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

15

would be no need for pushful Imperialism, and the cause of social reform would have won its greatest victory.33

Imperialism is therefore not the only means through which excess savings can be invested, but the rich prefer it because they benefit personally. The alternative measures for spending their excess savings entail being taxed or spending their money for social programs. In other words, they would acquire no personal benefits from their excess savings. The investors thus use other forces to manipulate the government and people into adopting an imperialistic course of action. Nevertheless, social concerns as a force serve as an important alternative and balance to economic forces.

It is true that economic forces (over-production and under-consumption) dominate, organize, and control the imperialistic process, but the system would not work without other influences as well. These forces, although clearly subordinate to economic ones, are still necessary for the manipulation of the great mass of people who pay and are killed for imperialism.

IV. Conclusion

Hobson argues that imperialism is a product of capitalism. Capitalism and its profit motive generate over-production, which leads to concentration in industries. These new wealthy interests, though, cannot possibly spend enough to make up for the general under-consumption of the market (caused by the low wages they pay their workers in order to make even greater profits for themselves), and excess savings result. Unwilling to let these savings fail to realize maximum profit, investors place their money into risky, yet lucrative assets in the "uncivilized" lands of Africa and Asia. Then the investors,


33. Ibid., 86.
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