Influence of ” Free Trade ” on the Economy of the Colonies

The import of large quantities of goods to the oppressed countries enlivened the commodity – money relations in them . The local feudal lords and tribal chiefs began to use the market increasingly more often . The result of that was an intensified exploitation of the peasantry , its pauperisation and often ruination . Under the direct pressure of foreign capital ists , the colonial administration and the country’s own feudal lords , middlemen and usurers , peasants had to produce raw materials and foodstuffs for the capitalist market and sell them at uncommonly low prices . The slightest fluctuation in the capitalist market affected the conditions of the peasants in the colonies and semicolonies . The flooding of the colonies and semicolonies with large quantities of industrial commodities from the parent states which were , of course , unable to compete with the industries led to a decline of the local handicrafts and manufactories of the advanced countries . Thus the marketing of the articles manufactured in the parent states impeded the industrial declined together with the handicrafts . Not only the peasants development of Asia , Africa and Latin America . Local trade and handicraftsmen , but even the local bourgeoisie was becoming impoverished , except the part of the bourgeoisie which began to play the role of an intermediary in the trade between the colonialists and the subjugated peoples ( the so – called comprador bourgeoisie ) . ” Free trade ” was the main , but not the only method of exploiting the colonies . Capitalism also developed a system of plantation economy ( West – Indies , Indonesia , India , etc. ) and organised land plunder of the colonies and their settle ment by way of ” free ” colonisation ( Algeria , South Africa , etc. ) . In the countries of plantation economy the English and French colonialists had to abolish slavery which had completely outlived itself , was unproductive and was incapable of making the plantations more profitable . But even after the abolition of slavery the former slaves and the new contract workers from China and India were subjected to monstrous exploitation , continued to live under inhuman conditions and died en masse of starvation and disease . Whereas after abolition of slavery the English and French planters used a system of labour contracts , the Dutch colonialists in Indonesia , where the local population was employed as labour power , introduced a system of forced labour . Usually 5-10 villages were attached to an enterprise which processed raw material . The population was forced to supply the enterprise with raw material and labour power . During the period of pre – monopoly capital , when the main form of economic relations between the parent states and the colonies was ” free trade ” , capitalist relations did not as yet develop in the colonies . At the same time , having been drawn into world trade , the colonies were becoming an exploited part of the forming world capitalist system .


One thought on “Influence of ” Free Trade ” on the Economy of the Colonies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s