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    "scandalous"..., 2005-03-09 12:04:53 | Main | the anti-usury coallition..., 2005-03-09 14:32:52

    'fisking' ferguson:

    via max from vivek chibber, boston review:

    C. Walford showed in 1878 that the number of famines in the first century of British rule had already exceeded the total recorded cases in the previous two thousand years. But the grim reality behind claims to “good governance” truly came to light in the very decades that Ferguson trumpets. According to the most reliable estimates, the deaths from the 1876–1878 famine were in the range of six to eight million, and in the double-barreled famine of 1896–1897 and 1899–1900, they probably totaled somewhere in the range of 17 to 20 million. So in the quarter century that marks the pinnacle of colonial good governance, famine deaths average at least a million per year....

    It isn’t that the British responded to the crisis with insufficient alacrity, or that they showed a want of resolve. The point instead is that they resolutely - indeed, with homicidal intensity - pursued policies that predictably escalated the human disasters. Ferguson notes that the late Victorian famines were indeed a pity but “were far more environmental than political than origin.” But he does not advance a shred of evidence in support of this thesis. A far more appropriate conclusion is the one drawn by Davis himself, that “imperial policies toward starving ‘subjects’ were the moral equivalent of bombs dropped from 18,000 feet.”

    Best review he's ever deserved. Punches sizable holes on other arguments as well. Chibber alleges that independence in the colonies was brought about primarily by indigenous movements, but makes no mention of the costly and debilitating war that drastically weakened the colonial powers, offering mass independence movements numerous opportunities to advance, which might lead precipitously close to having something nice to say about Hitler. We could instead just stand up and go home, anytime we care to.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-03-09 13:26:11 CST | link





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