Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In Praise of Empires: Globalization and Order Hardcover – November 25, 2004
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
'A brilliant and provocative scourge of pious thinking on international
politics'- Paul Collier, University of Oxford
'In only 216 pages of tautly written, sharply worded and frankly exhilarating text, Lal sets out the case for imperialism in the modern world, and why the United states could bring untold benefits to the planet if only it could shrug off the notion, held ever since the Revolutionary War-era, that empires are bad things per se.' - Andrew Roberts, The Sunday Telegraph
'Controversial, but tight and historically well-informed.' - BBC History
About the Author
DEEPAK LAL is James S. Coleman Professor of International Development Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA and Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, University College of London, UK. He has advised numerous governments and international agencies and was the Research Administrator at the World Bank from 1984 to 1987. He writes a monthly column for The Business Standard and his most recent work, Unintended Consequences was named on the of the 12 'Year's Best Books About Asia' by Asia Pacific Media News Magazine.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Why we need empires
Deepak Lal is the nephew of a former mayor of Delhi and Nehru cabinet minister who was imprisoned by the British. Lal is himself a former Indian foreign-service diplomat, Oxford economics don, research administrator for the World Bank, the author of 19 books, and professor of international development at UCLA. He began life believing in the socialist and nationalist ideologies of post-independence India, and so is the ideal person to write a book with the title In Praise of Empires.
"It is evidence and experience," Lal says, "especially in working and travelling in most parts of the Third World during my professional career, which have led me to change my earlier views." In only 216 pages of tautly written, sharply worded and frankly exhilarating text, Lal sets out the case for imperialism in the modern world, and why the United States could bring untold benefits to the planet if only it could shrug off the notion, held ever since the Revolutionary War-era, that empires are bad things per se.
"The order provided by empires," Lal argues, "has been essential for the working of the benign processes of globalisation, which promote prosperity." This splendidly revisionist statement is supported by a wealth of evidence and acutely chosen statistical tables, backed up by an impressive range of sources from fellow intellectuals. Drawing on the ideas of Raymond Aron, Hedley Bull, Niall Ferguson, Michael Oakeshott and many others, Lal none the less constructs his own analysis of where the English-speaking peoples have been, where we're headed and what might happen if we choose not to go there.
As one would expect from such a distinguished scholar, Lal defines his terms carefully, thus: "Globalization is the process of creating a common economic space which leads to a growing integration of the world economy through increasingly free movement of goods, capital and labour," something that he believes is almost always "a positive sum game". Modern America can choose to go down the route of free trade and laissez-faire, thereby enriching the world as well as itself, or it can stick with the New Deal-era populist anti-trust legislation and trade-reciprocity that Lal believes impoverishes both the world and the United States itself.
"Not since the fall of the Roman Empire has there been a potential imperial power like the US today," Lal states, and the role that has been thrust upon her by History, one that she must not now shirk, is to create what he calls a "LIEO", a Liberal International Economic Order. The main attributes of the LIEO imposed by the British in the 19th century were free trade, free mobility of capital, sound money due to the gold standard, property rights guaranteed by law, piracy-free transportation thanks to the Royal Navy, political stability, low domestic taxation and spending, and "gentlemanly" capitalism run from the City of London. "Despite Marxist and nationalist cant," Lal writes, the British empire delivered astonishing growth rates, at least in those places fortunate enough to be coloured pink on the globe.
The great villain of this book is President Woodrow Wilson, whose "utopian world view was a strange mixture of classical liberalism, Burkean conservatism, Presbyterianism, and socialism". It was a combination that propelled Wilson towards giving self-determination to ethnic groupings that had not enjoyed it for centuries, with ultimately disastrous results. Lal also blames Wilson's vandalism of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires in 1919 for creating the circumstances that allowed the rise of Hitler.
To invert Dean Acheson's famous quip about post-Suez Britain, America has found an empire but has yet to find a role. Republicans and Democrats both shun the term "empire" as profoundly un-American, despite the fact that it represents a potentially far higher historic calling than the merely nation-based ideals of 1776. Lal rejects the neo-conservative project of extending democracy throughout the globe, arguing that experience shows that in places like Iran and Algeria it will be used to promote Islamic nihilism and obscurantism. For him modernity - by which he means economic globalisation and enforced order - is the touchstone, and the perfect way for America both to defeat al-Qaeda and to earn the enduring salute of History. Imperialism is an idea whose time has come again.