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


The claim to justify aggression, annexation, and forcible government by talk of duty, trust, or mission can only be made good by proving that the claimant is accredited by a body genuinely representative of civilization, to which it acknowledges a real responsibility, and that it is in fact capable of executing such a trust.20

But this is practically never the case.

Hobson has already shown that economic, not moral interests have perpetrated this policy of imperialism for their own ends. Hobson cites several examples of economic exploitation of subjugated peoples by British investors where moral issues seem to have no role whatsoever. Before 1897, for instance, the South Africa Charter Company was given the power to compel natives to work for the mining interests. Hobson notes, "…When the chiefs failed to provide labour, [they] sent out native police to 'collect the labour.'"21 If humanity or moral concerns were at all evident, this policy of forced labor would be outlawed. Yet economic concerns overpower any sense of morality in this instance.

Another example of British investors' exploitation of indigenous people occurred in Bechuanaland (modern-day Botswana) in 1897. A small riot occurred in that year amongst the native African people over a minor grievance with the British. This riot was easily stamped out by a small group of volunteers, but the diamond mine owners exaggerated this riot into a full-scale rebellion. Hobson says that the mine owners used this as an excuse to drive 8,000 natives from their land, which was then confiscated by the British government, even though this land had been guaranteed to the natives in the Bechuanaland Annexation Act of 1895.22 These 8,000 refugees, most of whom had not

20. Ibid., 238.
21. Ibid., 256.
22. Ibid., 262.
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