Tom Goldstein, "Economic Manipulation:
J.A. Hobson's Theory on the
Role of Economic and Other Forces in Imperialism"


cannot be pulled off without the existence of other forces - morality, religion, nationalism, the human need for conquest, control over domestic policies, and concern over rival imperial powers. The propaganda playing upon these forces usually defends imperialistic foreign policy by convincing the public that imperialism has virtuous aims. Hobson says that this notion is utterly false; investors manipulate these non-economic forces in order to gain public support for their personally beneficial imperialistic policies, despite the high cost to the public.17 Thus, although economic forces are still the taproot of imperialism, non-economic forces play a crucial role in keeping imperialism as a national policy.

Morality and religion play an important role in keeping the public willing to pay and die for an imperialistic national policy. Most of the time, according to Hobson, the professed moral aims of nations are merely lies, although Hobson does say that a few individuals might genuinely be motivated by such concerns.18 Yet any notion that the home country is pursuing imperialism in order to enlighten the African or Asian people whom they conquer is utterly false, although this justification is frequently used. The Europeans, as the saying went, carry a white man's burden. The imperialists allege that they " . . . organize and superintend the labour of the natives. By doing this they can educate the natives in the arts of industry and stimulate in them a desire for material and moral progress, implanting new 'wants' which form in every society the roots of civilization."19 Hobson even states that if this were indeed the true aim of imperialists, it would be acceptable:

17. Ibid., 77-8.
18. Ibid., 197.
19. Ibid., 227.
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