June 21, 2005 by cosmoakacitizensmith
19 june 2005 i have a book called empire accompanying me from brighton and back to cardiff. it’s by a man called niall ferguson.
he’s, i suppose, a modern apologist for the british empire. so i guess while i’m trying to sort out my own past, i’m looking at this country’s past as well, with a view to suss out the sort of things i was talking about in previous posts.
like, exactly how much does the colonial past inform our globalised world today? how right is the fashionable view to blame poorer parts of the world for their own misfortunes?
niall ferguson’s chapters on india are interesting. a whole unelected, white civil service controlled the country while uk companies moved in and took out the wealth. or so it seems. put it like this:
….between 1757 and 1947 british per capita gross domestic product increased in real terms by 347%, indian a mere 14%. a substantial share of the profits which accrued as the indian economy industrialised went to british managing agencies, banks or shareholders; this despite the fact that there were no shortage off capable indian investors or entrepreneurs….(p.217)
and yet he still writes as if overall, we were doing them a favour. hmmmm…..roll on edinburgh cos i need to check some facts about today and compare it to before, if only to ease this poor white man’s burden.
till then, off for some frolics to glastonbury. see ya there, folks!