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.

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{ 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.

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Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm

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

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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).

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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.

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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.”

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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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