Thanks for taking the time to reply, Theo.
When academics measure the "success" and "failure" of colonial exploitations with metrics they invented ($, life-span, schooling), I'm reminded of a judge or a psychiatrist signing a form for the release or continued imprisonment of inmates/patients.
The assessment is, on the surface of it, about the well-being of the subject and whether "rehabilitation" has gone well. But beneath that, it's about how convincingly the subject HIDES THE VIOLENCE DONE TO THEM.
Like, IMHO, these analyses just don't come near the truth of the matter. Graeber and Wengrow's Dawn of Everything is a rare exception.
Of course, there are millions upon millions of "rare exceptions" available if one ventures away from the academy and towards indigenous wordsmiths.
This book is my favourite first recommendation for curious folks: Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta.