SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Ince, Onur Ulas (2016) 'Friedrich List and the Imperial Origins of the National Economy.' New Political Economy, 21 (4). pp. 380-400.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (388kB) | Preview


This essay offers a critical reexamination of the works of Friedrich List by placing them in the context of nineteenth-century imperial economies. I argue that List's theory of the national economy is characterised by a major ambivalence, as it incorporates both imperial and anti-imperial elements. On the one hand, List pitted his national principle against the British imperialism of free trade and the relations of dependency it heralded for late developers like Germany. On the other hand, his economic nationalism aimed less at dismantling imperial core–periphery relations as a whole than at reproducing these relations domestically and expanding them globally. I explain this ambivalence with reference to List's designation of imperial Britain as the prime example of successful economic development and a model to be emulated by late industrialisers. List thereby fashioned his ideas on national development out of the historical experience of an empire whereby he internalised its economic logic and discourse of the civilising mission. Consequently, List's national economy culminated in an early vision of the global north–south relations, in which the global industrial-financial core would expand to include France, Germany and the USA, while the rest of the world would be reduced to quasi-colonial agrarian hinterlands.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 13563467
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Political Economy, 21 (4) 2016. pp. 380-40 Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 18:14

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item