Liberalism and Empire

This chapter concerns the rationale for imperial and colonial, and subsequently, global power. The conceptual and rhetorical building blocks of global political economy include financial management, historical precedent, economic theory, and pedagogical culture. Proponents of the first modern wave of globalisation (1870-1914) identified finance (debt and cor- ruption), technology (expertise), and the development of human rights (civilisation) as major issues. The end point was clear to anyone concerned with the good of humanity. Alfred Milner’s England in Egypt (1892) reflects on the veiled protectorate of Egypt. Egypt was de jure part of the Ottoman Empire but after 1882 under de facto British rule—neither a colony nor a dominion. Milner served as undersecretary of finance in Egypt from 1890-92. ‘What has brought Egypt from ruin to solvency, from solvency to financial ease’ (1892: viii), according to Milner, has enabled bondholders to see the value of their investments doubled. Determined ‘to stamp out corruption’ (xxiv), the English are pursuing their business and not their philanthropic interests: ‘business of a perfectly straightforward and honourable kind, and possessing the characteristic of all good business, namely, that both the parties concerned are benefited’ (xxiv). Sustainable business equals good governance and good order when confronted with ‘the labyrinth of jarring interests, conflicting authorities, and hopelessly disintegrated sovereignty’ (1892: 4)

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