Examples of American Imperialism Disguised as Spreading “Free Market” Ideas

by Stephan Kinsella on October 4, 2010

in Uncategorized

I’m looking for a few good examples of how the US has pushed various emerging economies to adopt Western/American style statist measures in the guise of teaching the benighted states how to set up a modern “capitalist” economy. The examples that come to mind (but I don’t have clear examples/refernces for all of them) include:

  • antitrust law
  • income tax withholding
  • anti-bribery laws
  • narcotics regulations
  • IP law/ACTA/WTO

I have in mind the way the US has “helped” Iraq “rebuild,” as well as various measures such as the Marshall Plan and strings attached thereto; strings attached to international loans; various programs to “help” the former Soviet/communist countries after 1991 or so such as the ABA CEELI program, BISNIS, etc. where they are encouraged to adopt the Western “rule of law” (sic).

I’m looking for American-style state practices pushed on other countries, where because of the conflation of the US as a modern capitalist society, the statist measures foisted on other countries could be erroneously attributed to or blamed on capitalism instead of American statism itself.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacob Spinney October 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm

“Fair” trade, infrastructure (so as to facilitate commerce of course). Hmm, I’m sure I’ll think up 20 after I hit submit.


Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm

hmm, maybe central banking? But I am not sure about any clear examples.


Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm

another one: how we get them to set up state-control of natural resources, like the feds do in the MMS in the US (instead of private ownership as on the land in the states).


Jacob Spinney October 4, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I suspect they also encourage subsidies for crops, a fractional reserve banking system, a central bank, a fiat currency, etc.


Scott Ferrie October 4, 2010 at 6:25 pm
Alan Chapman October 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Licensure, State-granted franchises, and trade agreements are examples of mercantilism which are often conflated with the free market or “capitalism.”


Michel Santos October 5, 2010 at 7:11 am

Regarding IP introduction to another country and its effects on local farming, consider the case of Costa Rica as recently reported on Antiwar Radio http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/09/28/christina-tobin-2/ by Christina Tobin. This example is often repeated.

That reporting also covers the drug war and the cover provided by the local government.


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