"As Europe's economic power grew in the Industrial Revolution, the confrontation between rich and poor was very stark because the gap of wealth also meant the gap of power, and power could be used for exploitation. Europe's superior power was used repeatedly to compel actions by the weaker societies on behalf of the richer overlords. European imperial powers forced Africans to grow cash crops they chose. Colonial authorities imposed head taxes, compelling Africans to work in mines and on plantations, often hundreds (or thousands, my edit) of miles from their families and homes. European investors and governments commandeered natural resources, including mineral wealth and vast woodlands in Africa and Asia. Private European companies maintained private armies in the colonies to insure compliance with company "law," knowing as well that their national governments would back them up with military force..."
From the book, "The End of Poverty"