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Colonialism is a system in which a state claims sovereignty over territory and people outside its own boundaries, often to facilitate economic domination over their resources, labor, and often markets. The term also refers to a set of beliefs used to legitimate or promote this system, especially the belief that the mores of the colonizer are superior to those of the colonized.

Advocates of colonialism have also argued that colonialist rule benefits the colonized by developing the economic and political infrastructure necessary for modernization and democracy. They point to such former colonies as Singapore as examples of post-colonial success.

Dependency theorists such as Andre Gundar Frank, however, have argued that colonialism actually leads to the transfer of wealth from the colonized to the colonizer, and inhibits successful economic development. Post-colonialist critics such as Franz Fanon have argued that colonialism does political , psychological, and moral damage to the colonized as well.

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