The Drain of Wealth – Monthly Review

Utsa Patnaik is professor emerita and Prabhat Patnaik is professor emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Utsa’s books include The Agrarian Question in the Neoliberal Era and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays. Prabhat’s books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism, The Value of Money, and Re-Envisioning Socialism.

This article is adapted from chapter 9 of their new Monthly Review Press book, Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present.

The Western European powers appropriated economic surplus from their colonies, and this materially and substantially aided their own industrial transition from the eighteenth century onward, as well as the diffusion of capitalism to the regions of new European settlement. In the literature on economic growth, however, we find little awareness of the existence of such transfers, let alone their sheer scale, or the specific real and financial mechanisms

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