Imperialism, prosperity, and freedom

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Western Imperialism?

I’m writing a paper for a class and are having problems coming up with reasons why Western Imperialism was good. Yes I have to agrue that it was good.

The question reads: “Did Western Imperialism destroy non-western prospects to achieve prosperity and freedom.”

Sadly, there were very few non-western prospects to achieve prosperity and freedom (North America being the most likely exception). The West itself learned the value of individual liberty, limited government, separation of powers and all that very slowly and relatively recently. Until then, the choice was pretty much between a brutal tyranny and a more brutal one…

This said, take a look at this:

Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson and Simon Johnson, “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,” American Economic Review, volume 91, pp. 1369-1401 (December 2001).

http://econ-www.mit.edu/faculty/download…

Also, consider the unintended consequences of European imperialism, such as introduction of maize in Africa…

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