Originally Posted by houghtam
In that context, every railroad everywhere for all time was developed to extract wealth.
total bs -- the Brits built the RRs in India to get wealth to port -- so the Brits could take it out of the country.
Many native industries in India were destroyed by colonialism. The BRits did not want India to flourish - except insofar as it served their imperial plans.
BTW the facts in the case of India are well documented -- check out Paul Baran's THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF GROWTH. He includes a detailed discussion of how the Brits plundered India.
Here's a review:
STILL GREAT AFTER 50 YEARS...
"The Political Economy of Growth" is a long essay on 20th century capitalism and its implications (mostly negative) for economic growth and development. The analysis is informed by Marxist concepts but isn't warped by Marxist dogma. The text is droll, almost Galbraithian, and hyper-alert to the cliches of capitalism. It's a pleasure to read.
Unfortunately, the book was also written long ago, in 1957. The world has changed a lot since then. The Washington Consensus has come and gone. China has emerged as an economic giant. Central planning has collapsed almost everywhere. And, contrary to the expectations of the author, Paul Baran, capitalist economies have grown significantly (if not evenly) since the 1950s. So, "The Political Economy of Growth" is definitely anachronistic.
Nevertheless, it is still worth reading. It's just packed with great ideas on everything from the impact of oligopolies in the U.S. to the role of British imperialism in destroying the Indian economy. Moreover, Baran had a genius for weaving bracing polemic out of deep erudition and deep political outrage. He was particularly skilled at exposing the role of mainstream economics in upholding the political and economic status quo in modern America.
Bottomline: In spite of its age, "The Political Economy of Growth" will appeal to readers of any political persuasion who are interested in economics and the history of the modern world. Read it.