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Ince, Onur Ulas (2022) 'Saving Capitalism from Empire: Uses of Colonial History in New Institutional Economics.' International Relations. pp. 1-26. (Forthcoming)

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This article contributes to theorising colonialism and capitalism within the same analytic frame through a critical engagement with the uses of colonial history in new institutional economics (NIE). The ‘colonial turn’ in NIE holds significant diagnostic value because although it incorporates colonialism into its account of the ‘great divergence’, it maintains a liberal conception of capitalism predicated on private property, competitive markets, and the rule of law. It is argued that NIE achieves this effect by admitting colonialism into its history of capitalism while excluding it from its theory of capitalism. By filtering colonialism through the dichotomy between ‘inclusive’ and ‘extractive’ institutions, NIE upholds the categorical association of capitalist growth with inclusive institutions. Drawing on critical theories of political economy, the article shows the limits of the NIE framework by identifying forms of colonial capitalism that do not resolve into a stylised opposition between inclusion and extraction. Colonial slavery, commercial imperialism, and settler colonialism strain the inclusive/extractive binary by highlighting (1) the interdependence of inclusive and extractive institutions in imperial networks accumulation, and (2) the violent expropriations at the origins of inclusive institutions, above all private property. Proposing to view NIE’s critique of colonialism as a ‘liberal critique of capitalist unevenness’, the article concludes on broader questions about inclusion and exclusion under ‘actually existing capitalism’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: capitalism, imperialism, institutionalism, liberalism, settler colonialism, slavery
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 00471178
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2022 14:02

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