Imperial Inequalities

The politics of economic governance across European empires

Edited by Gurminder Bhambra and Julia McClure

Imperial Inequalities


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6614-2
  • Pages: 360
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: November 2022
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Historical Geography, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Welfare Economics, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Sociology, History, Colonialism & imperialism
  • Series: Postcolonial International Studies


Imperial inequalities takes Western European empires, and their legacies, as the explicit starting point for discussion of issues of taxation and welfare. Specifically, it addresses the institutional and fiscal processes involved in the modes of extraction, taxation, and the hierarchies of welfare distribution across Europe's global empires. It uses the idea of 'imperial inequalities' as a conceptual frame for thinking about the long-standing colonial histories that are responsible, in part at least, for the shape of present inequalities. The diverse contributions examine processes of fiscal governance that were not confined to either nations or colonies, but rather transcended the normative spatial and temporal boundaries of these units of analysis to provide new resources for how we think about issues of taxation and welfare across the longue durée.


Preface - Fiscal democracy and the legacy of empire - Quinn Slobodian

Introduction: Imperial Inequalities - Gurminder K Bhambra and Julia McClure

Part I: Institutional and fiscal issues

1 The great gage: Mortgaging Ireland to finance an empire - David Brown
2 The cost of thrift: The politics of 'financial autonomy' in the French colonial empire, 1900-1914 - Madeline Woker
3 Madagascar and French imperial mercantilism: Foreign trade and domestic crises (1895-1914) - Samuel F. Sanchez
4 The right to sovereign seizure? Taxation, valuation, and the Imperial British East Africa Company - Emma Park
5 Internal inequalities: Taxpayers, taxation and expenditure in Sierra Leone, c. 1890s to 1937 - Laura Channing

Part II: Taxation and welfare

6 Taxation, welfare, and inequalities in the Spanish imperial state - Julia McClure
7 Political economies of welfare of the Spanish Empire: Tax and charity for the Hospital de los Naturales of Potosí, 16th -17th c. - Camille Sallé
8 Poverty, health, and imperial wealth in early modern Scotland - Andrew Mackillop
9 Compromise and adaptation in colonial taxation: Political-economic governance and inequality in Indonesia - Maarten Manse
10 Imperial revenue and national welfare: The case of Britain - Gurminder K Bhambra

Part III: Postcolonial legacies

11 Making investor states: Haitian foreign debt and neo-colonial economic governance in nineteenth-century France - Alexia Yates
12 The lure of the welfare state following decolonisation in Kenya - Lyla Latif
13 From capitation taxes to tax havens: British fiscal policies in a colonial island world - Gregory Rawlings
14 Imperial extraction and 'tax havens'- Alex Cobham
15 The crown agents and the CDC group: Imperial extraction & development's 'private sector turn' - Paul Gilbert, University of Sussex

Afterword: Imperialism and global inequalities - Heloise Weber


Gurminder K. Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

Julia McClure is Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval and Early Modern Global History in the School of Humanities, University of Glasgow

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