Liberal America and the Third World: Political Development Ideas in Foreign Aid and Social Science

Liberal America and the Third World: Political Development Ideas in Foreign Aid and Social Science

Robert A. Packenham
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 417
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    Liberal America and the Third World: Political Development Ideas in Foreign Aid and Social Science
    Book Description:

    In Europe after World War II, U.S. economic aid helped to ensure economic revival, political stability, and democracy. In the Third World, however, aid has been associated with very different tendencies: uneven political development, violence, political instability, and authoritarian rule in most countries.

    Despite these differing patterns of political change in Europe and the Third World, however, American conceptions of political development have remained largely constant: democracy, stability, anti-communism. Why did the objectives and theories of U.S. aid officials and social scientists remain largely the same in the face of such negative results and despite the seeming inappropriateness of their ideas in the Third World context?

    Robert Packenham believes that the thinking of both officials and social scientists was profoundly influenced by the "Liberal Tradition" and its view of the American historical experience. Thus, he finds that U.S. opposition to revolution in the Third World steins not only from perceptions of security needs but also from the very conceptions of development that arc held by Americans. American pessimism about the consequences of revolution is intimately related to American optimism about the political effects of economic growth. In his final chapter the author offers some suggestions for a future policy.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6866-7
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    For more than two decades after World War II, the United States government carried on large foreign aid programs directed first to Europe and soon thereafter to the underdeveloped countries of the Third World.¹ During this same period American social scientists began to study and theorize about these Third World countries on an unprecedented scale. Both the policymakers and the scholars had conceptions about the kinds of political systems they considered to be desirable and feasible. Although the views of the policymakers were usually not stated so explicitly as those of the social scientists, they existed and could easily be...

  6. Part I: Doctrines
    • 1 Political Development Doctrines, 1947-1960
      (pp. 25-58)

      The Fifteen Weeks went from February 21 to June 5, 1947. They began the day Great Britain informed the Department of State of its inability to maintain its commitments in Greece and Turkey, and ended when General George C. Marshall, the U.S. Secretary of State, delivered his famous commencement address at Harvard University. Out of those hundred days two programs emerged: the Truman Doctrine for aid to Greece and Turkey, and the Marshall Plan of aid for the economic recovery of Europe. Moreover, the planning that was done, the statements that were made, and the actions that were taken by...

    • 2 Political Development Doctrines, 1961-1968
      (pp. 59-110)

      John F. Kennedy was one of the eight Senate Democrats who in 1959 had urged President Eisenhower to reassess the importance of military and security aid relative to economic assistance for long-term development. When he became President, Kennedy had the opportunity to rearrange these priorities himself. To a considerable extent, he did. In his first message to the Congress on foreign aid, he declared that existing programs and concepts were “largely unsatisfactory and unsuited” to the needs of the sixties; and that the United States, along with other industrialized countries, should seek to “move more than half the people of...

    • 3 The Liberal Roots of the Doctrines
      (pp. 111-160)

      One can better understand why the doctrines about political development in the American aid program took the form they did by examining some assumptions implicit in what Louis Hartz has called the “Liberal Tradition in America.”¹ This is not to say that the liberal tradition is the only explanation for these doctrines. There are other important causes, but none accounts adequately for the doctrines. Moreover, the influence of the liberal tradition on these doctrines has been insufficiently noted and generally underestimated. Although some evaluation of the doctrines inevitably enters into this discussion, my principal objective in this chapter is only...

    • 4 The Coherence and Value of the Doctrines
      (pp. 161-192)

      If the various manifestations of the explicit democratic approach constitute the “best” evidence for the continuing impact of the fourth liberal premise on American political development doctrines, does not other evidence—notably the Cold War approach—contradict this hypothesis? That is, the Cold War approach has often sanctioned American support for groups and regimes which concentrate power in order to maintain stability and resist Communism. Thus the widespread and continuing presence of the Cold War doctrine seems to be at odds with the idea that Americans prefer to see power dispersed. Samuel Huntington has put this objection in the following...

  7. Part II: Theories
    • 5 Political Development Theories, 1945-1970
      (pp. 195-241)

      The preceding chapters have focused on the implicit theories—doctrines—of political development embedded in U.S. aid programs and related policies and activities. In the next three chapters, the focus expands to include the more explicit theories of social scientists.

      There are two main reasons why these chapters on theories are relevant and complementary to the materials on doctrines. First, if the thinking of aid officials about Third World political development constitutes one type of “expert” opinion on the subject, the thinking of scholars and social scientists surely constitutes another. The theories are of interest as part of the general...

    • 6 The Usefulness of the Theories
      (pp. 242-286)

      The usefulness of the theories refers to both whether they were actually used by policymakers and whether they should have been. The first question refers to what may be called utilization, or extent of actual use; the second, to their potential usefulness.

      The utilization of theories may be determined by noting the extent to which policymakers actually use them in making decisions. In this context it is important to make a distinction between use and abuse: a theory is used by a policymaker when it can be said to have an influence on the formulation of his policy; it is...

    • 7 The Liberal Roots of the Theories
      (pp. 287-310)

      In many important ways the theories are similar to the doctrines. Like the doctrines, they are consistent with and seem to reflect the four inarticulated premises of the liberal tradition. In other ways the theories differed from the doctrines. But such differences as existed between them were not very great or profound.

      The theorists failed to act as searching critics of the fundamental assumptions of government policies. Several plausible explanations have been suggested to account for this weakness. Ultimately, however, this failure is traceable in substantial measure to the agreement produced by the Lockean consensus of the liberal tradition.


  8. Part III: Conclusion
    • 8 Conclusions and Prescriptions
      (pp. 313-360)

      This book has criticized the extension and application of the liberal American ideology to Third World contexts. These criticisms are such that in some circles the book will be seen as a revisionist work. This is not inappropriate, and I am willing to accept the responsibilities, as well as any pleasures and opportunities, that may attend that designation.

      However, just as the views expressed in this book diverge in important ways from the dominant doctrines and theories about political development in the United States during the last twenty-five years, so do they differ also in some important respects from a...

  9. Appendix: A Note on Definitions, Scope, and Method
    (pp. 363-368)
  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 369-378)
  11. Index
    (pp. 379-395)
    Mary van Tamelen, Jeanne Kennedy and Robert Packenham