Essay Sample on United States Imperialism: The Ethics of Poverty and Power

Published: 2023-03-19
Essay Sample on United States Imperialism: The Ethics of Poverty and Power
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories:  Politics United States International relations Government
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 899 words
8 min read

Imperialism of the US refers to the country's political, economic, cultural, and military influence on other countries. The relative power of the States in four areas, according to Miller (2010), exceeds that of other democracies across the world. This phenomenon implies that the imperialism that the States have established globally is not only powerful but also extensive. Indeed, the threat power of the States has a significant influence on the conduct and practices of many developing countries. Miller (2010) argued that the pervasiveness and strength of this package of powers extend beyond the conventional understanding of American imperialism. More specifically, States have exclusive dominance over many territories, although it does not exert direct political authority. Besides the domination of the US on individual countries, it has a significant influence on the policies of multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. This phenomenon implies that the States have the potential to use the prerogatives that it enjoys in multilateral institutions to shape lives in the territories that it dominates. However, millions of people in developing countries where the US exerts a significant influence are in abject poverty and also suffer extreme insecurity and illnesses. Therefore, corporations and affluent individuals that benefit from the imperial status of the United States should support countries that are disadvantaged by States' imperialism.

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Duty to Support People Affected By States Imperialism

Miller (2010) argued that developed world consumers such as the US that enjoy imperialism status should use the advantages that they have to alleviate suffering among the global poor. The basis of this argument is that activities of affluent individuals and States' corporations tend to use their advantages to exploit economically-disadvantaged people in emerging countries. As the world's most powerful imperial nation, the States have a moral obligation to support communities affected by the policies that they model. Miller (2010) said that States should perform this residual duty to help economically-disadvantaged nations escape the cycle of exploitation. The chief relational duties that the author proposed a focus on alleviating poverty and suffering in territories that the States exert significant influence. The justification for this moral duty is that US citizens derive significant benefits through indirect exploitation of workers from developing countries who are affected by the imperialism status.

The overbearing influence that States exerts across the world through the domination of multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF have far-reaching consequences, especially in developing countries. The author argued that the US tends to use its threat influence to shape policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and "the entire worldwide trade regime" (Miller, 2010, pp.148). World Bank and IMF, among other significant multilateral financial institutions, have emerged as the vehicles of the States domineering influence and control over economically-disadvantaged countries (Miller, 2010). In this perspective, Miller claimed that States must support fair finance negotiations and multilateral trade agreements that would help alleviate developing country's desperation. While strategies of addressing social problems such as global warming should drive each nation's willingness to make equal sacrifices, imperial countries such as the States should be sensitive to the special needs of the poor. Besides, nations that enjoy imperialism have a residual duty to meet the basic needs of the countries that are disadvantaged by the goals that they pursue in foreign countries.

The US has a civic duty to uphold justice beyond its boundaries, considering that its citizens and corporations engage in transnational activities that shape lives in developing countries. Americans that derive substantial benefits from American imperialism, therefore, have a responsibility to improve the life prospects of the people that are disadvantaged by their activities in overseas countries. More precisely, such people should use their advantages to enhance the lives of their compatriots to a position they should be if the influence and powers of the US imperialism had not reached their borders. The author further argued that the government and wealthy citizens that benefit from this imperialism have the most significant share of duty to maximize life prospects and "the welfare of people within the empire" (Miller, 2010, pp. 148).

I am persuaded by Miller's argument that the States, including its corporations and affluent people that mainly derive their benefits from American imperialism, should play leading roles in improving the life-prospects of nations disadvantaged by their ambitions. The domination of the US through political, economic, and cultural influence, partially cause poverty that people in the country's empires face. States military adventures in overseas countries, for instance, causes violent destruction that plunges citizens to poverty and suffering. While the US should compensate people for such damage, it has to maximize its overall life-prospects. Therefore, I am convinced that the States has a civic duty to help people in developing countries because it derives enormous benefits from the global poor.


Countries that enjoy imperialism status derives significant benefits from the global poor, especially in developing countries. Prerogatives that the US enjoys in multilateral financial institutions enhance its threat influence over emerging economies. With this status, States have the potential to shape lives in their imperial territories by influencing policies of the WHO. This aspect amounts to exploitation. Thus, the States has a moral responsibility and a civic duty to alleviate poverty in countries where it derives its benefits by exerting imperialism influence.


Miller, R. W. (2010). The Ethics of Poverty and Power. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16

December 2019, from

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