The Imperial Republic and Pax-Americana: State Formation, Inequality, and the New American Way of War

  • Scott Timcke School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada,
Keywords: Inequality, Militarism, The New American Way of War, State Formation, Empires, Means of Rule


This article plots the complex historical interplay between state formation and militarized technology. What emerges is a portrayal of distributional consequences of particular means of rule and particular modes of warfare. I apply this framework to the New American Way of War, demonstrating that it structurally contributes to the widening economic inequality currently being experienced in the United States. In state formation literature, inequality is partly caused by how key technologies are militarized and deployed by the state for internal and/or external state building. Thus, inequality is the result of how the employment of particular kinds of military technologies affects the emergence and distribution of economic resources under different political regimes. By inference, the degree of inequality is a by-product of a state’s means of rule. Hence, prior to the redistribution of wealth and economic chances by various state institutions, particular kinds of states are historically endowed with a predisposition to create and solidify social stratification. I offer a critical engagement with the new American Way of War through the lens of the means of rule. In my case study, I argue that due to technological choices, the American state no longer needs to be accountable to citizens or its subject population as a whole. In short, the American state can afford to disengage itself from wider negotiation and bargaining with its subjects. From the state’s perspective, there is nothing these subjects offer to accent the current military capacity attuned to a particular military strategy. Simply, there is very little these subjects have that the state requires. Subsequently, if the current American Way of War continues, it is likely that arbitrary rule, militarization, and wide inequality will be the order of the day irrespective of who the particular governors happen to be.

Author Biography

Scott Timcke, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada,
Scott Timcke is a PhD candidate at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University. His thesis addresses the egalitarian turn in liberal philosophy. Other interests include social inequality and class stratification.