Title

Not a Partnership in Pepper, Coffee, Callico, or Tobacco: Edmund Burke and the Vicissitudes of Colonial Capitalism

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

7-2012

Abstract

This essay examines the tensions between liberalism and capitalism through an analysis of Edmund Burke's works on eighteenth-century liberal political economy and, specifically the challenges posed by colonial capitalism. When criticizing the East India Company Burke attempted to fortify "commercial" principles, on which British self-image rested, against the "rapacious" policies of British imperialism in India, which threatened this liberal self-image. His denunciation of the Company thus can be construed as an index to broader contradictions between the liberal self-image of capitalism and the coercive processes of colonial displacement and extraction that were an integral part of capitalism's emergence. The article, in its conclusion, outlines some theoretical and methodological issues that arise from situating Burke's writings in their colonial and capitalist contexts.

Keywords

Edmund Burke, capitalism, liberalism, colonialism, British Empire, Scottish Enlightenment

Discipline

American Politics | Political Economy | Political Science

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

Polity

Volume

44

Issue

3

First Page

340

Last Page

372

ISSN

0032-3497

Identifier

10.1057/pol.2012.7

Publisher

Palgrave Macmillan

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/pol.2012.7

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