Importance of American Imperialism to the Economy and Society


The histories of empire building have enjoyed renaissance from the period of 19th century. This has been epitomized by the global primacy of USA militarily, economically and culturally. It is the tradition of USA that has given a place to imperialism and especially the Marxist form of imperialism.

The influence of the USA is widely related to two aspects: its geopolitical relations and its economic mode of capital accumulation. The economic influence of USA is primarily necessitated by the internationalization of systems of production, circulation and investment, the interpenetration of private capital and the structure of the nation.

This has resulted into an integrated nature of the world economy becoming the main arena for competition among states and further resulting into geopolitical conflicts between states. It is understood that the two world wars were products of anti-imperialist conflicts.

The US imperialism in the global arena conforms to the theory by Hardts and Negri, who posited that inter-imperialism rivalries have influence beyond the transnational power cycle. Consequently, it is argued that the advent of globalization has facilitated the establishment of the US Empire.

What makes the US an indispensable player in the global economy is its resources and massive population that can provide a huge market for its products. Other factors favoring US as a dominant player in the international stage are the dominance and presence of their culture all over the world and the sophistication of its military. Notwithstanding, these reasons, the secret of US dominance is due to the use of a dollar as a global and standard currency [1].

World Bank and IMF as Tools of Imperialism

The World Bank, for example, has been considered as an instrument of imperialism that is used by the USA to dictate the world economy. This similarly applies to the IMF.

This is evidenced in the management of the bank whereby in the 24 member board, eight are representatives of the global powers namely: “Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA and Japan” [1] and the remaining sixteen slots are shared by approximately 185 member states. Consequently, US has control over the voting weight in the two organizations; with “17 percent in the IMF and 16 percent in World Bank” [1], its allies also hold a substantial say in the voting weight.

Though World Bank is considered as a global institution, it is only the USA that has veto power of the Bank’s critical decisions, and it is the president of the USA, who is bestowed with the task of appointing the Bank’s president. This power wielded by the US over the two monetary institutions gives them the leverage to promote their imperialism tendencies. The USA influences the global economy through their corporations.

American Corporations

Imperialism has also benefited US economy through having lee way for the operations of their corporations in the globe. The American multinational corporations have effectively capitalized on the American imperialism to exploit resources, advance their creativity and enhance communication to the remote parts of the world.

It is through the American corporations abroad that USA has had at their disposal all the instruments that guarantee itself stability. The USA has used their imperialism to influence international and domestic politics. This, America does to ensure that their objectives are met and not to benefit other people.

This was evident in Indonesia where America supported the activities of Mohammed Suharto, the dictator president who made use of brutality to implement policies that could benefit the interests of the USA. America only acknowledges a country as an ally if it is strategic and can serve their national interests. The USA has used the leverage they have in the World Bank to benefit their corporations and the ruling elite in developing countries at the expense of the poor.

In Indonesia, for example, they influenced World Bank to provide loans to the benefit of Indonesian rulers and US corporations. The result for this is to ensure that host countries are heavily indebted, which is the objective realized while the ruling class secure investments overseas through the assistance of the US [1].

Through corporations, the American society has been ruined. While the government secures them good opportunities abroad, they have destroyed the policies and the character of the Americans and the global society.

Corporations bribe politicians both at Washington and in other cities of the planet to facilitate the formulation of laws that are deceiving to the society so as to enable them to evade costs that they are likely to incur in their business operations. The laws they influence are detrimental and may include the environmental costs of exploiting resources, worker compensation and freedom to market hazardous goods or dump wastes [2].

American corporations have ruled the world through greed as depicted by the massive profits they marshal. This was best exhibited by ExxonMobil when it announced a record-breaking profit and second of all time profit to be announced by a US company.

This is often achieved at the expense of suffering populations of the world’s poor and the favors they receive through the influence and imperialist nature of America, which enables it to negotiate for privileges like tax breaks and trade agreement and consequently, the presence of environmental and labor laws that are crafted to their favor.

The propagation of American imperialism is often achieved by compromising the central principles that hold the American society. America and its allies who are considered paragons of democracy demonstrate several undemocratic features namely: media manipulated by huge corporations and their governments, politicians are controlled and manipulated by wealthy people who are often major campaign contributors, consequently, policies in these countries are influenced by the wealthy and more often the policies are made behind closed doors so as to avoid the public getting informed on key matters [1].

To demonstrate how beneficial imperialism to the American society is, USA has been abstaining on any UN vote that works against its interests and has on several occasions vetoed them. The US, for example, abstained from the UN international treaty that banned land mines when it was brought to vote in 1997.

Consequently, the US has refused to ratify various conventions that are likely to undermine its imperialism like the Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court, 1989 Rights of the Child, International Biological Weapons Convention and the Kyoto protocol.


The increased US imperialism due to globalization has created a lot of wealth for American corporations and their owners, and consequently, enormous wealth for the country but similarly creating sharp class difference and inequalities in the world. The growing US imperialism has enhanced the expansion of its economy while simultaneously fostering the belief among a majority of the population that market can offer solutions to societal and economic problems [2].

Dollar as Standard Currency

The influencing of the Saudi Arabia by the United States of America under the scheme of Saudi Arabia Money Laundering Affair (SAMA) was on purpose; an agreement was coined to let the Royal Saud house to only sell oil in dollars.

This was due to the realization by the Americans that Saudi is the market controller of oil, and it could dictate similar terms for other OPEC countries. Due to this, the dominance of oil as a primary market commodity was enough assurance for the prevalence of the dollar as standard of exchange in the international economy.

Furthermore, the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions, though primarily were aimed at reconstruction of the world after World War II, US used its leverage in the body and made it an instrument to demonstrate the power of capitalism over socialism. The Bank was used to aid US Corporations and Multinational corporations that subscribed to the ideals of capitalism.

The US has used it as a whipping tool to ensure that countries align to its social and economic policies. The US has used its three instruments of imperialism, namely: corporations, IMF and World Bank to lure those countries that are rich with resources that will allow them and their corporations to exploit for the benefit of their home and industries abroad.


The trend that American imperialism is taking is no longer working to the benefit of the economy or the society. It is as a result of imperialism that American economy is deteriorating. Its military spending is spiraling at the expense of the weakening economy; in World Press Freedom List, it is going down. Its national and external debt is the largest in the world.

These realities should motivate the US society to alter the dynamics of its corporatocracy since they are at the heart inequalities in the world and changing them will be tantamount to changing the entire world.


Perkins J. The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption. New York: Penguin; 2007.
Jones J, Wood PH, Borstelman T, May TE, Ruiz, VL. Created Equal: A History of the United States. Toronto: Pearson Education; 2010.


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