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I would say that industrialization was the economic force that had the most to do with this new wave of imperialism. It made imperialism both more possible and more necessary.
Imperialism became more possible as things like steamships and the telegraph made long distance travel and communication easier and faster.
Imperialism became more necessary as countries sought new markets for the goods that they could now create in abundance and as they sought new sources of the raw materials that they needed.
These two factors made it much more likely that European countries, the US, and eventually Japan would try to become imperial powers.
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