The Corner

Jewel in The Crown

Jonah, you’re correct, of course, that it’s nonsense to blame the first world for the poverty in the third, but it’s not right to say that all the nations colonized by Europeans were ‘poor.’ 18th Century India, at least, comes to mind as an example. Although politically, ‘India’ (it wasn’t a unified nation back then, of course) was weak, it was by no means a ‘poor’ country (at least by the standards of the time). It was, however, beginning to fall behind technologically, so it may well have been set on a course that was going to lead to relative impoverishment regardless of whether it was colonized or not. That said, there’s no doubt that British restrictions on Indian textile manufacture contributed to that decline. As to the colonial legacy in India and elsewhere, well, as you say, that’s not cut-and-dried on one side or the other.

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