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

By Nathan Godfried | Go to book overview

seek to elaborate or expand those same New Deal programs. Similarly, the CED and other capitalist class institutions doubted the efficacy of expanding the New Deal to the world. CED officials advocated a crucial role for the state in helping to strengthen private enterprise at home and abroad, but not in taking its place.( 56) The imperial state produced policies within the parameters set by capitalist class elites. Some differences of opinion emerged and some tactical battles ensued, but consensus was the rule. American policy viewed economic development as the responsibility of the poor nations themselves. The only way to achieve development was for the periphery to openly and completely join the capitalist world- economy. Most Third World rulers accepted this wisdom. But they also contended that their nations required special, temporary treatment similar to that afforded Europe. According to peripheral leaders, the core nations had a responsibility to help alleviate balance of payments difficulties, to rectify the lack of capital, and to supply appropriate technology, among other things. Few officials in the Third World during the 1940s truly challenged the existing capitalist world-economy. The periphery's ruling elites sought reforms in, or temporary exemptions from, the dominant system- -in order to alleviate the more blatant examples of indigenous poverty and thus consolidate their own positions at home.

As the 1940s ended, U.S. corporate and state policymakers continued to view Third World economic development as an integral part of American capitalist expansion abroad--a view held by their predecessors dating back to the late nineteenth century. The Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War heightened the importance of such development, while simultaneously complicating its attainment. Extensive wartime destruction threatened Pax Americana and necessitated an active American role in the rebuilding of Europe and Japan. Policymakers hoped to fuse European reconstruction with Third World development in the overall goal of achieving the internationalization of American capitalism and corporatism. Although reconstruction and development were to occur simultaneously and were to feed upon one another, the juxtaposition of the two processes highlighted the growing gap between rich and poor nations. Moreover, the juxtaposition of European (and Japanese) recovery and Third World development revealed the American tendency to support the revival of capitalist core powers at the expense of the growing political and economic nationalism of the periphery.

These attitudes and policies were evident in all areas of American foreign relations, including American economic relations with the countries of the Arab East.


NOTES
1.
NAC Document 2-- 1945, "Methods by which the U.S. Extends Financial Assistance to Foreign Countries," 16.NAC, 5.19F Interdepartmental Committees Related to ECEFP, RG 353, U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C.; ECEFP D-136/45, "Trade Expansion Proposals Involving Problems of Financing," 1 November 1945, 5.19B ECEFP Meetings, 3.Documents, RG 353; Walter Salant, "Foreign Investment and American Foreign Policy," 11 January 1949, Point Four folder, Salant Papers, Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Mo.; ECEFP D-58/48

-113-

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

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions In Economics and Economic History Series Editor: Robert Sobel ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Prologue 1
  • Conclusion 18
  • Notes 19
  • 1 - Economic Development as a Postwar Goal 28
  • Notes 52
  • 2 - Reconstruction Versus Development: 1946-1949 62
  • 3 - Reconstruction Versus Development: Financial and Technical Aid 96
  • Notes 113
  • 4 - America's Development Policy and the Arab East: 1942-1949 121
  • 4 America's Development Policy and the Arab East: 1942-1949 137
  • 5 - Arab East Development and the United States, 1942-1949: Case Studies 149
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 175
  • Epilogue: The United States and Third World Development 185
  • Notes 196
  • Appendix 199
  • Notes 203
  • Select Bibliography 205
  • Index 217
  • About the Author 225
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