Dominance or control by one social group or nation over others is the basic definition of hegemony. Often, a perception that leadership of the hegemonic group is elected and that the populace has influence into its actions can make hegemony seem more palatable. Apparently good things are done for the people that would not normally be done in order to ensure a vote and to make certain that the subordinate social groups allow for this relationship, i.e., one of being dominated by the leadership. It reveals the true nature of a hierarchical structure.
Hegemony initially was coined to describe the rule of one Greek city-state over others. In modernity, there are various examples of hegemony. The West can be seen to have hegemonic control over many other countries in the world today. But hegemony has other meanings, too. Italian political scientist Antonio Gramsci came up with the idea of cultural hegemony and explained that it "persuades" subordinated classes to accept the values of the ruling class (the West).
In Italy, during the Renaissance, the Medici banking family obtained a kind of hegemony over certain other Italian city-states. The Dutch Republic's 17th-century (1609–1672) international expansion via its merchant shipping fleets provided that country with a kind of mercantilist hegemony. In the 20th century, many countries sought hegemony but it can be safely said that the Anglo-American elites dominated the world with a combination of hard and soft power. In the mid-20th century, the USSR competed with the West for dominance.
It is likely that the 21st century will see the end of global Western hegemony. With BRIC countries emerging as a powerhouse and with the European Union proving to be a fairly dysfunctional entity, it is likely that Western hegemony will be reduced in effect, though not, of course, entirely eliminated.
The US in particular is suffering from difficulties having to do with funding its larger military empire – the "projection of power" that has buttressed its hegemonic ability. There is no doubt that the sort of hegemony that America practiced (partially on behalf of the British) is intimately bound up in Money Power itself. As America's ability to fund and maintain the dollar as the world's reserve currency wanes, so does America's hegemony. It remains to be seen who or what will fill that particular power vacuum.
Hegemony never creates real goodness. It is merely an expression of hard power, softly deployed. The idea is to create cultural and business dominance without the hard force of military occupation. People and cultures are seen to be more malleable when they voluntarily accept elements of the dominant country or elites. The Anglo-American power elite was very successful in imposing hegemony on the world in the 20th century. The 21st is evidently and obviously a different matter.
News & Analysis
|08/20/12||Reality Check: The African Region that Western Elites have Subjected to War Is Now Larger than the Entire US|
|08/16/12||Britain's Tax Fugitives Program Should be Seen Within a Larger Aggressive Ambit|
|02/11/13||Beware The Consequences of Pre-Emptive War|
|01/16/13||Attack On Sovereignty|
|01/08/13||Washington's Hegemonic Ambitions Are Not in Sync With Its Faltering Economy|
|11/18/12||David Goldman on Wall Street, the Middle East and the 'Judeo-Christian Perspective'|
|09/21/12||Anthony Wile on RT News: Arab Winter|
|11/09/11||Adam Kokesh Interviews a Nice, Warmongering Woman|