but also on the world as a whole. Imperialism contributed in three major ways: the increased liquid capital, especially among richer industrial nations, the introduction of modern innovations to impoverished and primitive countries or regions, and the establishment of a worldwide system of trade, commerce, and intertwined communities, which eventually evolved into modern globalization.
Often imperialism is criticized for the exploitation of foreign markets. While it is true that this exploitation of raw materials and foreign markets had a negative impact on the native culture, especially in Africa, its impact on the world had far more positive effects. For example, in 1900 the world population was roughly 1.650 billion people. Africa made up around 8.1% of the world population, and Europe made up roughly 24.7%. Just in te...


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...xtend their influence are those with a safe homeland, advanced technology, and a fully developed country at their root. Because of these prerequisites to imperial expansion, only the most stable and advanced empires are able to colonize new lands. This “natural selection” of the most advanced and stable empires, allows scientific and cultural knowledge to be spread to areas of the world where such discoveries might never have been made. And even though these same advances could have been spread in a more passive way, imperialism maximizes both speed at which the ideas are spread, and maximum profits for both countries involved. These same natural laws applied to European expansion in the 19th and 20th century, and so the result was the spread of scientific ideas and technology, the increase global prosperity, and the laying of the foundation for globalization.

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