July 8, 2004

Economic sense...

AOG scoffs at the idea that we have (or should have) an American Empire:

...However, I think this analysis is fundamentally flawed. When one looks at previous empires, they existed because it was economically beneficial to the conquerors. Conquest or economic activity in foreign lands (the latter the basis of the British Empire) was a way for the not well off to become wealthy. The homeland was relatively static in its economic and class structure, but the hinterlands were the place of opportunity and self advancement. It was where the action was...

...This difference makes an American empire unsustainable. The talent (imperial and native) required to run the imperial domains will leak away back to the homeland. The only hope of a place like Iraq to be competive with the USA is to become a self-ordered society. But in that case it’s not an imperial possession anymore, but a sovereign nation. Those who support an American empire have not come to grips with the End of History, which spells the end of Empire as well...

I think empires stopped making economic sense with the Industrial Revolution. The wealth that could be extracted from a pre-industrial colony was trivial compared to what started pouring out of Manchester, or Chicago. The British empire seems to have mutated into a welfare scheme for the British middle class, providing cushy jobs without the need to "go into trade." Bad move.

Posted by John Weidner at July 8, 2004 8:09 AM
Weblog by John Weidner