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Title: Industry, technology and the political economy of empire : Lancashire industrialists and the cotton supply question, c.1850-1910
Author: Tate, Jonathan Graham
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 4728
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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The role of nineteenth-century industrialists in British imperial expansion and governance has been debated for many years. Major recent interpretations, such as Peter Cain and Tony Hopkins's 'gentlemanly capitalism' and Gary Magee and Andrew Thompson's 'cultural economy', have conceived industrialists' involvement mostly in terms of promoting manufactured exports. Industrialists' reliance on imported raw materials has however been comparatively neglected. Using the case of study of raw cotton, nineteenth-century Britain's most valuable industrial commodity import, this thesis revises how we understand the contribution Lancashire industrialists made to the formation of imperial policy. Analysing examples from the formal and informal empire in India, Egypt, and sub-Saharan Africa, it shows that interactions between technology, business lobbying, and ideas of political economy fostered cotton-growing schemes. Fluctuations in the quantity and, significantly, the quality of cotton supplies fostered interest in reforming or creating new supply chains, promoting the formation of business associations, pre-eminently the Cotton Supply Association and the British Cotton Growing Association. These associations lobbied governments to make supply chains more suited to Lancashire technological systems, and led to the promotion of standardised cotton types through the export of European knowledge and skills, the erection of processing machinery and transportation systems, and the regulation of colonial labour. The main argument is that if the focus is shifted to supplies rather than markets, industrialists, directly and indirectly, were often important influences on imperial governance and overseas economic change. While fiscal and financial considerations often provided the framework for government-backed cotton-growing schemes, because cotton was a complex commodity officials had to implement industrialists' advice to create supply chains that would serve these ends. By providing fresh insights for understanding the relationship between supply chains, business mobilisation, and European imperialism, this thesis lays the foundations for further much-needed work on the 'supply-side' economics of global empires.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: College of Arts and Social Sciences ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cotton trade ; Textile manufacturers ; Economics ; Great Britain