London, Grant Richards, 1901. 8vo. Uncut in the orig. full red bloth w. gilt lettering to spine. Some wear to corners and capitals. (6), 139, (1), 16 ("A Catalogue of Books Published by Grant Richards) pp.
First edition of Hobson's second work on the link between imperialism and international conflict, based on his experiences from South Africa immediately during the Second Boer War.
John Atkinson Hobson (1858 - 1940) was an important English economist and imperial critic, widely popular for his abilities as a writer and lecturer. He studied at Derby School and at Oxford, and in 1887 he moved to London, right in the middle of the economic depression. It is here that he writes his "Physiology of Industry" together with his friend, the mountain climber and businessman A.F. Mummery, which propounded "the theory of underconsumption". Hobson's work was not well received by the academic economists, and ultimately he was pushed out of their circle.
During the 1890'ies he published a number of notable works on capitalism, poverty and social reform, among which his famous "John Ruskin: Social Reformer" from 1898, in which he anticipated the marginal productivity theory of distribution and presented his critique of the classical theory of rent.
Now, Hobson was asked by the editor of the "Manchester Guardian", C.P. Scott, to become their South-African correspondent, which proved to be a turning point in his personal as well as professional life. It is during this time that he develops the idea that modern capitalism is a direct cause of imperialism. As a correspondent, he covers part of the Second Boer war, and his condemnation of the conflict is very strong.
It is this conflict that is the focus of the present work, in which he continues his quest to prove that international conflict and imperialism are directly connected. The ideas of the present work are elaborated further in what must be considered his main work, "Imperialism" from 1902.
It is Hobson's theories on imperialism that have gained him the great international reputation that he carries to this day, and it is these theories that have influenced thinkers such as Trotsky, Lenin, etc.