By Mona Domosh
This can be a novel interpretation of the connection among consumerism, commercialism, and imperialism through the first empire development period of the US within the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. in contrast to different empires in historical past, which have been ordinarily outfitted on army strength, the 1st American empire used to be basically a advertisement one, devoted to pushing items in a foreign country and dominating international markets. whereas the yank govt used to be very important, it was once the good capitalist organisations of the United States – Heinz, Singer, McCormick, Kodak, normal Oil – that drove the imperial procedure, explicitly linking the acquisition of client items abroad with 'civilization'. Their chronic message to America's prospective buyers used to be, 'buy American items and subscribe to the march of progress'. Domosh additionally explores how the photographs of peoples out of the country conveyed via items increased America's experience of itself on this planet.
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Additional resources for American Commodities in an Age of Empire
Indb 43 5/10/06 6:05:48 PM 44 American Commodities in an Age of Empire But from the first years, Singer representatives realized the difficulties that India presented to market expansion. For example, in 1888, a company inspector named Mitchell from the London office visited India and Patell’s operation. His letters back to the London office reveal a long list of problems: that native women were secluded and uneducated; that “if advertisements reached their hands they would be unable to understand them”;57 that because of caste issues, homes generally would not be accessible to company canvassers; that Indians in general did not approve of credit payments; and that Indian clothing styles did not require sewing machines, something that would limit the market to only Europeans and Anglos living in India, who comprised a tiny fraction of the population.
This facility could produce 10,000 machines per week, keeping up with the new demand created throughout Europe. George McKenzie, who became president in 1882, moved forward aggressively in other foreign markets, trying to counter tariffs and other tax issues that were working against sales in Europe. He was particularly keen on increasing sales in Asia, given what the company assessed as its vast size and underdeveloped nature. Singer executives also considered Asia to be untouched by the economic downturns of 1882 and 1883 that injured markets throughout the United States and Europe.
5% per year between 1870 and 1910. 2 American companies capitalized on these innovations and cost-savings, establishing regular shipping routes and transportation networks that allowed their mass-produced goods and services to reach their potential markets. Yet to take full advantage of these shared infrastructural developments, American companies required their own investments in space and place. indb 22 5/10/06 6:05:44 PM The Geographies of Commercial Empire 23 of goods (importing and exporting businesses, wholesalers); selling of goods (establishing ties to foreign retail agencies, constructing company-owned shops); and maintenance of goods and capital (buildings and offices to house managers, accountants, clerks).