Empire not only made the colonies. It made the unequal Britain we see today

openDemocracy’s new film BOOMERANG, exploring the legacies of empire through Liverpool’s docks, is available online

Kojo Koram

Lenin’s famous quote that “there are weeks where decades happen” would be a suitable epitaph for the tombstone of the Liz Truss premiership. As commentators focus on her obvious personal limitations as a politician to explain her spectacular failure, the truth is far broader than one person being out of her depth. Truss and her reckless experimental budget unleashed the full weight of decades of British post-imperial economic ideologies, which collapsed upon the hapless prime minister and washed her out of office in record time.

Britain’s stagnant growth and productivity, spiralling wealth inequality and disappearing industries are long-standing issues that not only predate Truss, but connect all the way back to the dramatic changes that Britain’s economy has undertaken over the past century.

We often talk about Britain as the birthplace of industrial capitalism as though industrialisation occurred via immaculate conception on this sacred island. In fact, the industrialisation of Britain is a story that spans the four corners of the global map, stretching from the manufacture of cotton in India to the extraction of gold in Guinea and the cultivation of sugar in Jamaica….