The absence, in Fuller's account of the history of industrialization, of any discussion of colonialism or imperialism is both unfortunate and normal.

(The November 1990 issue of Scientific American contained an eight-page article called "Science, Technology and the Western Miracle", in which the significance of imperialism was dismissed in a paragraph, and in which the word "capitalism" was absent altogether.)

This approach is not so common in non-Western countries. The African historian Walter Rodney argued that:

"It would be extremely simple-minded to say that colonialism in Africa or anywhere else caused Europe to develop its science and technology. The tendency towards technological innovation and renovation was inherent in capitalism itself, because of the drive for profits. However, it would be entirely accurate to say that the colonialization of Africa and other parts of the world formed an indispensible link in a chain of events which made possible the technological transformation of the base of European capitalism." (1972, p.190)

Lest it seem that this does not concern Fuller's American-centred account, we may note Rodney's mention of the USA's role:

"The US capitalists intruded and elbowed out French, British, and Belgian capitalists in colonial Africa, while providing the funds without which the Western European nations could not have revived and could not have increased their exploitation of Africa - which is what they did in the period 1945-1960." (p.214)



Paul Taylor 2001