Theories of Imperialism by Tom Kemp
London : Dennis Dobson, 1967. First British Edition. Hardcover. 202 pages ; 23 cm. $35 shilling dust jacket with small 1' tear on the tail of the dust jacket spine. Foxing to top pages edge. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
Once shunned by many scholars as a political catch-word, the term 'imperialism* is now coming back into use as an indispensable label for an extremely important historical process. Uniformity of use is not to be expected in an ideologically divided world and emotional overtones are bound to adhere to it.
This book faces up to this diversity by examining the varied and conflicting theories which have sought to give a meaning to imperialism. It is concerned, therefore, primarily with intellectual history and not with what political friends or opponents of imperialism said or did. It examines at length relevent aspects of Marx's thought and the workd-out theories of his followers, including Lenin and Luxemburg and more recent writers in the Soviet Union and Western countries. It considers the important contribution of J. A. Hobson, whose influence in Anglo-Saxon countries has been so considerable. Schumpeter's theory is seen as the most complete and cogent alternative to some variant of the Marxist view and is considered together with more recent critiques of the latter.
The author maintains that before a full historical appraisal can be made of the epoch of imperialism an adequate theoretical framework has to be worked out. This study prepares the way for this and offers, in a final chapter, the elements of such an approach.
Although a specialist in economic history, the author is unwilling to be confined to a single academic discipline or to a dialogue with specialists. He ranges over many fields as he places the theories he examines in their historical context and assesses their validity. While filling a gap in the literature it should also interest the general reader by its approach to current controversies which offers a challenge both to the uncommitted empiricism which rules in academic circles and to the dogmatics of 'orthodox' Marxism.
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