Chapter

From Complement to Conflict: Trade Taxes, 1914–1938

Leigh A. Gardner

in Taxing Colonial Africa

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661527
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744877 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661527.003.0004

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

From Complement to Conflict: Trade Taxes, 1914–1938

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From World War One to the Great Depression, the global economic crises of 1914–38 were also crises for colonial administrations in Africa. By 1914 colonial economies were becoming dependent on the export of a limited range of commodities, and both producers and governments were affected when prices declined. This chapter examines the impact of these crises on colonial fiscal systems, focusing particularly on trade taxes. Though tariffs were initially imposed to raise revenue, demands from local producers for tariff protection brought colonial administrations into conflict with the British government, who hoped to use imperial preference in tariffs to encourage closer integration of colonial and metropolitan economies. Equally fierce debates occurred with regard to increased government involvement in export trade through marketing boards, and restrictions on colonial government purchasing. The chapter presents these debates from the perspective of colonial administrations in Africa.

Keywords: World War One; Great Depression; economic crisis; commodity prices; tariffs; imperial preference; marketing boards; colonial trade policy

Chapter.  11449 words.  Illustrated.

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