Empirical Pursuits 1900’s

There exists this rule throughout history where if a place exists and has something someone else wants Britain will, without a shadow of a doubt, stick their greedy paws in there and attempt to control the means of production or just control the place altogether. Where else is this more prevalent than in Bombay India. While it is true that Britain made an absolutely insane amount of money from all over India through the exploitation and exportation of the people and their resources the effects in a local setting are quite dramatic and are seen in Bombay quite well. Bombay’s export was cotton. Originally cotton had been flowing steadily from the U.S. but following the end of slavery cotton production all but stopped and British textile miles needed a new source. Bombay had one cotton mill, so why not make it 136 and consume the entire coastal area in cotton based farming. India benefited from this despite the implied tone of a British take over. Bombay went from a small and slightly backwards town to a huge port city post Suez and remains a large city today.

Take this is comparison with a place like Germany. Germany is unique in that it came out of know where and became this industrial giant making iron and steel faster and more efficient than most places that were in the business. German population boomed and their economy as well. But here’s the kicker, Britain did nothing. They didn’t attempt an empirical expansion and they didn’t attempt to seize the mean of production either by force or through laws. Germany managed to form an Empire all its own with no interference.

This strikes me as odd considering Britain’s stance in the world up to this point. Their homeland isn’t that big and thus had little in the way of natural resources. No other place in the world had as prolific of a iron working system as Germany and yet, Britain did nothing. It calls into question the existence of a European superiority complex that we all know exists but does that protect them from each other? Did Germany live because it was European or was it some other factor?

Leave a Reply