Imperialism is the act of expanding one’s empire through the use of politics, intimidation and military force. In my essay, I explain the economic pros and cons to imperialism.
More land means more resources
If you are going to invade somewhere to increase the amount of land you have, then it is better to invade a place that has rich resources that may be exploited for the betterment of your empire. Invading places that have few resources is not a good idea because you may waste more resources than you gain. It may be viable as a strategic position, in which case it may be worth the resources, otherwise it is only wise to invade and annex places that will help build your empire and enrich it in some way.
More land means more problems
Having more land means finding more resources to protect the land cultivate and manage the land. If the amount you gain from invasion is not enough to cover the running costs, then owning the land may not be worth your while. Each area you invade will have its own problems, and those problems are linked to economics. For example, if the people revolt over your rule, then you will have to pacify them, which will cost money. It will also have a great impact on the present and future economic growth of the area.
Each subject has a value and a cost
Every person within the empire has a cost or a value. The value that person has is related to how much he or she helps the economic growth of the country. It often relates to skills, training, education, health, age, etc. The more productive a person is, or that a person may be, then the more valuable that person is.
On the other hand, if that person is old, sick, under-trained, etc, then he or she has less of a value and will cost the economy (empire) more in the long run. If you invade a piece of territory where the people are highly trained and healthy, then you enjoy a very positive economic benefit. On the other hand, if the people are under trained and unable to provide much benefit to the empire, then they will cost the empire more money than they make.
The cost of subjects may not be a problem if you can import healthy and trained people into the area to kick start its economic recovery. Otherwise, it is up to you as an imperialist to choose the places you annex carefully.
There are many economic benefits to an imperialist campaign. Choosing the correct target seems to be a large key to success. However, your invasion should still be as cheap as possible, the benefits should be as large as possible, and the means by which you manage your newly annexed territory should be cost effective and recognize a high ROI.
There are many economic variables involved, and many of them are not under your direct control. Your best bet is to gain the support of the people within the area prior to invasion, or long-term management of the area may be too costly to maintain.