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Word Count: 884
The word imperialism is now so loosely used that it has almost lost real meaning It may be useful to offer a definition that might be widely accepted the policy of extending a nations authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations That definition seems to apply equally well to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and to the European performance in the late nineteenth century But there were new elements in the latter case Previous imperialisms had taken the form either of seizing land and setting it with the conquerors people or of establishing trading centers to exploit the resources of the dominated area The New Imperialism did not completely abandon these devices but it also introduced new onesThe usual pattern of the New Imperialism was for a European nation to invest capital in a backward country to develop its mines and agriculture to build railroads bridges harbors and telegraph systems and to employ great numbers of natives in the process They thereby transformed the local economy and culture To safeguard its investments the dominant European State would make favorable arrangements with the local government either by loaning the rulers money or intimidating themIf these arrangements proved inadequate the dominant power would establish more direct political control Sometimes this meant full annexation and direct rule as a colony or it could be a protectorate status whereby the local ruler became a figurehead controlled by the dominant European State and maintained by its military power In other instances the European state established spheres of influence in which it received special commercial and legal privileges without direct political involvementThe predominant interpretation of the motives for the New Imperialism has been economic in the form given by the English radical economist JA Hobson 1858-1928 and later adapted by Lenin As Lenin put it Imperialism is the monopoly state of capitalism the last stage of the dying system Competition inevitably eliminates inefficient
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