All Politics is Global: American Consumerist Support of Imperialism
The U.S. economy relies heavily on the global flow of goods—consumer, commercial, energy—across the ocean…. Securing that flow of trade has long been a primary mission of the U.S. Navy. Since the end of the Cold War the U.S. has enacted this mission largely alone, the only nation with a genuinely global navy. This crucial function adds weight to American influence in the workings of globalization, which redounds to U.S. profit—literally as well as diplomatically. (para. 1-2)Bruce Jones from the Brookings Institute
Pizza Hut across from the Pyramids of Giza (Bruhns)
Hardt & Negri’s Empire. 2000
- “The United States does not, and indeed no nation-state can today, form the center of an imperialist project. Imperialism is over. No nation will be world leader in the way modern European nations were” (xiii-xiv).
- “The United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire” (xiv).
- We should emphasize once again that this Constitution is imperial and not imperialist. It is imperial because…the U.S. constitutional project is constructed on the model of rearticulating an open space and reinventing incessantly diverse and singular relations in networks across an unbounded terrain. (182)
- “through the Marshall plan in Europe and the economic reconstruction of Japan…the dollar’s hegemony…was tied to the stability of all the standards of value” (244).
Third Communist International in 1921
- “Everywhere the United States are profiting by their military (and financial) supremacy to obtain the extension of their military and economic power throughout the whole world” (Varga para. 2).
The United States of Consumption
- Josh Bivens concludes “has been driven by higher corporate profit margins and supply-chain bottlenecks” (para. 19).
- Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Herman, Edward S., Chomsky, Noam
Myth of the Conscious Consumer
I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for standby gasoline rationing. To further conserve energy, I’m proposing tonight an extra $10 billion over the next decade to strengthen our public transportation systems. And I’m asking you for your good and for your nation’s security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense—I tell you it is an act of patriotism.Jimmy Carter. “Crisis of Confidence” (or “Malaise Speech”) on July 15, 1979
Idling in the Starbucks Drive Through
Three Types of Consumers
This isn’t an exhaustive list but used for making this manageable.
- Socially conscious consumers
- Consumers who don’t care at all
- The unaware consumer
- The faceless MNCs deserve more blame
- Fuller Marxist critique
- Discussion of technology from a social constructivist point of view
- A more robust eco-critical or degrowth approach that might lead me into thinking about the “consumer in the Anthropocene.”
Altman, Howard and Trevithick, Joseph. “As Ukraine Pummels Russians With Javelin Missiles, Can Production Keep Pace with Demand?” The Warzone. 7 April 2022. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/45132/as-ukraine-pummels-russians-with-javelin-missiles-can-production-keep-pace-with-demand
Bivens, Josh. “Corporate Profits Have Contributed Disproportionately to Inflation. How Should Policymakers Respond?” Economic Policy Institute. 21 April 2022 https://www.epi.org/blog/corporate-profits-have-contributed-disproportionately-to-inflation-how-should-policymakers-respond/
Bruhns, Sarah. “What’s Across the Street: The Secret Sights Alongside Famed Destinations.” Atlas Obscura. 4 Sept 2014. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/across-the-street
Curran, James, Natalie Fenton, & Des Freedman. Misunderstanding the Internet. 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge, 2016.
Defense Manpower Data Center. “Number of Military and DoD Appropriated Fund (APF) Civilian Personnel.” [Report] December 22, 2022. https://dwp.dmdc.osd.mil/dwp/api/download?fileName=DMDC_Website_Location_Report_2209.xlsx&groupName=milRegionCountry
Global PEO Services. “Top 15 Countries by GDP in 2022.” https://globalpeoservices.com/top-15-countries-by-gdp-in-2022/
Here & Now. “Ret. Gen. David Petraeus: Iraq War is a ‘Massive Cautionary Tale’ 20 Years Later.” 20 March 2023. https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2023/03/20/iraq-war-20-years-later
Mohammed Hussein and Mohammed Haddad. “Infographic: US military presence around the world.” Aljazeera. 10 Sept. 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/10/infographic-us-military-presence-around-the-world-interactive
“Oil and Petroleum Products Explained.” US Energy Information Administration. 2 Nov 2022.
Jones, Bruce. “Navigating Great Power Competition – A Serious Planning Start.” Brookings Institution. 3 Aug. 2022. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2022/08/03/navigating-great-power-competition-a-serious-planning-start/
Institute. ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES of WAR on the U.S. ECONOMY. https://www.economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The-Economic-Consequences-of-War-on-US-Economy_0.pdf
Morris, Craig A. “A Tale of a Fish from Two Countries.” USDA.gov. 21 Feb 2017. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/12/05/tale-fish-two-countries.