Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor: American Economic Development Policy toward the Arab East, 1942-1949

By Nathan Godfried | Go to book overview

3
Reconstruction versus Development: Financial and Technical Aid

U.S. policymakers asserted that complete integration of Third World nations into the capitalist world-economy would provide the capital and technical assistance necessary for those countries' development. The private sector would be the best source of development capital, although policymakers recognized the need for public financing from such institutions as the World Bank and the Export-Import Bank. A precondition for the efficient and productive use of capital was technical assistance--that is, the transmission of learning, knowledge, techniques, and human resources from "modern" core nations to "traditional" peripheral nations. American policymakers viewed technical assistance as a relatively easy, inexpensive, and direct means of achieving economic development. U.S. officials considered technology and technical knowledge as objective, value-free forces. As with other aspects of development, collaborating classes in the Third World displayed a certain ambiguity toward American perceptions and policies regarding capital and technical aid.


FINANCING DEVELODMENT

American imperial state and corporate leaders preferred private capital investments and loans for economic development. Policymakers hoped to facilitate and encourage private foreign investment and financing by negotiating treaties, eliminating inequitable taxes on income derived from foreign investments, securing investment guarantees, reducing national trade restrictions, and devising an international investment code.( 1) Capitalist class elites in the CED, as well as class-conscious capitalists in the National Foreign Trade Council and the United States Chamber of Commerce, welcomed efforts to strengthen private enterprise and its operations abroad. They anticipated great benefits from the financing of Third World development.

Speaking at the National Foreign Trade Convention in November 1946, William K. Jackson--corporate lawyer (vice president and general counsel of United Fruit Company) and president of the United States Chamber of Commerce--declared that "we cannot indefinitely remain whole in a world that is broken." The economic development of "backward" regions would

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