U.S. Development Aid--An Historic First: Achievements and Failures in the Twentieth Century

U.S. Development Aid--An Historic First: Achievements and Failures in the Twentieth Century

U.S. Development Aid--An Historic First: Achievements and Failures in the Twentieth Century

U.S. Development Aid--An Historic First: Achievements and Failures in the Twentieth Century

Synopsis

Presents a comprehensive and evaluative picture of U. S. development aid policies and implementation operations throughout the lesser-developed world, presenting both failed efforts and success stories.

Excerpt

Samuel Butterfield has written a unique and important history of U.S. economic development assistance to the Third World, encompassing a period of over fifty years, from inauguration of the program by President Harry Truman in 1949 to the current administration of George W. Bush. Butterfield analyzes the evolution of economic development aid policies and operations as one of America’s foreign policy instruments. Its unique character and importance for the transfer of American “know-how” to people of the Third World initially tended to be somewhat overshadowed in the larger context of the Cold War “containment” of Soviet communism, which was envisioned as requiring large-scale military programs and security alliances with countries on the borders of the Soviet Union.

In contrast to security alliances, Truman’s development aid for the Third World largely concerned the transfer of American technology in areas of food production, public health, and education for the newly independent countries that had been economic dependencies and colonies of the rapidly dismantled European empires. These Third World countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America were seeking “catch-up” modernization with the more-advanced countries, and tended to be attracted to the Soviet model of centrally forced industrial development. The Truman program of technical assistance for the largely agrarian Third World economies was imbued with a strongly idealistic “people-to-people” approach—of American technicians sharing their skills in areas critical to the needs of newly developing countries.

Butterfield has done an outstanding job of accounting for the evolution of the technical assistance programs over the course of more than fifty years of changing administrations and policy priorities—including program personnel . . .

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