The Costs of Empire
One interesting footnote from our recent debate over war and material self-interest is the question of the British Empire. Namely, did the Brits actually benefit from conquering all those foreign territories?
Niall Ferguson says yes, the process of “Anglobalization” benefited England and (some of) its colonies through freer trade, institution-building, and capital exchange. I can’t find any ungated papers contesting this view (Sorry, folks without JSTOR access!), but the Cliff’s Notes version of the argument against empire is that the maintenance of a colonial military was expensive and capital sent overseas could have been invested more productively in England.