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Re: SC45

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July 15, 2007 03:31PM
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6330

Parasitic Imperialism
The economics of war profiteering

How recent U.S. wars of choice, driven largely by war profiteering, are plundering not only defenseless peoples and their resources abroad, but also the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens and their resources at home.

Although immoral, external military operations of past empires often proved profitable, and therefore justifiable on economic grounds. Military actions abroad usually brought economic benefits not only to the imperial ruling classes, but also (through “trickle-down” effects) to their citizens. Thus, for example, imperialism paid significant dividends to Britain, France, the Dutch, and other European powers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. As the imperial economic gains helped develop their economies, they also helped improve the living conditions of their working people and elevate the standards of living of their citizens.

This pattern of economic gains flowing from imperial military operations, however, seems to have somewhat changed in the context of the recent U.S. imperial wars of choice, especially in the post-Cold War period. Moralities aside, U.S. military expeditions and operations of late are not justifiable even on economic grounds. Indeed, escalating U.S. military expansions and aggressions have become ever more wasteful, cost-inefficient, and burdensome to the overwhelming majority of its citizens.

Therefore, recent imperial policies of the United States can be called parasitic imperialism because such policies of aggression are often prompted not so much by a desire to expand the empire’s wealth beyond the existing levels, as did the imperial powers of the past, but by a desire to appropriate the lion’s share of the existing wealth and treasure for the military establishment, especially for the war-profiteering Pentagon contractors. It can also be called dual imperialism because not only does it exploit the conquered and the occupied abroad but also the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens and their resources at home.

Since imperial policies abroad are widely discussed by others, I will focus here on parasitic military imperialism at home, that is, on what might be called domestic or internal imperialism. Specifically, I will argue that parasitic imperialism (1) redistributes national income or resources in favor of the wealthy; (2) undermines the formation of public capital (both physical and human); (3) weakens national defenses against natural disasters; (4) accumulates national debt and threatens economic/financial stability; (5) spoils external or foreign markets for non-military U.S. transnational capital; (6) undermines civil liberties and democratic values; and (7) fosters a dependence on or addiction to military spending and, therefore, leads to an spiraling vicious circle of war and militarism. (The terms domestic imperialism, internal imperialism, parasitic imperialism, and military imperialism are used synonymously or interchangeably in this article.)..........

............5. Parasitic Imperialism Accumulates National Debt, Weakens National Currency, and Undermines Long-Term National Financial/Economic Health

A major source of the financing of the out-of-control military spending has been borrowing—the other source has been cutting non-military public spending. This represents a cynically clever strategy on the part of the powerful interests that benefit from war and militarism: instead of financing their wars of choice by paying taxes proportionate to their income, they give themselves tax cuts, finance their wars through borrowing, and then turn around and lend money (unpaid taxes) to the government and earn interest.

Viewed in this light, the staggering national debt of nearly $9 trillion, which is more than two thirds of gross nation product (GNP), represents a subtle redistribution of national resources from the bottom to the top: it represents unpaid taxes by the wealthy, which has to be financed by cutting non-military public spending—both now and in the future. This means that the wealthy has successfully converted their tax obligations to credit claims, that is, lending instead of paying taxes—which is in essence a disguised form of theft or robbery.

This cynical policy of increasing military spending, cutting taxes for the wealthy and, thereby, accumulating national debt cannot continue for ever, as it might eventually lead to national or Federal insolvency, collapse of the dollar, and paralysis of financial markets—not only in the United States but perhaps also in broader global markets.

Prospects of such developments has led a number of observers to argue that the profit-driven military expansion might prove to be the nemesis of U.S. imperialism: the escalating and out-of-control militarization tends to gradually drive the once-prosperous U.S. superpower in the direction of a mismanaged and destructive military imperial force whose capricious and often purely existential military adventures will eventually become costly both politically and economically. While the top-heavy imperial military colossus tends to undermine its economic base, it is also bound to create many enemies abroad and a lot of discontentment and hostility to the established order at home. Unchecked, a combination of these adverse developments, especially a drained economy and an empty or bankrupt treasury, might eventually lead to the demise of the empire, just as happened to the post-Rubicon, Old Roman Empire.........

............Concluding Remarks—Parasitic Imperialism: A Most Dangerous Type of Imperialism

Dependence on, or addiction to, war and militarism for profitability makes U.S military imperialism (that is, imperialism driven by military capital, or arms conglomerates, vis-à-vis non-military transnational capital) a most dangerous kind of imperialism. Under the rule of the past imperial powers, the conquered and subjugated peoples or nations could live in peace—imposed peace, to be sure—if they respected the interests and the needs of those imperial powers and simply resigned to their political and economic ambitions.

Not so in the case of the U.S. military-industrial empire: the interests of this empire are nurtured through “war dividends.” Peace, imposed or otherwise, is viewed by the beneficiaries of war dividends inimical to their interests as it would make justification of continued increases of their share of national resources (in the form of Pentagon appropriations) difficult.

Of course, tendencies to build bureaucratic empires have always existed in the ranks of military hierarchies. By itself, this is not what makes the U.S. military-industrial complex more dangerous than the military powers of the past. What makes it more dangerous is the “industrial,” or business, part of the Complex. In contrast to the United States' military or war industries, arms industries of past empires were not subject to capitalist market imperatives. Furthermore, those industries were often owned and operated by imperial governments, not by market-driven giant corporations. Consequently, as a rule, arms production was dictated by war requirements, not by market or profit imperatives, which is the case with today’s U.S. armaments industry...........

Excellent Article
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