Set in the context of the early-modern British Empire, Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism paints a striking picture of the tensions between the illiberal origins of capitalism and its liberal imaginations in metropolitan thought. Onur Ulas Ince combines an analysis of political economy and political theory to examine the impact of colonial economic relations on the development of liberal thought in Britain. He shows how a liberal self-image
for the British Empire was constructed in the face of the systematic expropriation, exploitation, and servitude that built its transoceanic capitalist economy. The resilience of Britain's self-image was due in
large part to the liberal intellectuals of empire, and Ince forcefully demonstrates that liberalism as a language of politics was elaborated in and through the political economic debates around the contested meanings of private property, market exchange, and free labor. Weaving together intellectual history, critical theory, and colonial studies, this book is a bold attempt to reconceptualize the historical relationship between capitalism, liberalism, and empire in a way that continues to
resonate with our present moment.