OUR EMPIRE; A Summary.


(2 pages; there is also a 19 page summary account)




The rich few in the world are getting most of the world's wealth and resources. The corporate super rich, about 1% of people in rich countries, get most, but the one and a half billion ordinary people living in rich countries are also getting far more than their fair share, mostly through their well stocked supermarkets and petrol stations.

Most of the world's people do not get anything like a fair share of the world's resources.   Their country's resources are mostly delivered to rich people far away, their countries develop economies which produce mostly for the benefit of rich people far away, and they work for very low wages in plantations and factories producing goods for people far away. 

Conventional development is “growth and trickle down”; i.e., it develop those things the few with capital think will maximise business turnover and global profits, which is delightful for them. They tell you that in time benefit will trickle down to the masses. There is often some trickle down, but only a minute proportion of the wealth created.  And if no corporation thinks it can maximise profits in your country, then you will get no development. Thus conventional development is only the capitalist form of development; it is a form in which what is done is determined by what those with capital want to do.  Because the result is that your country mostly builds factories and mines to export goods and resources to rich countries it is well described as a form of plunder.

Obviously third world people would be much better served if they could put their labour, resources and land into developing local firms and farms that would directly and immediately produce to meet their own needs.  Conventional, development will not do this – it makes Third World people work mostly for the benefit of others when there is a far better way. (For a detailed account see TSW: Third World Development.)

These unjust arrangements are kept in place mainly by the normal functioning of the global economic system, A market economy forces people to accept work in the plantations and it automatically delivers most resources and wealth to the rich…because they can pay most for things. Of course if you allow development to be determined by what is most profitable to corporations selling into the global market, then mainly plantations and export factories are going to be developed

But in addition rich countries put a great deal of effort into maintaining and extending the arrangements whereby they can get most of the world’s resources and business opportunities.  “Foreign policy” is largely about securing their “national interests”.  A lot of very nasty things are done to get control of resources and markets.

At the less nasty end of the range is aiding governments that will rule as rich countries wish, and imposing trade agreements and development strategies they want via agencies such as the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the IMF. The “Structural Adjustment Packages” inflicted on poor indebted countries, supposedly intended to get their economies going again,  force them to follow the kind of development that suits the rich countries, and explicitly prevent them from devoting their productive capacity to development that would most directly benefit their people. For instance they must not protect their infant industries but allow foreign investors to come in and take sales from them (…grain imported from US farmers is heavily subsidised but SAPS prevent Third World countries from subsidising and protecting), they must cut welfare spending and focus on repaying loans from rich world banks, they must minimise regulation and thus give corporations the freedom to do what they want.

At the very nasty end of the scale are actions such as supporting dictators, installing governments that will rule as rich countries want, tipping out those that will not, assassinating, supplying arms to dictators and revolutionaries, and carrying out massive military invasions.  Rich countries have a long and detailed history of assisting Third World regimes willing to force their people to comply with development policies that benefit the rich world, and getting rid of those that do not. (For an indication of the huge documentation see; TSW: OUR EMPIRE.)

Most of the conflict in the world involves gigantic struggle between great powers to secure or extend their empires. Their foreign policy agencies and secret services are constantly watching for trouble spots where a rebel group can be supported, or where a compliant dictator can be propped up (Saudi Arabia) or an uncooperative one deposed (Libya, Iraq, and Syria, and many others.)

 Most people in rich countries have little or no idea that they have and benefit from an empire which is maintained and extended by extreme injustice and brutality.  Their supermarkets and petrol stations could not go on providing them with such an unjust share of the world’s resources if these nasty things were not being done.

Governments, media and corporations reinforce the general assumption that rich nations do not exploit an empire, by never drawing attention to the issues. For those who care to know there is a massive literature documenting the way the empire is maintained.  (Again see the 19 page account TSW: OUR EMPIRE and the 127 page TSW: Collected documents: Our Empire.)