The threat of transferred technology

Ross argues against transferring technological knowledge to the colonized peoples of the world.

Ross understands that colonial ideology — or the European colonial Weltanschauung — was based on the false belief that some innate source of superiority (and not arbitrary historical conditions) had brought Europeans to dominate the earth, and that this domination was justified because Europeans were called upon to bring their civilizational advancements to the earth’s periphery. But a new Weltanschauung is necessary, he argues, one that will allow Europeans to understand colonization for what it is, and to pursue it nonetheless. In this way, Europeans can make better decisions about what actions serve their interests and which do not.

Arguing that European hegemony is singularly the historically contingent result of its current technological superiority, Ross argues that this same technology only serves as weapons against Europe in the hands of the colonized. The transfer of technological products and knowledge does not serve European interests, and it should be stopped entirely, even when such transfers bring Europeans short-term benefits (such as cheaper costs for skilled labor).

“It all sounds good and nice with the ‘white man’s burden’ and the task of the white man to lift his black fellow humans up to his higher level of civilization and culture. Putting aside for the moment the fact that the blacks don’t want this, we also have to realize that a logical consequence of such a politics can only be that the white man will have to leave Africa without further ado as soon as his task has been completed. But the people who use these nice phrases don’t consider this. If one thinks in purely practical terms, and sees that Europe wants to secure Africa as colonial territory […] then the native policies must be adjusted in a way that will secure the dominance of the white race in Africa for at least the next 100 years. For this, one shouldn’t press the issue of civilizing the blacks, or of educating them in European languages, machine technology, work methods, etc. even if this means that industrial profits and missionary activities suffer”.

Kristin Kopp








Colin Ross. Das alte Weltbild und die Hypothese eines neuen. In: Die Welt auf der Waage: Der Querschnitt von 20 Jahren Weltreise. 29. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1937 [1929]; 13-27.


Topic: Colonialism
Case: Geopolitics




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