imperial preference

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pages: 710 words: 164,527

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil


Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, fiat currency, financial independence, floating exchange rates, full employment, global reserve currency, imperial preference, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, margin call, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, open economy, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, psychological pricing, reserve currency, road to serfdom, seigniorage, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, the market place, trade liberalization, Works Progress Administration

But to add grievous insult to such injury, Hull’s State Department, which Roosevelt had in May designated to lead the consideration negotiations, had a separate and sometimes conflicting priority: to dismantle Britain’s “imperial preference” trading system. The grand principle behind this demand was that the postwar world needed to be grounded in nondiscriminatory multilateral trade—a longtime obsession of Hull’s. Bitterness toward the economics of empire had been growing for decades. “Excluded nations cannot be expected to accept the fiction of empire,” wrote American diplomat and Hull ally William Culbertson in 1925, “in justification of their exclusion from extensive areas of the earth’s surface.”41 The currency and trade issues melded in the pot of imperial preference, which became more of a “mandate” than a “preference” under wartime practices. By the summer of 1940, Britain was dangerously short of dollars, and all “hard currency” transactions by British residents were made subject to exchange control and imports minimized through licensing.

In a desperate act of petulance, he even proposed weeks after the conference adding to the fourth principle an unqualified commitment to the elimination of imperial preference. Winant reported back from London that Churchill, unsurprisingly, was not keen on presenting such an amendment to his cabinet or to the dominion governments.60 Hull retreated. The British had won a round, but would inevitably lose the fight. The Atlantic Charter was a statement, and words were cheap. But Lend-Lease was a contract between a desperate buyer and a monopoly seller. While Lend-Lease supplies continued to flow to Britain, the settlement terms had yet to be agreed, and the State Department was still determined to get its “consideration.” Negotiations between the State Department and the British embassy over Article VII dragged on into the autumn. Though State was immovable on the elimination of imperial preference, British negotiators made headway on two fronts.

Clayton immediately left Paris for London to press his case on trade liberalization, which he saw as an essential complement to American aid. This proved a tougher nut to crack. Throughout the summer, Clayton had struggled simultaneously with London over the dismantling of imperial preference and with protectionists in his own capital determined to erect new wool import tariffs. He ultimately won Truman over in the wool wars, thereby salvaging troubled global trade talks in Geneva. The British resisted mightily in the face of Clayton’s public upbraids on imperial preference. They had committed to dismantling it in return for Lend-Lease, and then again for the loan. Vinson’s promises to Congress in 1946 that Britain would “immediately accept the principles of fair and non-discriminatory currency and trade practices” if given the loan had been shown to be hollow.48 The British were now balking anew, despite the dangling Marshall carrot.

pages: 637 words: 117,453

Empire Lost: Britain, the Dominions and the Second World War by Andrew Stewart


British Empire, Fellow of the Royal Society, imperial preference, Monroe Doctrine, union organizing

The adult New Zealander knows more of Charles I, of Robert Clive, of Francis Drake and the rest than he does of the Treaty of Waitangi'.63 Amery had confirmed this view when he returned to London following his 1928 Empire tour and told his cabinet colleagues that in New Zealand he had found support for the Empire to be 'a passion almost a religion'.64 The government in Wellington was 'emotionally content to be seen as dependent'.65 The New Zealand high commissioner in London, William Jordan, although sometimes concerned about the direction of British policy also was vehement in his support for the 'Mother Country': as he told a group of British and Dominion statesmen 'New Zealand believed in the British Commonwealth of Nations. It would be beside Great Britain always. If Great Britain was at war, New Zealand would be at war.'66 A key feature determining how London and the Dominions reacted to one another was finance and the global economy. In 1897 Canada had been the first of them to introduce a conditional form of 'Imperial Preference' into its tariff. From this point onwards, escalating economic dependency effectively required all of the far-flung Dominions to retain the closest possible link with the fiscal actions of the authorities in London.67 Figures for trade between Britain and its Empire before 1914 reveal a mixed picture. Less than a quarter of all imports came from the Empire: staples were especially significant with foodstuffs such as tea, cheese and spices all being major imports; certain raw materials were also significant, most obviously jute and tin.

The Empire was useful as a market for goods that faced major international competition but the pattern of imports was such that the Empire could not offer any real measure of independence to Britain in terms of a guaranteed supply of essential imports.68 The 'Final Report of the Dominions Royal Commission', released in 1917, recommended that there be greater exploitation of Dominion resources and it is clear that after 1919 the 'white Empire' did play a much greater role in Britain's trade.69 The global financial crisis that worsened at the beginning of the 1930s only confirmed this, now placing even greater emphasis on the role played by the British government. With the world's economies in turmoil, at the Imperial Economic Conference held at Ottawa in September 1932, the importance of protective 'Imperial Preference' measures was re-endorsed by all sides. This took place against a backdrop of generally deteriorating political relations and the raising of more questions about the durability of the Dominion idea.70 But there seemed few economic alternatives to the agreements and although future commercial relations were often worse rather than better, the fiscal policies accepted by the Dominion governments kept them close to London, in mind if not always in heart.

The planners anticipated a war 'of long duration' because 'the Red race' is 'more or less phlegmatic' but 'noted for its ability to fight to a finish'.5 Sir Charles Mallet was by no means alone in his warnings that all things connected to trade and commerce were disastrous issues for the two countries to squabble over. This did not prevent the 1930 Hawley-Smoot Tariff becoming law, which precipitated, in turn, a strong Imperial response, guaranteeing that suspicion and hostility endured. While it still proved impossible to agree to a full system of Imperial Preference, at the 1932 Ottawa Conference, there was an acceptance between Britain and the Dominions of a preferential understanding of low tariffs within the Empire and higher tariffs elsewhere.6 Essentially, in return for concessions on the part of the Dominions, the British government agreed to give them 'definite advantages' in the domestic market. For its critics, and there were many of them who engaged in an often bitter debate, Ottawa hampered free trade and placed restrictions on Britain's economic relationship with countries who were not members of the Empire but with whom she had previously maintained very close trade relations.7 These disagreements were watched closely in the United States but, despite Woodrow Wilson's commitment to national self-determination, for the most part political interest in Britain's imperial relationships in the inter-war period was minimal.8 The late-nineteenth century expansion in both countries had excited very little criticism in the other, perhaps because, 'as a partner in the white man's burden the USA was indulgent, in a quite novel degree, to British colonial aspirations'.9 It was after all an American magazine, McClure's, in which Rudyard Kipling first published his 'White Man's Burden'.

pages: 564 words: 178,408

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson


Alistair Cooke, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, European colonialism, financial independence, full employment, imperial preference, indoor plumbing, South China Sea, V2 rocket

In the summer of 1941, the Roosevelt administration proposed that, as a payback for Lend-Lease, the British agree to end its imperial preference system. Arguing that such trade discrimination greatly inhibited international economic growth, American officials pushed free trade as the path to postwar peace and prosperity. As the British saw it, free trade was particularly good for the United States, which had long sought access to empire trade on equal terms but, at the same time, insisted on keeping its own high tariffs. (The Americans argued that their tariffs were not discriminatory because they applied to all U.S. trading partners.) Although a staunch imperialist, Churchill did not much like the imperial preference system. But he and his cabinet were vehemently opposed to the idea of being coerced into agreeing to a postwar economic order that favored the United States.

Had we failed, the full malice of the Axis Powers … would have fallen upon the United States.” In a cable that was dispatched to the president, Churchill noted that the British cabinet had already decided the issue. It voted against swapping imperial preference for Lend-Lease, feeling that, if Britain did so, “we should have accepted an intervention in the domestic affairs of the British Empire.” In the end, a compromise was worked out. It committed both governments to take postwar action to achieve international economic cooperation but eliminated an explicit British commitment to end imperial preference. The Americans, however, would raise the subject again at the end of the war, and, this time, the British would not escape. THE UNRAVELING OF Churchill and Roosevelt’s relationship in the late stages of the war was exacerbated by the failing health of both leaders.

Those advantages included British bases in the Pacific, on which the Pentagon had its eye, and oil concessions in the Middle East. Aware that America’s oil reserves were insufficient to meet its future needs, U.S. government officials were determined to break Britain’s dominance in the region and acquire concessions of their own. American businessmen, meanwhile, were anxious to acquire access to markets protected by Britain’s imperial preference system, which bound Britain and its empire together in an economic common market and imposed stiff tariffs on imported goods from nonempire countries. While the military alliance between the two countries was unprecedently close, “it is similarly true,” as historian Kathleen Burk has noted, “that the United States treated Britain as a rival which had to be cut down.” Even before the United States entered the war, Washington, citing rumors that the British were using Lend-Lease goods for export, pressured London to agree to forgo not only the export of American supplies but also the export of British goods of a similar nature.

pages: 469 words: 146,487

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Niall Ferguson


British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Corn Laws, European colonialism, imperial preference, income per capita, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, Mahatma Gandhi, night-watchman state, profit motive, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing

But what had been unthinkable in good times came to be seen as indispensable in the general crisis. And just as Joseph Chamberlain had hoped, ‘imperial preference’ – preferential tariffs for colonial products, adopted in 1932 – boosted trade within the Empire. In the 1930s the share of British exports going to the Empire rose from 44 to 48 per cent; the share of her imports coming from there rose from 30 to 39 per cent. Thus it was that even as the political bonds between Britain and the dominions were loosened by the Statute of Westminster (1931), the economic bonds grew tighter.* The message of the Wembley Exhibition had not been so misleading: there really was still money in the Empire. And it was a message drummed home relentlessly by bodies like the Empire Marketing Board (established by Leo Amery to convey the case for imperial preference subliminally). In 1930 alone there were over two hundred ‘Empire Shopping Weeks’ in sixty-five different British towns.

The government, now led by Salisbury’s nephew, the brilliant but fundamentally frivolous Arthur Balfour, was deeply divided over how best to pay for the war. Fatally, as it proved, Chamberlain seized the moment to argue for a restoration of protectionist tariffs. The idea was to turn the Empire into a Customs Union, with common duties on all imports from outside British territory: Chamberlain’s catch-phrase for the scheme was ‘Imperial Preference’. The policy had even been tried out during the Boer War, when Canada had been exempted from a small and temporary duty on imported wheat and corn. This was yet another bid to turn the theory of Greater Britain into political practice. But to the majority of British voters it looked more like an attempt to restore the old Corn Laws and put up the price of food. The Liberals’ campaign against imperialism – now widely regarded as a term of abuse – culminated in January 1906 with one of the biggest election landslides in British history, when they swept into power with a majority of 243.

pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

The scope of tariffs was broadened to include industry, Democrats joined Republicans, and by the end, as Kindleberger describes it, “both Republicans and Democrats were ultimately pushed from the committee room as lobbyists took over the task of setting the rates.”6 Foreign retaliation did not wait for the bill’s final passage in June 1930. Italy, France, and others reacted forcefully in late 1929 and early 1930. Great Britain finally abandoned free trade, devalued sterling, and instituted a system of imperial preferences a couple of years later. This outcome is plain to see in the data. Figure 21 shows two tariff averages for the United States and one for the world. The lower U.S. rate is the full average—that is, it includes all goods. The higher figures are for goods that are “dutiable”—that is, goods where the tariff is not zero. This difference is important since the United States had zero protection on the imports of things like mining and mineral products where there was no local production to protect.

Because of a lack of data, the Figure shows only the world tariff averages for all goods, but for comparability it also shows the U.S. numbers for the “all goods” average. By the end of the 1930s, the world had broken into trading blocs. Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union maintained systems of bilateral trade arrangements with explicitly autarkic aims and dreams of global domination. Britain, the dominions, and colonies were linked by the British Imperial Preference system, and Japan carved out a trade bloc called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The breakdown of the trading system surely hastened the world down the path toward World War II. It fostered acceptance of the autarkic trade philosophies expounded by fascists in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Historian Gerhard Weinberg, for instance, argues in his essay “The World through Hitler’s Eyes” that the closing of trade provided Hitler with a powerful justification for his territorial ambitions known as lebensraum, or living space.

pages: 686 words: 201,972

Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately


barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Peace of Westphalia, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor


In addition to refreshing their visitors, the brewers supplied them with propaganda, which explained that the duties they paid were by far the largest source of internal revenue in the United States: That “a brewer is just as necessary to the commonweal as a butcher, a baker, a tailor, a builder, or any other economic industry, is proven by the present position of the trade in the United States.” 24 IMPERIAL PREFERENCE Here with a loaf of bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse, and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness And Wilderness is Paradise enow. —Edward FitzGerald Whereas the British and American temperance movements had marched hand in hand during the first half of the nineteenth century, exchanging ideas, sharing tracts, and lending each other their orators, by the 1870s, when American women were invading saloons and American men were electing a dry president, their paths had diverged and the British temperance movement was in retreat.

., p. 237. 316 “immense buildings, fitted up in imitation of a garden”: Baron, p. 180. 316 “exquisite in some places,”: Ibid., p. 181. 317 “Just now a note of war”: et seq., Ibid., p. 220. 318 “hundreds of thousands of women”: Domesticating Drink: Women, Men, and Alcohol in America, 1870-1940, Catherine Gilbert Murdock, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 1998, p. 18. 319 “from speaking at a Sons of Temperance”: Murdock, p. 26. 321 “a brewer is just as necessary”: Baron, p. 226. 24 IMPERIAL PREFERENCE 322 “Here with a loaf of bread”: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, 1st (1859) and 5th (1889) editions, Edward Fitzgerald, Dover Publications, Inc. New York. 322 “pledged 4,000 children between”: Harrison, p. 192. 323 “a Whole Hog of unwieldy dimensions”: “Household Words,” Charles Dickens, No. 184, Vol. VIII. 323 “to outlaw all trading”: Harrison, p. 197. 324 “dictate to the remaining 13/15ths”: Ibid., p. 209. 324 “a great stock of egg and wine”: Ibid., p. 248. 325 “If I must take my choice . . .”: Ibid., p. 293. 326 “a useful expedient only, for the furtherance”: Ibid., p. 190. 326 “to censure Noah for his”: Ibid., p. 186. 326 “If an angel from heaven”: Ibid., p. 277. 327 “Ah, fill the Cup:- what boots it to repeat”: Fitzgerald. 328 “apoplectic and swollen”: Younger, p. 436. 329 “Hodgson’s warranted prime picked pale ale”: Cornell, p. 135. 329 “almost universally preferred by all old Indians”: Ibid., p. 137. 330 Australia: The Wine Industry of Australia 1788-1979, Gerald Walsh, Wine Talk A.N.U.

pages: 618 words: 180,430

The Making of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr


anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business climate, Corn Laws, Etonian, garden city movement, illegal immigration, imperial preference, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Red Clydeside, rent control, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, V2 rocket, wage slave, women in the workforce

He had been a great radical and a great wartime prime minister but he had smashed his party and never again found a way to count. A dynamic force is indeed a very terrible thing. Britain would be spared another such force for years to come. After Bonar Law took over as Tory leader and then prime minister, winning a massive majority in 1922, he ran a brief and unmemorable administration. His admirers, notably Beaverbrook, had assumed he would bring in protection, or ‘imperial preference’, finally ushering in the paradise Joseph Chamberlain had conjured up twenty years earlier. But by now he was a caricature of his former self, and even his former self had never been inspiring. He was pallid, nervous, indecisive, tobacco-scented and increasingly frail. His voice disappeared. Baldwin had to sit beside him in the Commons and speak for him. Bonar Law was sent on a holiday to recuperate in the Mediterranean – it is a safe rule of thumb that all British politicians of the period are to be found in the South of France almost as often as they are in London.

As it happened, MacDonald kept Mosley outside the cabinet, working on unemployment issues under a former leader of the railway workers called Jimmy Thomas, who was drunk, corrupt, lazy and unimaginative. New ideas were whirling about. Advised by Keynes, Lloyd George returned to the fray with his Orange Book, promising ‘We Can Conquer Unemployment’. He called for high public borrowing to fund more house building and road construction. Some of the younger Tories, backed by the press barons Beaverbrook and Rothermere, returned to imperial preference, with a nationwide campaign for tariff walls, inside which the Bank of England could pursue deficit financing to boost the economy. There was excited talk of a new ‘Young Party’ which might bring together Churchill, radical Tories, Liberals and Labour people, including Mosley, who was bombarding the cabinet with his own plans for expansion. He wanted large-scale public borrowing, children to be kept longer at school, the retirement age to be cut and public works, including criss-crossing the country with a dozen ‘speedways’ – what we would call motorways.

There was another by-election pending, this time in the St George’s Division of Westminster, a constituency which covered some of the richest property in Britain. The Empire Crusaders were standing again. The official Tory candidate panicked and withdrew, saying he could not honestly make the case for Baldwin. The party’s chief agent suggested Baldwin should stand down. Neville Chamberlain, whose father had started the imperial preference campaign thirty years before and who was now eyeing the leadership for himself, took this proposal to Baldwin with Uriah Heep apologies. Over a Sunday afternoon, the Tory leader seemed to have reconciled himself to going. But with the encouragement of friends his mood turned and he resolved to fight. Perhaps he himself would fight the Mayfair by-election? He told Chamberlain, who was horrified and blurted out that he should think of the effect on his successor.

pages: 572 words: 134,335

The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class by Kees Van der Pijl


anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, deskilling, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, floating exchange rates, full employment, imperial preference, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, North Sea oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, RAND corporation, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty

In Italy FIAT, an independent and internationalist concern, resorted to Mussolini’s protection to consolidate its virtual national monopoly during the critical interwar years. In the Netherlands, the buildings of the Spijker factory, the last national car firm, were sold to a paper manufacturer in 1929.47 If in Britain the automobile industry flourished compared to the depressed situation on the continent, this occurred under the specific conditions of the Imperial Preference System and the corporatist collusion between capital and labour under the auspices of the state-monopoly tendency in the bourgeoisie. The breakthrough of a consumer-durables industry and the rise of strong automobile firms like Austin and Morris here represented a protracted ‘consumption’ of British imperial hegemony rather than a restructuration of industry towards a Fordist accumulation pattern, as is testified by the resistance put up by the steel industry to the introduction of a continuous wide-strip mill and the conditions of its eventual operation in 1939.48 In the United States, the restructuration of class relations towards the progressive accumulation pattern and the new corporate-liberal concept of control was consummated between 1933 and 1941.

The British, struggling to retain control of the air against the German bomber offensive, were only able to add the ‘due regard to present obligations’ clause to the Charter’s Article IV dealing with equal access to trade and raw materials, but as Sumner Welles, who replaced Hull, recollected later, ‘It was fully understood … that this reservation was inserted solely to take care of what it was hoped would be merely temporary impediments to the more far-reaching commitment originally envisaged in that article’.28 Churchill, however, clung to the ‘existing obligations’ clause and stubbornly resisted American pressures for liberalization. ‘I found the Cabinet at its second meeting on this subject even more resolved against trading the principle of imperial preference as consideration for lease-lend’, he cabled to Roosevelt on February 7, 1942, two weeks before the Anglo-American Lend-Lease Agreement was concluded.29 The Agreement again contained a compromise formula on the post-war international economy, reflecting British determination in this respect. Any attempt to emphasize the historic nature of the Atlantic Charter was accordingly rejected. In a telegram dated 9 August 1942, Churchill asked to see the message that Roosevelt was going to send him on the occasion of the Charter’s first anniversary on 14 August.

On Power and Ideology by Chomsky, Noam


anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, feminist movement, imperial preference, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, union organizing

President Woodrow Wilson’s famous rhetorical flourishes during World War I concealed measures by which the U.S. displaced Britain from Central America, taking over control of Guatemalan petroleum resources, for example. During World War II, the U.S. exploited Britain’s travail to expand its influence and control at Britain’s expense in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. The U.S. has consistently been “anti-imperialist,” in the sense that it has opposed and sought to dismantle the imperial preference systems established by Britain and lesser powers. The meaning of this “anti-imperialism” is hardly obscure to its Third World victims, or to competing imperial powers displaced by these operations. As conflicts over this matter erupted within the Western alliance during World War II, the British Colonial Office observed that “the Americans are quite ready to make their dependencies politically ‘independent’ while economically bound to them and see no inconsistency in this” as “American imperialism” is attempting “to elbow us out” in many parts of the world, relying on its overwhelming economic and military power facilitated with trusteeship schemes and other devices to ensure U.S. control.

pages: 427 words: 124,692

Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British by Jeremy Paxman


British Empire, call centre, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Etonian, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, imperial preference, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Kibera, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, offshore financial centre, polynesian navigation, Scramble for Africa, transatlantic slave trade

Wells recognized, ‘Empire has happened to them and civilisation has happened to them as fresh lettuces come to tame rabbits. They do not understand how they got, and they will not understand how to keep.’ Sure enough, there was soon an Empire Marketing Board, to try to secure the enterprise by promoting the products of Britain’s scattered possessions to British citizens,* which was followed by a trading doctrine of ‘Imperial Preference’ whereby a country which had sermonized the world on the life-giving virtues of free trade introduced tariffs on goods from countries which had the misfortune not to belong to its empire. The 1924 exhibition seemed rather purposeless, a shop-window display laid out by officialdom to try to grab the attention of largely indifferent passers-by. The Canadian exhibit caught things well. It was a life-size equestrian statue of the Prince of Wales carved in refrigerated butter.

pages: 369 words: 121,161

Alistair Cooke's America by Alistair Cooke


Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, British Empire, double entry bookkeeping, full employment, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, interchangeable parts, joint-stock company, Maui Hawaii, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, urban sprawl, wage slave, Works Progress Administration

(Exactly the same problem – of where the central authority ended and local authority began – was to frustrate the first government of the United States twenty years later.) Parliament began to pass laws compelling New England, for instance, to trade only with the British possessions in the West Indies. And it doubled the export tax the colonies would have to pay on European goods shipped to America. These new restrictions were not inspired in the first place by a theory of imperial preference. They were practical responses to the huge cost of the French and Indian Wars, which saddled the British with whopping new taxes and doubled the national debt. Troops would have to be raised to form a more or less permanent patrol of the country beyond the Appalachians, and the British began to think that, at the least, the British in America should do something in their own defense. This suggestion came as a shock to the colonists.

pages: 476 words: 144,288

1946: The Making of the Modern World by Victor Sebestyen


anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, Etonian, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, illegal immigration, imperial preference, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, operation paperclip

He was to be disappointed, however. Instead of the ‘gift’ of £1,500 million and an interest-free loan of £3,500 million Keynes sought, and thought he would obtain, he was offered £3,750 million at 2 per cent interest, with payments (made in dollars) spread over the next fifty years. And even that was subject to the approval of Congress. There were other shocks in the small print. Britain had to forgo the system of ‘imperial preferences’ that made it harder for British colonies to trade with countries outside the Commonwealth, and, more seriously, the Americans insisted that sterling must become a freely convertible currency within a year of the loan being agreed. That, as Keynes realised, would have disastrous consequences: a year on, there was a ‘run on the pound’ that forced a devaluation, which ate into the principal of the loan.*5 In 1946 the ‘special relationship’ was not as special as it would become.

pages: 565 words: 164,405

A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein


Admiral Zheng, asset allocation, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, British Empire, call centre, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, domestication of the camel, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Gini coefficient, ice-free Arctic, imperial preference, income inequality, intermodal, James Hargreaves, John Harrison: Longitude, Khyber Pass, low skilled workers, non-tariff barriers, placebo effect, Port of Oakland, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, working poor

England was beginning to catch the protectionist influenza, spread by Joseph Chamberlain, a prominent politician (first in the Liberal Party, and then the Liberal Unionist Party), president of the Board of Trade, and father of the future prime minister Neville Chamberlain. His protectionism was of a different strain from the ordinary continental variety; it would have erected a high tariff wall around the entire empire and the commonwealths, within whose ambit there would be free trade-so-called "imperial preference." But England was not ready to abandon free trade. Chamberlain's proposals became the major issue in the general election of 1906, in which he and his supporters were roundly defeated.)8 While most of continental Europe walled itself off from foreign imports, and even the English fretted over their free-trade policy, one nation took a different path, based on, of all things, pigs and cows.

pages: 422 words: 113,830

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips


algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency peg, diversification, Doha Development Round, energy security, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, mobile money, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route

However, should the United States decide to imitate the commitments of high-value-added manufacturers and exporters like Germany, Japan, and Switzerland, some success would be likely, especially given dollar weakness. As for education, shortcomings and calls for renewal have received attention in the past as national decline threatens, especially from progressives—the British Liberal Party of 1900 to 1910 comes especially to mind—who sought a rebuttal to trade proposals emphasizing reciprocity, imperial preference, or protection. This works politically because progressives are also usually associated with educators and education interests. Overall, though, improved education has been no more of a nostrum than airy schemes to rebuild lost industrial glories. Instead of listing any more leaden linings, let me close with a silver lining. The thirty- to forty-year tumble from national preeminence that made life more glum for most folk in seventeenth-century Spain, eighteenth-century Holland, and the Britain from the 1910s to the 1950s may be somewhat moderated for the United States because of its position as a North American continental economic power with a large resource and population base rather than a weaker European maritime periphery.

pages: 670 words: 169,815

Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World by Kwasi Kwarteng


Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Etonian, illegal immigration, imperial preference, invisible hand, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, trade route, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

Subsequent generations of politicians, historians and campaigners have made the British Empire in their own image, promoting it as a vehicle for whatever cause they happened to espouse. One example of different people appropriating the empire for their own purposes occurs in the field of economic theory. For old-fashioned economic liberals like Winston Churchill, the British Empire was an empire of free trade; for Joseph Chamberlain, on the other hand, the empire was perfect for protectionism, known as ‘imperial preference’, in that goods from the British colonies were ‘preferred’, more lightly taxed, in comparison with goods from Britain’s industrial competitors, such as Germany and the United States. The empire has been invoked to support a multitude of causes. Perhaps the key to understanding the British Empire is the idea of natural hierarchy. Class and status were absolutely integral to the empire, and notions of class were important in forming alliances with local elites, the chiefs, the petty kings and maharajas who crowded the colonial empire.

pages: 823 words: 206,070

The Making of Global Capitalism by Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin


accounting loophole / creative accounting, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, continuous integration, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global value chain, guest worker program, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, inflation targeting, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, oil shock, precariat, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, very high income, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration, zero-coupon bond

It was highly significant, moreover, that under the aegis of the US, German capital—especially with the imposition of an anti-cartel competitive framework—had already fully embraced what would later be called neoliberalism, and indentified “internationalization,” with the closest of ties to the US, as central to its postwar rehabilitation. While the rest of Europe increasingly exported to Germany in the 1950s, Germany increasingly exported to the US.57 By contrast, the UK, clinging to the imperial preference system and sterling’s place within it, and resistant to American pressures to join in European integration, proved more intractable—despite (or perhaps because of) the “special relationship.” Yet with the City of London pressing for the removal of currency controls in order to regain its place as a leading financial center, the way was being paved for the role the UK soon came to play as one of the main conduits of the American financial penetration of Europe.58 “The Rest of the World” In his 1936 State of the Union Address, President Roosevelt used the phrase “The rest of the world—Ah!