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The Colonial Office and British Business before World War I: A Case Study

Vincent Ponko, Jr.
The Business History Review
Vol. 43, No. 1 (Spring, 1969), pp. 39-58
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3111986
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Colonial Office and British Business before World War I: A Case Study
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Abstract

As Great Britain expanded its economic sphere at the turn of the century, what was the nature of the relationship between the imperial government and private firms seeking profits within the free trade empire? Was there a "well-planned and consistent program directed from the top," or was the government's so-called "high policy" toward business actually the result "of ad hoc compromises among various departmental heads" buried three and four levels deep in the Colonial Office? The experience of the Tanjong Pagar Dock Co. of Singapore suggests that the opportunities for British firms to exploit the resources of British controlled territories could be seriously circumscribed by the "arbitrary paternalism" of "crusading bureaucrats."

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