chapter  1
23 Pages

Introduction and framework

The basis of our approach stems from an examination of the plans for colonial development which were gradually evolved by British statesmen and administrators from the late nineteenth century onwards. For although Britain may have started with a fairly laissez-faire attitude to the economic progress of its colonies, increasingly from the 1880s onwards, the need for positive plans was realised. At first these remained general and poorly articulated, but as experience grew, refinements were added, until by the 1920s quite ambitious and far-reaching plans for colonial economic development had been framed. No doubt by modern standards they were too partial and limited. Nonetheless they far exceeded the performance on the ground. It is in the analysis of the way in which these plans evolved, and the reasons why they failed to achieve more than a relatively small part of their objectives, that we believe that much of the interest in the present study lies.