Should the former colonial powers pay reparations to nations they once subjugated?



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Should the former colonial powers pay reparations to nations they once subjugated? 12

The colonial era saw Europe’s share of the world’s GDP jump from 20% to 60%, leading many to point out that Europe didn’t develop the colonies - rather, the land, resources, and labour of the colonies developed Europe. Anthropologist Jason Hickel, writing in the Guardian, notes India commanded 27% of the world’s economy prior to British colonisation: when the colonialists left in 1947, it only represented 3%. Historian Mike Davis describes how the British overhauled India’s agricultural system, destroying traditional subsistence practices to make way for cash crops - at times exporting 10 million tonnes of food to Europe a year. As a result, up to 29 million Indians died of famine in the latter 19th century. Similarly, the socio-economic growth of Haiti - the first black nation to successfully rebel in 1804 against its coloniser, France - was instantly jeopardised by the colonial powers’ retaliatory boycott on Haitian products. France demanded 150 million francs as compensation; it took Haiti 122 years to pay. With many former colonies continuing to suffer from systemic poverty, widespread corruption, lack of infrastructure, and political instability, should the Western powers pay reparations? Opponents of this notion state that ex-colonies already receive their fair share of aid. Opponents also stress that the sins of the fathers should not be visited upon their children, and that those most likely to bear the financial brunt of eventual reparations won’t be the elites (whose present-day fortunes often derive from colonialism), but ordinary taxpayers. David Horowitz famously argued that reparations were a “separatist idea”, painting Africans as victims while pitting them against the nations which “gave them freedom”. Others suggest that compensation is impractical, politically unworkable, or divisive, focusing attention on the p

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