The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

Living Edition
| Editors: Immanuel Ness, Zak Cope

The Social Costs of US Imperialism

  • Norman MarkowitzEmail author
Living reference work entry



This essay attempts to assess the social costs of US imperialism borne by the American people themselves. It argues that when the cumulative effect of military spending is combined with the cumulative national debt, they show the diversion of trillions of dollars in capital from socially useful policies and the accruing of a debt whose annual interest payments provide further super profits for creditors in the US and abroad. It concludes that the cumulative effects of imperialist policies serves as a deterrent to the funding of programmes to raise the living standards and improve the quality of life for the American people, not to exporting death and destruction in the name of national security and defence throughout the world.

The ‘American Way’ of Imperialism

The terms ‘imperialism’ and ‘colonialism’ are often used interchangeably but they are not the same. Formal colonies based on direct control of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Selected Works

  1. Barnet, R. (1972). Roots of war. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  2. Butler, S. (1935). War is a racket. New York: Rountable Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hobson, J. A. (1902). Imperialism. New York: James Pott and.Google Scholar
  4. Jarecki, E. (2006). Why we fight. Culver City: Sony Home Pictures Entertainment.Google Scholar
  5. Johnson, C. (2004). Blowback: The costs and consequences of American Empire. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  6. Perkins, J. (2006). Confessions of an economic hit man. New York: Plume.Google Scholar
  7. LaFeber, W. (1993). Inevitable revolutions: The United States in Central America. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  8. Williams, W. A. (1959). Tragedy of American diplomacy. Cleveland: World Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  9. Williams, W. A. (1980). Empire as a way of life. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNewarkUSA