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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hegemony You Pay For

Are you benefiting fairly for the hegemony for which you are paying? You might benefit by keeping the question in mind as you read on.

Certain people in the United states have built and are exploiting an empire. Empire building is imperialism. 'Imperialism' comes from the word 'imperial.' 'Imperial' relates to an empire or an emperor. 
'Imperial also designates a government holding sovereign sway over 'dependencies.' Sovereign' is a word of which you may want t refresh or extend your understanding.

Imperialism hasn't been much about the acquisition of territory for some time. It is now much about the practice of technologies and stratagems for the establishment of economic and political hegemony over the people of other nations. It is the system, policies, and practices of an imperial government. My old blue dictionary says that imperialism is the policy, practice, and advocacy of extending power and dominion others by gaining indirect control  over the economic and political life of the people of another nation.

Right, 'hegemony.' It is the preponderant influence or sway of one nation or state over another. That is easy enough. Where is it that you have hegemony?

The main reason for imperialism seems to be a kind of greed for wealth, and power over others. In practice imperialists use their power and techniques to exploit the human, natural, and economic resources of other nations. Seems a mite parasitic. Imperialists also use their dominance to control strategic locations of others for military and commercial reasons. Their principle aim often seems to be the control of markets. Imperialists seem to want the people of the world to consume imperialist's products and imperialist's prices. They, of course, have also often wanted to obtain raw materials at the lowest cost. That often means subverting the other's means of production. What do they say? 'The greater the concentration of power, the greater the corruption?'

By the 1600s certain powerful persons had well in mind the power potential of the organizational efficiency of the industrialized nation-state. Such states could produces certain goods so efficiently that they could undersell comparable local goods all over the world. All they had to do was get in the door. Once the door was open to them they could make a killing.

I ought to be thanking my history teachers. I can get a lot from books and other media, but a live teacher is a powerful aid to ones understanding.

The imperial expansion westward across North America held the attention of the people of the United States while Europeans divided up much of Africa and Asia. Even so, certain Americans were already looking for ventures beyond their boarders before 1900.

Big business was born in the U.S. Railroads, steel, and oil were big. The processing and distribution of food was becoming big. Munitions were important. The dollar was kept strong. California gold and Nevada silver helped support the dollar. U.S. credit was good. Foreign capital poured in. Big capital was born.

There were ups and downs. Economic depression and labor unrest occurred  There were strikes. Some big employers thanked God for the National Guard. Check "Haymarket Square," "Homestead Strike," "Pullman Strike" in your history book or on Wikipedia.

Powerful persons in the United States took advantage of the United States to take advantage of the people of Latin America.
The powerful wanted markets, took them, and kept them. The sometimes used U.S. Sailors and Marines to open Latin American doors and to keep Latin America people 'in line.'

This opening doors business soon became a world-wide police of imperialists. Open the doors of China; open the doors of Japan.
Every salesman knew about 'getting his foot in the door.'

In the early days Americans did take territory for their empire. They took it from Colombia, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico. But why take territory and all the troublesome people therein when what was wanted was wealth and the power it brought.

These Americans became so powerful that they could practice 'regime change' in Italy and over uncounted countries. They could compete for Empire with the most powerful European states. They successfully competed for hegemony where the wanted and at the same time keep European competitors out of Latin America.

Japan proved more able at resisting American and European imperialism than were most countries. Doors of theirs were forced open, but not many of them. In the long run Japanese maintained pretty fair  dominion over their own country. They also managed to organize themselves effectively as a state, to industrialize, and to create an effective military.

What does it mean to be a citizen of the most powerful empire known to man? 'We' have controlled the World Bank, the U.N., the sea, the sky, world markets, the media. Sounds pretty good. How are you benefiting?

'We' have made the mistake of humiliating people in the process of dominating them. They tend to find that upsetting.

What is the status of the nation-state today? Has the nation-state been a function of imperialism? Has Imperialism been a function of the nation-state? Do you see the nation-state morphing into something new? With major changes in the nation-state, what changes are likely to occur in the empires of today.

May those of empire consider the results of hubris.

How much are you paying for what you are getting? Let's be a little more aware the next time we agree to make payments.

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