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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century$
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Judith Brown and Wm Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.001.0001

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The Metropolitan Economics of Empire

The Metropolitan Economics of Empire

(p.88) 4 The Metropolitan Economics of Empire
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press

This chapter concentrates on the metropolitan economic structure of the British Empire. It also focuses on the British side of the equation because B. R. Tomlinson extends the discussion into the post-colonial era. During the 20th century, the British had to make a choice between an open, multilateral economic system, based on free trade between all countries, and a more or less closed Imperial economy. There were three main methods by which a modern Imperial state such as Britain might attempt to obtain special economic benefit from possession of colonies: by regulating their trade; by manipulating their monetary systems; and by investing in them. These main methods are specifically described. Moreover, a discussion on currency and the sterling area, capital investment in the Empire; commercial advantages of Empire before 1914, between the wars, and after the Second World War is provided.

Keywords:   British Empire, metropolitan economics, B. R. Tomlinson, post-colonial era, free trade, Imperial economy, Imperial state, colonies, Second World War

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