Working Paper BETA #2023-44

Download working-paper

Title : Marx and Mill on “Systematic Colonization”: Irreconcilable Views?

Author(s) : Philippe GILLIG

Abstract : In the final chapter of Capital I, Marx interprets the economists’ support for “Systematic Colonization” as an implicit admission that capitalism cannot be regarded as natural, because it must be created through State intervention. On this issue, one of Marx’s main targets is J. S. Mill, an enthusiastic defender of “Systematic Colonization”. Although historians generally accept Marx’s viewpoint on this topic, we defend the opposite view: Mill did not advocate the establishment of capitalism in the colonies when supporting “Systematic Colonization”. Indeed, Mill’s analysis of the colonial question presents astonishing similarities with that of Marx.

Key-words : K. Marx, J. S. Mill, colonization, E. G. Wakefield, critique of political economy, capitalism, socialism

JEL Classification : B10; B12; B14; P16; P48