Introduction It has been said that the word imperialism is no word for scholars. It is too value‐laden and uncertain in its meaning, a meaning which has altered with the passage of time. Nevertheless, taking account of its current use, the definition given by Benjamin Cohen (1974, p. 16) seems to be relevant. He defines imperialism as “any relationship of effective combination or control, political or economic, direct or indirect, of one nation over another”. This definition covers old and new imperialism and neo‐colonialism or neo‐imperialism even though it can be charged that it is too wide to be helpful (Mommsen, 1981) especially bearing in mind that the political or economic dependence of one state or set of states on another is relative (Barratt Brown, 1974). Indeed, unequal economic and political relations between nation states appear to be normal or usual, some might even say inescapable, no matter what is the economic system of the day and it is debatable whether all international political and economic relationships involving some degree of one‐way dependence should be described as involving imperialism.
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