Re: American Imperialism?

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 00:58:07 MST

>From: Robert Owen <>
>Zero Powers wrote:
> > But even so the US is not even engaging in economic imperialism.
> > Sure the world is our market, but it is also our supplier. In fact
>afaik we
> > have the biggest trade deficit on the planet.
>I actually agree with you, but there is something else involved in
>this thread I'm having trouble putting my finger on. Maybe you can
>help me sort things out.
>Perhaps if we substitute for "imperialism" the word "power" things
>might be less muddy. After all, technically there are no "empires"
>in the world anywhere at this time.

Now you’re talkin’! I never really had a problem with the position that the
US is too busy sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong. My only point
was that “imperialism” is an untrue and hyperbolic characterization of US
foreign policy.

>Now, let's ask the question: can we assign actual centers of
>power (or control) geographic locations anymore? Does the
>power-grid, if any, "float above ground"? Is it an outdated
>assumption that power centers are governments? If the
>answer to either is "no" then we have to look at how power
>IS actually distributed today, and whether the pattern we dis-
>cern, if any, is actually significant of anything, or merely an
>artifact of history?

Well, I think its fairly clear that power centers are still more or less
geographically located, and that the primary power centers are still
governmental in nature. Although both these aspects of power are slowly
undergoing fundamental transitions. Specifically, power is shifting more
and more into resource-fat corporate enterprises and commerical power
brokers. (Has anyone ever stopped to think how much mayhem Bill Gates could
cause if he *really* wanted to?)

I think the distribution of power we see evident today is due both to
specific significant causes and mere historical artifact. Let’s use the
convenient dichotomy of the “free world” and the rest of the world. In the
free world, primarily the US, a great deal of power (political and economic)
is derived, I think, precisely from the ideal of freedom. Free markets,
free enterprise, free thinking and free will lead to innovation, which in
turn leads to any number of technical, strategic and economic advantages.
In the not-so-free world, power over a given nation’s citizens is going to
exist by reason of the historical accident of the state’s mere existence.
But off the top of my head it seems to me that the degree of a nation’s
power in the global community is at least somewhat proportional to the
degree of freedom afforded to that nation’s populace.

On the other hand, I am currently reading Gregory Stock’s _Metaman_.

Stock proposes that we humans are merely cellular constituents of a global
superorganism “Metaman” made up of the society of the developed world and
the technical infrastructure which supports it. In this view there is no
real world power save that of the organism itself, and the various
governmental entities are but mere vital organs of this emerging global
entity. If this is a legitimate viewpoint, saying that the US is
imperialist is akin to saying that your heart or your liver is exercising
imperial authority over the rest of your body. Whaddya think?


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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