The 1940s offered the shapers of America's policies the opportunity to install an integrated international economic and political order. Such an order was anchored in traditional American values and policies that stretched back to the birth of the nation. Economic depression in the 1930s and global conflagration in the 1940s intensified the need for a systematic and rational world order and reinforced the demand for American hegemony in the capitalist world-economy.
American imperial state and capitalist class leaders viewed the economic development of the periphery as a crucial element in the expansion of the capitalist world-economy. President Franklin Roosevelt evoked these sentiments in 1943 when he announced that the United States would seek to raise the standards of poor, agrarian nations without hurting the economies of the rich, industrialized states. America's "own pocketbook" and safety demanded some movement toward world development. Between 1942 and 1945, imperial state bureau- crats--in the State Department, the Bureau of the Budget, the Board of Economic Warfare, the Office of Inter-American Affairs, and the Commerce Department--began to outline an American foreign economic development policy.
America's economic policy for the Middle East and other Third world areas revolved around the achievement of an integrated world economy in which private enterprise and capital, free trade, technical aid, and export goods would help poor, agrarian nations to develop according to the doctrine of comparative advantage. State Department officials avoided domestic debates concerning economic development so long as the local governments in the periphery did not wander far from agricultural development, moderate social reform, and cautious industrialization policies. These policies adhered to the American concept of development and, therefore, could be rewarded with American technical and limited financial assistance. During the war, however, few Third World countries reaped these rewards.
In the Arab East, American support for development in Saudi Arabia and Palestine transcended diplomatic rhetoric. Securing and developing Arabian oil--important for the war effort and postwar reconstruction--demanded active American participation in Saudi economic development. Private American companies and the U.S. government did their best to comply
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Publication information: Book title: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor:American Economic Development Policy toward the Arab East, 1942-1949. Contributors: Nathan Godfried - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 185.
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