Today’s global elites are the reason imperialism is back

Yet even the “woke” left has developed a more nakedly imperialistic sensibility, as diversity-and-inclusion vanguards have fanned out from the universities and powerfully penetrated corporate life. More is at work than the propagation of intersectional norms and standards throughout the multinational corporation—a strategy vectoring toward Harari’s definition of an empire as an order “characterized by flexible borders and a potentially unlimited appetite” that rules over “a significant number of distinct peoples, each possessing a different cultural identity and a separate territory.” The corporation itself is an institution that colonizes areas outside the state by setting up innumerably shifting but theoretically immortal franchises.

“The problem with neoliberalism is that it construes the idealized, individualist world of eighteenth-century rhetoric as a good approximation of twenty-first-century reality,” as David Ciepley explains in a new essay in American Affairs. “But in the nineteenth-century United States especially, a new corporate age was birthed as the corporate form made its final and most potent conquest, transforming the business firm and economy.”