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


Investors also use control over domestic policy issues to manipulate the public into supporting their economic aims. Imperialism serves as a way for the investors to control the people despite the democratic nature of several Imperial powers, especially in the country with the strongest democratic traditions - Great Britain. Hobson elaborates, "Not only is Imperialism used to frustrate those measures of economic reform now recognized as essential to the effectual working of all machinery of popular government, but it operates to paralyse the working of that machinery itself."28 Imperialism not only diverts funding from what Hobson sees as much needed social reforms (namely raising working class wages and increasing public taxation of the wealthy and public expenditure), but it also allows the investors to become a virtual aristocracy.29 One of the most dreadful consequences of imperialism is that education policy falls under the influence of investors because of their political influence, making it possible to teach the youth that imperialism is good and that the lack of popular control on the matter is not an area of concern. "Popular education," Hobson tells us, "instead of serving as a defence [against the manipulative tendencies of investors], is an incitement towards Imperialism."30

Investors also use international political concerns to manipulate the public into supporting imperialism, exaggerating the threat posed by other European powers. Fear is a powerful motivating factor, and as long as the public is afraid that another nation will become significantly stronger than their own, whether this is true or not, then imperialism is allowed to proceed in the name of national security:

28. Ibid., 145.
29. Ibid., 89.
30. Ibid., 101.
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