Berger on Park, 'Latin American Underdevelopment: A History of Perspectives in the United States, 1870-1965'

James William Park. Latin American Underdevelopment: A History of Perspectives in the United States, 1870-1965. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995. xii + 274 pp. $37.50 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8071-1969-3.

Reviewed by Mark T. Berger (School of Humanities, Murdoch University)
Published on H-LatAm (December, 1995)

Introduction: Power and Progress in the Americas

Since the 1960s, a decade during which Latin American Studies underwent dramatic consolidation and diversification, a growing number of works of political and intellectual history have emerged which focus on theories of Latin American development in the context of the overall dynamics of inter-American relations.1 This trend has been paralleled by an interest in the role of perceptions and values in the formulation and execution of U.S. policy in the Americas, the study of U.S. attitudes toward Latin America, and an explicit focus on the cultural aspects of inter-American relations.2 A recent study by James William Park, a San Diego Community College historian, can be located at the crossroads of these trends. His new book is an examination of North American perspectives on 'underdevelopment' in Latin America between 1870 and 1965. Park makes clear at the outset that he seeks "to identify the salient interpretations of Latin American underdevelopment, trace their evolution and relate them to the emergence in the 1960s of conflicting theories of development" (Park, 1995, p. 6). Park seeks to catalogue what he argues is a "consistent and enduring pattern" of North American "disdain toward the peoples and cultures of Latin America" which flowed from "(i)gnorance, misinformation, an ethnocentric perspective, and racial bias". This pattern of disdain, which explained the lack of 'progress' in Latin America in terms of climate, race and the Black Legend, "underwent some modification" with the increasing professionalization of the study of Latin America by the 1920s and the relative undermining of North American self-regard brought on by the Depression of the 1930s. However, it was only following the end of the Second World War that what Park calls the "traditional interpretation" was superseded by "more-complex analyses" (Park, 1995, p. 4).

Park provides a very useful overview of shifting U.S. perspectives towards Latin American 'underdevelopment' from 1870 to the 1960s, and of the cultural antecedents of modernization theory. At the same time, this review questions the book's analytical framework and the interpretation of some of the key events and trends in inter-American relations such as the Alliance for Progress. (I should note at the outset that I am the author of a new book which covers somewhat similar terrain, but does so from a very different politico-intellectual position). A major weakness of Park's book is its overarching assumption that greater contact between North and South, and more information about Latin America can, or should, lead to increased understanding and sympathy throughout the Americas. For example, at the end of his book he suggests that, ethnocentrism has "hindered a fair-minded assessment of the peoples and cultures of Latin America" for many years, but is confident that the "gradual spread" of a "multi-cultural perspective" from the 1960s onwards "may further constrain the ethnocentric influence of U.S. attitudes toward foreign cultures" (Park, 1995. p. 236). More specifically, his analysis of the professionalization of the study of Latin America clearly assumes that the appearance of a growing number of 'specialists' has had a beneficial impact on U.S. perspectives, influencing official and popular commentary on Latin America to become, in his words, more "balanced" and helping North Americans pay more attention to what he calls "the Latin American point of view" (Park, 1995, p. 4). The rise and growth of the professional study of Latin America has certainly been part of a wider increase in the quantity and sophistication of 'information' about Latin America. However, the professional study of Latin America has never been as autonomous from official concerns and commentary as Park's approach implies (particularly up to the 1960s which is the period covered in his book) and Latin American studies as a whole remains embedded in the projection of U.S. power in the Americas. Nevertheless, Park eschews the "more-complex issue" of the relationship between North American "perceptions" of Latin America and "the formulation of U.S. policy" (Park, 1995, p. 4), implying that it is possible to talk about U.S. perspectives on 'underdevelopment' in Latin America without engaging with the "complex" relationship between North American perspectives and U.S. power.3

In a wider sense his book rests on the assumption that there need not be any serious conflict of interest between the governments and peoples of the U.S. and of Latin America, and that the Americas as a whole can 'develop' in the context of existing inter-American power relations. This liberal Pan American conception of 'progress' and an avoidance of the whole question of power relations puts serious limits on the overall analysis which is offered. It is very hard for this reviewer to see how any effort to understand U.S. perspectives on 'development' in Latin America, can avoid the power relations which have shaped the history of inter-American relations and the way in which North American knowledge about 'underdevelopment' in Latin America has been constantly reproduced in the context of unequal power relations. There is little or no exploration in Park's work of the way in which the various historical and contemporary explanations for 'underdevelopment' in Latin America serve not so much as factual observations but as elements in a wider series of discourses via which 'Latin America' is managed.4 In contrast to Park's analysis which sees the history of U.S. perspectives on 'underdevelopment' in Latin America as a history of the uneven, but gradual, increase in knowledge and understanding this review starts from the premise that the dominant North American perspectives on Latin America have served, and continue to serve, primarily to complement inter-American power relations and elite efforts to manage the disruptive and uneven process of capitalist development in the Americas. Having established Park's overall perspective and the key elements of my critique, the following review article will be devoted to a more detailed summary and evaluation of 'Latin American Underdevelopment'.

I) 'Backwardness' in Latin America: Race Climate, and the Hispanic Legacy 1870-1921

Taking the U.S. controversy over the annexation of the Dominican Republic as his starting point, Park emphasized the "absence of solid information" and the way in which "scanty knowledge" was filtered through "distortions imposed by racism and ethnocentrism" (Park, 1995. pp. 23-24). Before 1870, and for many years after, the "common portrait" of Latin America which emanated from North America rested on the Black Legend and the image of a "slothful, priest-ridden population of inferior, mixed breeds perpetuating the nonproductive ways of the colonial era and stagnating in tropical languor amid undeveloped abundance" (Park, 1995. pp. 32-33). By the beginning of the twentieth century, the U.S. image of Latin America, flowed from an "intellectual context" which rested on a "prideful awareness of territorial and economic expansion together with rising nationalism, Anglo-Saxon 'racial' pride, Social Darwinism, and a sense of mission and destiny" (Park, 1995. p. 46). The U.S. was clearly a rising "world power" by 1900, at the same time as Latin America was seen to be trapped in a condition of "turbulent backwardness"; however, in the context of limited U.S. "expertise" on Latin America, there appeared to be "little concern over this great disparity", and Latin American 'backwardness' was generally perceived in North America as if "it were the natural order of things". He goes on to note that the dramatic increase in the projection of U.S. power in Latin America between the turn of the century and the beginning of the 1920s encouraged considerable increase in "information"; however, the "information" was of a poor quality and the perspectives on 'development' did not alter significantly between the turn of the century and the 1920s (Park, 1995. pp. 62-63).5 Park's analysis fails to draw out the possibility of a connection between "greater hemispheric intrusion" on the part of the U.S. and the continuation and even strengthening of negative North American perceptions of the region. The way in which the U.S. was effectively operating as a colonial power in the Caribbean and beyond in the context of a global era of colonialism and racial explanations for human 'backwardness' and 'progress' is significant. Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence (the history of the last 500 years in the Americas, for example) to suggest that increased contact between cultures can lead, among other things, to increased conflict and heightened conceptions of superiority and inferiority rather than greater cooperation, empathy and understanding.6

After the turn of the century, against the backdrop of U.S. expansion into Latin America, and in the context of increased "popular interest" in the region, Park notes that the basis for the "formal study" of Latin America was established. He points in particular to the University of California (Berkeley) and the University of Pennsylvania, while mentioning that William R. Shepherd (Columbia University), Edward Gaylord Bourne and Hiram Bingham (Yale), William S. Robertson (University of Illinois) and Leo S. Rowe (University of Pennsylvania) were all pioneers in the teaching of courses on Latin American history and politics. Park argues that the "practical consequences" of the "professionalization" of the study of Latin America was that over time "much of the misinformation" that characterized North American "commentary" on the region was eventually challenged, but what he regards as a "corrective process" took "decades" to produce results. Furthermore, professional Latin American specialists themselves often manifested the "long-standing and deeply engrained prejudices of the larger culture", and, according to Park, "even when" they were "on the right track they often failed to address the nonacademic audience" (Park, 1995. pp. 71-72). More broadly Park argues that between 1870 and 1921 the powerful "negative" and "distorted perceptions" of the region which emanated from North America had not altered substantially, while a "corps of regional specialists", with the necessary linguistic training, to study Latin American history and culture, and "an empathy for its peoples" based on "extended residence there", had not yet emerged. However, he was confident that a move in the direction of the "ordered, scholarly study of Latin America" had been embarked upon, even if the influence of increased scholarship and information on North American "public perceptions was not yet evident" (Park, 1995. pp. 98-99).

Here, again, Park assumes that increased U.S. involvement in Latin America (and the emergence of the professional study of Latin America) should, or ought to, lead to greater U.S. information about and understanding of the region. However, it can be argued that any and all knowledge produced in the context of both U.S. politico-military and economic expansion into Latin America, and the related trend towards the professionalization of the study of Latin America, in the period up to 1921 (and after), was produced in the context of power relations that precluded a North American discovery of an authentic 'Latin America' which existed beneath the many layers of disdain and prejudice. A key aspect of the very constitution of the professional study of Latin America was the development of strong links between academics, private foundations and the State Department or another branch of the U.S. government, at the very time when U.S. politico-military and economic expansion into Latin America was on the increase. Many early Latin American specialists emerged from, and/or spent at least part of their career in, government service. A Latin American specialist who exemplified the close relationship between the academy, the government and private foundations in this period was Leo S. Rowe, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Rowe, who Park cites in passing as a pioneer in the teaching of Latin American history and politics, was well connected in government circles and was very sympathetic with U.S. policy in Latin America. He served as the Director General of the Pan-American Union from 1920 until 1946 (the Pan American Union was the direct organizational predecessor to the Organization of American States, which was founded in 1948) and as President of the American Academy of Political and Social Science for almost thirty years (1902 to 1930). Rowe's most well known book was The United States and Porto Rico, which grew out of his work for the U.S. government in Puerto Rico at the beginning of the century. In it he characterized U.S. expansion into the circum-Caribbean as "inevitable", and the countries there as "natural economic dependencies" of the United States, emphasizing that the North American embrace had the potential to provide the region with a level of "prosperity" which it had not known since the mid-1800s. He also argued that the U.S. could learn from the European colonial powers in order to deal more effectively with its growing collection of dependencies. Rowe's career trajectory flowed from and worked in direct complicity with U.S. politico-military and economic influence in the region. And Rowe's perspective on Latin America, like wider North American perspectives on the region in this period cannot easily be separated from government policy and the projection of U.S. power into Latin America in the first two decades of the twentieth century.7

II) The Coming of Development Theory: The Great Depression, the Good Neighbor Policy and the Second World War 1921-1945

Although the dominant explanations for Latin America's 'underdevelopment' continued to rest on race, climate and the Hispanic legacy into the 1920s, Park emphasizes that it was in this decade that these approaches were first seriously challenged by scientists, intellectuals and radical journalists. At the same time, he argues that more significantly still, there was an increased "flow of information" on Latin America which was "more evenhanded", of a higher quality and "more reflective of the Latin American point of view". Furthermore, U.S. policy in the region in the 1920s was the subject of much more debate than previously and an increased number of North American commentators called for "greater understanding" of the region's "problems", while pointing to the need for more "tolerance". Park goes on to note that a growing number of reprints and translations of Latin American articles began to turn up in U.S. newspapers and journals, emphasizing that this reflected a "trend toward more-balanced reporting". He argues further that the higher profile given to "the Latin American perspective" by the 1920s facilitated "a more balanced and informed public opinion" in North America (Park, 1995. pp. 100-101, 108-111).8 At the same time, he takes the view that there was "more continuity than discontinuity" in U.S. descriptions of and prescriptions for Latin America (Park, 1995. pp. 113-115). The rise of scientific racism in this period reinforced more popular conceptions of race, and "racial factors" remained crucial to the dominant perspective which assumed "that the inferiority of the great bulk of Latin America's population--Indians, Negroes, and mixed races--was a major" and "lasting obstacle to progress" (Park, 1995. pp. 118-119). However, a small, but growing "countercurrent against scientific racism" gained greater currency by the 1930s under the leadership of cultural anthropologists such as Franz Boas, not to mention influential academics and journalists such as John Dewey and Walter Lippmann (Park, 1995. pp. 122-123). More generally, Park draws attention to the emergence in the 1920s of an increasingly technical interest in solutions to Latin America's 'problems' (he points to the advisory work of Edwin Walter Kemmerer, an economist from Princeton University, who advised five Andean governments on economic policy between the early 1920s and the early 1930s) and emphasizes that the increasingly thorough examination of issues such as foreign investment and land reform was indicative of a shift away from the "highly generalized views" of earlier decades towards "specialization" and "more-complex analysis". Nevertheless, at the beginning of the 1930s, the North American public was still indifferent to, and disdainful of, Latin America, and race, climate, and the Hispanic legacy, were still the most regularly deployed explanations for Latin American 'underdevelopment' (Park, 1995. pp. 127, 130-131).

As Park notes, the Great Depression and the onset of World War II were central to shifts in U.S. policy toward Latin America and the re-definition of inter-American relations. In this context the Good Neighbor policy "brought unprecedented" U.S. "attention" to the region and worked to "fashion a more cooperative hemispheric relationship". Although, according to Park, race, culture and climate remained major factors in North American explanations of Latin American 'underdevelopment', this period was also characterized by the "remarkably tolerant, even benevolent, tone" of a growing amount of North American "commentary", which had become, by the end of the 1930s, "a fascination for all things Latin American". This was apparent in the growing popularity of Latin American dance, fashion and music along with movies which pursued "Latin American themes" not to mention, the increase in tourism, cultural exchanges and "an explosion of information" in which overwhelmingly negative Latin American stereotypes (which had been a standard of Hollywood film-making) were increasingly superseded by more deferential and culturally-sensitive stereotypes. Park also notes the increase in college- and university-level courses on Latin America and the growing role of professional Latin Americanists. He observes that, by the 1920s the "formal study" of Latin America, an important element in the "ultimate shaping" of North American "attitudes", was proceeding at a steady, but "gradual pace". And Park concludes that a "small but growing corps of regional specialists" had appeared by the 1930s, and a number of them were active in efforts to "inform public opinion". In his discussion of the 1930s Park draws particular attention to Herbert E. Bolton, president of the American Historical Association in 1932, and his efforts to publicise and popularise his ideas about the "common history" of the Americas. Park notes that during the 1920s and 1930s at which time Bolton was head of the history department at the University of California, Berkeley, he produced numerous books, while the number of graduate students who did Latin American history topics under his supervision numbered in the "hundreds". According to Park, Bolton's various achievements "all had lasting and widespread influence among Latin American historians, not only on perceptions of the Spanish borderlands but also in acceptance of his thesis that the Americas share a common historical experience" (Park, 1995. pp. 112-113, 130-132, 140-143).

It can be argued that Park overstates the significance of Bolton and the long term importance of his work as a result of his assumption that professional Latin Americanists were involved in a cumulative, and an almost inherently progressive, process of knowledge production. Bolton's case for a unitary and comparative approach to the history of the Americas--which emphasized the hemisphere's common colonial origins, the ongoing transplantation of culture from Europe, the exploitation and marginalization of the indigenous peoples, the plundering of the natural resources, the emergence of, and competition between, new nations, and what was believed to be a shared and ongoing struggle for political stability and economic progress--ultimately had a very limited impact. Although Bolton's call for Pan American history was favorably received in many quarters, and meshed well with the Good Neighbor policy, interest in the unitary and/or comparative study of the history of the Americas implied by what became know as the Bolton Theory faded after 1945. Bolton's failure to generate much scholarly research on the unitary/comparative history of the Americas was a result of the continued strength of the conventional demarcation between the study of U.S. history and the study of Latin American history. At the same time, Bolton focused primarily on the colonial history of the Americas. And as the independence era in North American and Latin American history gained importance for U.S. historians, Bolton's significance declined. After 1945 the colonial history of North America was important because of its significance to the U.S. rise to "national greatness" rather than because of its possible similarities to colonial Latin America.9 As Park himself subsequently makes clear the post-1945 study of Latin America rested increasingly on the systematic codification of an analytical framework which departed dramatically from notions of a common history and emphasized the historic and contemporary differences between North America and Latin America, assuming that the U.S. was 'developed' and Latin America was 'underdeveloped'.

Furthermore, while Bolton, as Park notes, supervised a large number of post-graduates (over the course of his thirty-three years at Berkeley, he supervised 350 master's degrees and 105 doctorates, and fifty-four of the latter did their work in Latin American history, while over forty of them pursued academic careers), produced a large number of books, and wrote numerous articles for scholarly and popular journals, Bolton was not regarded, even by some of his contemporaries, as a particularly gifted historian. While Berkeley emerged, under Bolton's guidance, as an institutional focus for a nascent Latin American studies profession, Bolton was perceived as a "mass producer" of PhDs, and many of his students found it hard to get academic jobs, particularly at the important eastern and northern universities. Although Bolton's contribution to the historical profession was acknowledged with his election to the post of president of the American Historical Association in the early 1930s, Berkeley's re-emergence as a major national center for Latin American research in the 1960s, owed little to Bolton and a great deal to the politico-economic dynamics of the Cold War. Berkeley's earlier Latin American reputation appears to have often gone unnoticed and unmentioned by a new generation of Latin American specialists, many of whom perceived Bolton as something of an "embarrassment".10 In the early 1960s, Richard Morse argued that Latin American studies prior to World War II was "a faintly ridiculous tail to a politico-commercial kite".11

Even though there was a wide variety of efforts aimed at the overall "promotion" of the region by the 1930s and early 1940s, Park emphasizes that specialists lamented that throughout this period the vast majority of North Americans "remained pitifully ignorant of the region" insofar as the Latin American "craze" had "promoted the superficial, highlighted the romantic and distorted the real". At the same time, Park emphasizes that the realities of the Depression had generated a growing amount of economic research and analysis of Latin America, some of it quite critical of the role of the U.S. government and U.S.-based corporations. It is in this trend that Park finds the partial origins of dependency theory. He outlines the work of Carleton Beals, Margaret Alexander Marsh, Melvin M. Knight and Frank Tannnenbaum in the 1930s as key commentators in the promulgation of a more radical and economic-oriented perspective. Park concludes that up to the 1920s, the idea that foreign capital played a part in the 'underdevelopment' of Latin America had been the preserve of a "leftist minority"; however, by the 1930s this perspective had "gained general respectability" (Park, 1995 pp. 130, 147-151). The overall importance of the progressive and/or radical studies of U.S. economic imperialism in Latin America, which began to appear by the late 1920s and challenged the representation of U.S. hegemony as a civilizing mission should not be overestimated.12 At the height of the New Deal and the Good Neighbor Policy some progressive ideas were partially incorporated into U.S. foreign policy and into the dominant professional discourses on Latin America, but this occurred in a way which clearly defused their more radical political implications. Furthermore, as Park does makes clear, the emergence of a focus on the economic aspects of 'development', and a radical critique of the maldistribution of the control of economic resources in the region, did not mean that climatic explanations and the less frequent, but still influential, Black Legend lost their salience for North American commentators seeking to explain Latin American underdevelopment, while 'race' also persisted as a "common explanation" (Park, 1995. pp. 157-161).

Nevertheless, in Park's view, although alterations to North American perspectives on Latin America "were indeed slow in coming" the 1930-1945 era saw significant professional growth in Latin American studies and in the diplomatic corp accredited to the region. He notes that the "(r)eorganization of the foreign service in 1924 and subsequent salary improvements led to professionalization and a consequent improvement in reporting from the region" at the same time as "the placement of personnel sympathetic to Latin America in key policy-making positions within the State Department, had a favorable though indirect impact on shaping public opinion about Latin America". Park is also enthusiastic about the "dozens of cultural exchange programs" which were "sponsored by the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations and the Pan American Union" and by the government itself. He praises the "youthful energy and prior experience" of Nelson A. Rockefeller, who was appointed director of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs [CIAA] when it was set up by the U.S. government in 1940. Park emphasizes that Rockefeller and his organization "proved effective in combating Nazi penetration of the hemisphere and in promoting Pan American solidarity by improving dissemination of information through the mass media networks in the Americas". The CIAA also "stimulated" the professional study of Latin America and distributed funding to academics engaged in field work in the region (Park, 1995. pp. 143-144).

Absent from this account, as in his analysis of the professionalization of the foreign service, is any indication of the unequal character of inter-American power relations and any critical consideration of the politico-economic and military imperatives driving both U.S. policy and the growing number of academics who worked directly or indirectly with the government before and after the outbreak of World War II. One of the ostensible goals of the Good Neighbor Policy after 1933, which was eventually taken up by the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in 1940, was to generate an environment of appreciation and respect for Hispanic American culture. To this end the CIAA began to work with the State Department's Division of Cultural Relations through a Joint Committee on Cultural Relations. By the end of 1941 hundreds of seminars on inter-American relations inspired and funded by this Joint Committee on Cultural Relations had been held across North America, while Pan Americanism was propagated in the school system. A whole range of organizations were enlisted to form links with similar organizations in Latin America and promote Pan Americanism.13 By the time the CIAA appeared, if not well before, the emphasis was clearly on using Pan American cultural relations as a conduit for the transmission of North American influence rather than anything resembling mutual cultural appreciation. In the 1930s and early 1940s, the dominant perspectives on Latin America, and Pan Americanism more generally, rested on self-serving assumptions about the complementarity of U.S. ideals and U.S. interests and about the existence of a relative harmony of interest between U.S. goals and Latin American aspirations.

Ultimately, according to Park, the "explosion of information on Latin America" in this period was "still error-ridden" and "superficial"; however, a number of young academics, such as Robert Redfield, who would rise to considerable prominence in the profession after 1945, increasingly countered "traditional interpretations", while a growing focus on the economic dimension of Latin America's 'problems' flowed "naturally" out of the experience of the Depression (Park, 1995. pp. 164-166). Park adopts a descriptive and uncritical view of Redfield's career and the influence of his work on the emergence of classical modernization theory after World War II. What is not emphasized is that Redfield's particular career trajectory and modernization theory more generally (of which his books were key texts) was grounded in the tight linkage between academics and government which had been central to Latin American studies since its inception, but became more marked during the Second World War. Redfield, an anthropologist at the University of Chicago, emerged as an important Latin American studies figure by the late 1930s, serving as chairman of the Joint Committee on Latin American Studies, which was set up in 1940 under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, with direct links to the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs under Nelson Rockefeller.14 His work on the Maya exerted considerable influence on anthropology and Latin American studies before and after the Second World War.15 His approach emphasized a tradition-modernity dichotomy and a liberal evolutionary conception of 'progress'. This emphasis was central to modernization theory as it emerged after World War II and continued to dominate the study of Latin America until the 1960s and beyond.

III) The Discovery of Development: The Cold War, Modernization Theory and the Alliance for Progress 1945-1965

In the immediate post-war years the degree of U.S. "interest" in its southern neighbors faded precipitously and did not really recover, as Park notes, until the end of the 1950s by which time the concept of 'underdevelopment' had become firmly established in inter-American (and international) political and economic discourse. At the same time, apart from "the climatic factor", the "traditional explanations" for Latin America's 'failure' to 'develop' remained alive; however, they increasingly emerged as complementary to the "new 'modernization theory'" which offered far more systematic and "complex explanations" and prescriptions based on particular readings of North American history. In this context definitions of 'development' were increasingly grounded in economics, while emphasizing that the 'political' and the 'social' would line up "behind the locomotive of economic growth". By the end of the 1950s, as Park notes, modernization theory had spread far beyond the academy and pervaded public discourse on 'development'. According to Park, modernization theory represented an attempt to provide a "more-ordered" perspective based on "increasingly complex" and "multi-disciplinary views"; however, the shift it represented was less "real" than first appearances suggested. He emphasizes that modernization theory as it emerged after 1945 reinforced "existing attitudes", insofar as it continued to regard the cultures and institutions of Latin America with disdain, emphasizing, furthermore, that Latin American cultural practices had to be "discarded" for the region to evolve towards modernity. As Park notes, by the early 1960s the idea that the "development" of Latin America could only come about through a process of complete, but evolutionary, "transformation" and strict emulation of the U.S. "model" had become predominant and many North Americans had also become convinced that the 'development' of the region necessitated a dramatic increase in North American "participation". By 1960, Park concludes, the U.S. perceived a rising "threat" to its regional "interests" and was also possessed of "a gnawing sense of some measure of responsibility" for Latin America's 'underdevelopment'. In this context U.S. policy shifted toward an effort to meet nationalist and radical "challenges to its hemispheric hegemony" head-on "while expressing a characteristic sense of optimism and world mission" (Park, 1995. pp. 167, 201-203).

While Park's discussion provides general coverage of the 1945 to 1960 period, and emphasizes the ethnocentric North American antecedents of modernization theory and the Alliance for Progress, his analysis fails to draw out the shifting and dramatically unequal inter-American power relations and the way in which the vicissitudes of the Cold War shaped the changes to, or the reworking of, U.S. perspectives towards Latin America. He points to the way Latin America remained a low priority in Washington in the 1950s because the region appeared to be relatively stable in relation to U.S. concerns about a global 'communist threat'. However, once he has established the general Cold War context, he often ignores the role of the Cold War even though a direct and specific discussion of Cold War imperatives, at various points, would have illuminated and contextualized his discussion of particular commentators and trends.16 To take just one example, he draws attention to Walt Whitman Rostow's influential work of modernization theory, The Stages of Economic Growth at two different points, as well as to one of his earlier books, jointly authored with Max F. Millikan (Park, 1995. pp. 184, 199, 219). However, at no point is Rostow's career, or his work located in the wider context of the Cold War and the projection of U.S. power in Latin America and beyond. Surely, any attempt to come to grips with Rostow's book The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, a classic statement of modernization theory in the 1950s and early 1960s, and its overall significance in relation to U.S. perspectives towards Latin America requires more attention to the details of Rostow's career and the international power relations of the Cold War.17 All that is said of Rostow is that he was an economic historian at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Park does not even mention that Rostow, who served in the research and analysis branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, continued to work with the government in the 1950s and was a close advisor to President Kennedy and President Johnson. Nor does Park mention his role as a major and influential advocate of the shift in U.S. foreign policy in the late 1950s, away from containing the Soviet Union with direct military force, towards taking the initiative in the so-called 'Third World' via the increased use of U.S. economic and military aid as part of an ambitious strategy of economic development and nation-building (and counter-insurgency).18 This strategy was embodied in the Alliance for Progress and the Kennedy administration, in which Rostow served as deputy assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, built on the state-led reformism of the Good Neighbor era and sought to breathe new life into Republican-style Cold War globalism.

In his last chapter, Park concludes that the Alliance for Progress (ostensibly a 100 billion dollar, decade-long, program of land and economic reform, aimed at bringing about annual growth rates of at least 2.5 percent, greater agricultural output, illiteracy eradication, trade diversification, and improvements in housing and income distribution) was one of "many casualties" of the 1960s. According to Park, the Alliance for Progress emerged as U.S. policy "largely because" it meshed with a theory which was "widely accepted in the academic world" and also "popularized among the educated public" at the sametime as its "inherent optimism" coincided with both the "mood" of the early 1960s and the "traditional" North American "sense of mission". However, by the mid-1960s, although classical modernization theory continued to underpin North American analysis of Latin America, "it was less and less expressed with the high idealism of a few years earlier" at the same time as the anti-communist military element of the Alliance for Progress became increasingly important. From Park's point of view the Alliance's "putative failure" did not flow so much from changes in Latin America as it did from "momentous cultural and political" developments in North America "which sharply curtailed the liberal agenda" and "reduced the public's already notoriously short attention span for things Latin American". More broadly, Park attributes the failure of the Alliance to "many factors" including "excessively ambitious" objectives, "the distraction of war in Vietnam, the fading of the Cuban 'threat', balance of payment problems and the decline of liberal reformism as the decade advanced". In Park's view, the "smug confidence" of the Kennedy years had inspired a perspective on 'development' in Latin America which found the origin of the region's "problems" to be internal and the solution to be external in origin, but the "turbulent" 1960s undermined that "confidence" and the rising political opposition increasingly found the roots of Latin American 'underdevelopment' in an "exploitative" inter-American politico-economic system centred on the U.S. (Park, 1995. pp. 204-205, 211, 219-221, 224-227).

Overall Park's analysis of the Alliance for Progress follows an established pattern which views the Alliance as a basically sound policy initiative and locates its failure in the weaknesses of the implementation process and the wider context of the weakening of U.S. commitment.19 This approach is premised on the overall compatibility between the interests of the governments and people of Latin America, and the interests of the government and people of the United States. From their perspective the earlier problems that had developed between Latin America and Washington had grown out of the shortcomings of previous policies, a shortage of information and U.S. failure to pay sufficient attention to the region. As with Park's overall analysis, inter-American problems are explained in terms of a lack of 'understanding' between North and South caused and compounded by different cultural backgrounds, irrational stereotypes and a shortage of information.20 This can be seen as an exceptionally sanguine assessment which glosses over the unequal relations of power, the disruptive effects of capitalist development and the profound contradictions which characterize inter-American relations and were reflected in the Alliance for Progress. For example, one of the overarching, but usually unstated, goals of the Alliance was the protection of inter-American arrangements conducive to North American investments and trading interests. At the same time many of the Alliance's reforms endangered U.S. investments, while trade diversification threatened the U.S.-based transnationals' monopoly in primary agricultural products and mineral extraction. Furthermore, any significant land reform threatened the interests of powerful land-based elites often allied to U.S. political and economic interests. These contradictions were apparent in the way that Kennedy's reformist rhetoric went hand in hand with Washington's ever-deepening commitment to aiding military and police efforts to quash peasant-based rebellions. From the very beginning, U.S.-based transnationals and the landed oligarchies attempted to preserve the status quo and prevent any meaningful change. Although high rates of economic growth in many Latin American countries had been achieved by the late 1960s, they had served primarily to increase social inequality, while the middle class moved to side with the ruling political and socio-economic elite as politics, instead of evolving towards democracy, moved further towards authoritarianism and military dictatorship (not coincidentally there were sixteen military coups within eight years of the launch of the Alliance for Progress). Already by the time of Kennedy's assassination, the reformist element in the Alliance had been sidelined in favour of a more straightforward approach of military and economic aid to any regime which was committed to the status quo.21

IV) Post-Kennedy Liberalism: The Development Debate and the Domestication of Dependency Theory

Ultimately, the optimism and missionary zeal of the Alliance for Progress, according to Park, "sprang from an interpretation of Latin American underdevelopment that is yet today expressed as a major voice in the ongoing debate in academic circles on hemispheric development and that rests on a perspective with very deep roots in the American past" (Park, 1995, p. 1). At the same time, by the second half of the 1960s, the weaknesses of the major Cold War theories of development, and of the Alliance for Progress, had also encouraged the appearance of a theory of underdevelopment "antithetical" to modernization theory. In Park's view the struggle between dependency theory and liberal developmentalism was a "conflict" between a re-emergent "economic interpretation" which originated in the 1930s, but had been marginalised by the "prosperity" of the post-1945 era, and a revised "cultural interpretation" with an even longer genealogy. He goes on to suggest that the development debate of the 1960s "reinforced the growing awareness of the inordinate complexity of Latin American underdevelopment" and for this reason the "collapse" of the "consensus" around a "culturally based and ethnocentric" modernization theory, which had reached a peak by the beginning of the 1960s, should be regarded favourably. He also argues that achieving a new theoretical "consensus" on development and underdevelopment in Latin America was difficult because of the growing power and articulation of "the Latin American view" and because dependency and modernization theorists "were driven by ideology" (Park, 1995. pp. 228-234, 236). First of all, I cannot imagine any theory or perspective that is outside of politics or "ideology", as this latter observation implies. Park's book is itself clearly "driven" by liberal assumptions about political and social change which are linked to modernization theory. Furthermore, as with his attempt to chart the shifts in inter-American relations and U.S. perceptions of Latin America, Park's brief analysis of the competing theories development which had emerged by the 1960s, neglects the power relations which shaped the debate in important ways at the same time as he provides a somewhat simplistic analysis of dependency theory. For example, at a minimum he could have distinguished between the reformist strands which are seen to have originated with Raul Prebisch and the ECLA in the 1950s on the one hand and the more revolutionary strands, associated with Andre Gunder Frank and others, which first appeared in the 1960s and are generally regarded as classical dependency theory. At the same time, while there are clearly various resonances and linkages between dependency theory of the 1960s and the theories of economic imperialism which emerged in the 1930s, the link is not necessarily straightforward. Park's heavy emphasis on continuity here, as with his emphasis on the cultural continuity between modernization theory and earlier ethnocentric perspectives, somewhat obscures the dynamic reconfiguring of older perspectives which occurred during the Cold War.

Park, in my view, also overstates the challenge which dependency theory represented to the liberal consensus underpinning modernization theory. He argues that the late 1960s saw a break down of "consensus" and it was not until the beginning of the 1990s that there was a re-emergence of a "general concordance of views on development" (centred on a neo-liberal model) amongst government leaders, policy-makers and the general public in the U.S.; however, it is not clear whether he sees this consensus extending to the academy (Park, 1995. p. 234). This emphasis on a breakdown of consensus in the 1960s, as a result in part of the growing influence of dependency theory, is a common observation.22 However, it can be argued that this exaggerates the politico-theoretical power of dependency theory in North America and beyond, and takes an ahistorical perspective on the trajectory which theories of dependency followed in the 1960s, 1970s and after. Despite the radical challenges and the political turmoil, liberalism clearly remained dominant within and outside the Latin American studies profession. The theoretical and political changes within the North American study of Latin America since the 1960s occurred in the context of power relations that worked to domesticate radical theory and politics to liberal academic structures, professional organizations and discourses. Even when the lack of political and theoretical consensus appeared to be particularly acute, such as the late 1960s or the early 1980s, the institutional power relations and the dominant professional and policy discourses provided the context for the domestication and containment of theoretical and political dissent. While a crucial site for the domestication of dependency theory was the Latin American studies profession the domestication process was also intimately linked to shifts in U.S. foreign policy and the trend to neo-liberal economics and electoral politics which was a key characteristic of inter-American political economy by the second half of the 1980s.23 The diffusion of radical ideas into the dominant professional discourses was part of the wider reinvention of liberalism. In the 1960s and 1970s, in the context of the emergence of dependency theory, liberals revised modernization theory to give it a more critical edge. They also began to adopt elements of dependency analysis. However, unlike the radical reliance on a conflict model of inter-American relations, the dominant professional discourses continued to rest on the view that there was no fundamental conflict of interest between U.S. objectives in Latin America and the aspirations of the people who lived there. And while most radicals advocated revolutionary change, or at least radical reform, liberal narratives continued to be based on considerable optimism about the possibility of improving North-South relations within the existing inter-American framework.

Conclusion: Pan American Progress

As we have seen Park's book is about U.S. perspectives on 'underdevelopment' in Latin America up to and including the Alliance for Progress and he is preoccupied with charting the cultural antecedents of modernization theory. I have tried to argue that his overall analysis is seriously weakened by his assumption that the growing involvement of the U.S. in Latin America, and the increased contact and information should, or did, gradually lead to increased understanding. I have also emphasized that his analysis throughout fails to address possible conflicts of interest between the government and people of the U.S. and Latin America. This points to an unwillingness to acknowledge the important role that power relations play in shaping 'ethnocentric' North American perspectives on Latin America. Nor does his analysis take into account that 'enthnocentrism' without power, is quite different from 'ethnocentrism' with power whereby the historic North American disdain towards Latin America which he charts is translated into policies and actions that have significant effects. At the same time, Park's failure to address the question of power results in an analysis of the development debate of the 1960s which treats dependency theory as a virtual equal competitor with modernization theory and overstates the scale of the dependency challenge to liberal theories of development. Furthermore, despite his cultural critique of modernization theory, there is a tendency towards an ahistorical perspective which reads too much continuity into US perspectives on Latin America, while his overall analysis, like most elite visions of a regional or universal capitalist modernity, tends to obscure the historically disruptive effects of uneven capitalist development. Modernization theory and the Alliance for Progress of the 1960s, and neo-liberalism and Pan-American efforts at economic integration in the 1980s and 1990s, have been aimed less at Pan American progress and more at managing capitalist development in the interests of regionalized and internationalized elites. The Alliance for Progress coincided in the 1960s with both increased rates of economic growth and dramatic increases in social and economic inequality, while the liberalization of trade and investment in the 1980s and 1990s, has been paralleled by the concentration of incomes, high rates of underemployment and unemployment, widespread poverty and the marginalization of large numbers of rural and urban poor throughout the Americas.


1. Irving Louis Horowitz, ed., The Rise and Fall of Project Camelot: Studies in the Relationship between Social Science and Practical Politics [Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1967]. Susanne Jonas Bodenheimer, The Ideology of Developmentalism: The American Paradigm-Surrogate for Latin American Studies [Berkeley, Sage Publications, 1971]. Robert A. Packenham, Liberal America and the Third World: Political Development Ideas in Foreign Aid and Social Science [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973]. Irving Louis Horowitz, Beyond Empire and Revolution: Militarization and Consolidation in the Third World [New York: Oxford University Press, 1982]. Ronaldo Munck, Politics and Dependency in the Third World: The Case of Latin America [London: Zed Press, 1984]. Peter F. Klarin and Thomas J. Bossert, eds., Promise of Development: Theories of Change in Latin America [Boulder: Westview Press, 1986]. Jorge Larrain, Theories of Development: Capitalism, Colonialism and Dependency [London: Polity Press, 1989]. Cristobal Kay, Latin American Theories of Development and Underdevelopment [London: Routledge, 1989]. David Lehmann, Democracy and Development in Latin America: Economics, Politics and Religion in the Post-war Period [Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990]. Carlos Ramirez-Faria, The Origins of Economic Inequality Between Nations: A Critique of Western Theories of Development and Underdevelopment [London: Unwin Hyman, 1991]. Robert A. Packenham, The Dependency Movement: Scholarship and Politics in Development Studies [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992]. Arturo Escobar, Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995]. Mark T. Berger, Under Northern Eyes: Latin American Studies and U.S. Hegemony in the Americas 1898-1960 [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995].

2. See John J. Johnson, Latin America in Caricature [Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980]. George Black: The Good Neighbor: How the United States Wrote the History of Central America and the Caribbean [New York: Pantheon, 1988]. Lester D. Langley, America and the Americas: The United States in the Western Hemisphere [Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989]. John J. Johnson, A Hemisphere Apart: The Foundations of United States Policy Toward Latin America [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990]. J. Valerie Fifer, United States' Perceptions of Latin America, 1850-1930: A 'New West' South of Capricorn? [Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1991]. Fredrick B. Pike, The United States and Latin America: Myths and Stereotypes of Civlization and Nature [Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992]. Helen Delpar, The Enormous Vogue of Things Mexican: Cultural Relations Between the United States and Mexico 1920-1935 [Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1992]. John A. Britton, Revolution and Ideology: The Image of the Mexican Revolution in the United States 1910-1960 [Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994].

3. The absence of any conception of power relations in Park's account is apparent when he emphasizes that the ignorant, racist and ethnocentric attitudes which underpinned US perspectives towards Latin America "should not be taken as uniquely" North American, "for they were quite universal". This point is reiterated in his conclusion where he argues that "it must be kept in mind that ethnocentrism is not unique to American culture; the Latin American interpretation of life in the United States is also burdened with its own ethnocentric limitations" (Park, 1995, pp. 4, 236-237).

4. Arturo Escobar, "Culture, Economics and Politics in Latin American Social Movements Theory and Research" in Arturo Escobar and Sonia E. Alvarez, eds., The Making of Social Movements in Latin America: Identity, Strategy and Democracy [Boulder: Westview Press, 1992]. p. 62.

5. Park highlights the continued influence and codification of the climatic explanation for Latin American 'backwardness' into the 1920s, as reflected in the work of the Yale academic Ellsworth Huntington. See Ellsworth Huntington Civilization and Climate [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1915]. Even more than climatic explanations, 'race' and 'racial mixing' continued to be "widely accepted" explanations for the 'backwardness' of Latin America. Again, as Park points out, the writings of influential North American exponents of scientific racism worked to legitimate racial explanations for 'underdevelopment' in Latin America. Two well-known books which explicitly pointed to Latin America to highlight the "evils of miscegenation" were Albert Galloway Keller, Colonization: A Study of the Founding of New Societies [Boston: 1908 and. Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race [New York: 1916]. Apart from climate and race, the hispanic legacy also continued to be deployed to account for the "purported backwardness" of Latin America. In fact, according to Park, the influence of the Black Legend was especially "pervasive" in the first two decades of the twentieth century. A particular acute example of this was a book by G. L. Morrill, a Protestant minister. See G. L. Morrill, Rotten Republics: A Tropical Tramp in Central America [Chicago: 1916]. As Park points out the "harsh judgements" emanating from the North in this period were also being made by influential Latin Americans, and their observations were often deployed by North Americans. The most famous example of this literature is probably Latin America: Its Rise and Progress by Francisco Garcma Caldersn which was was widely cited in North America. See Francisco Garcma Caldersn, Latin America: Its Rise and Progress [London: 1913] (Park, 1995. pp. 75-92).

6. Another important factor shaping US policy and perspectives towards Latin America in negative fashion in the early twentieth century, as Fredrick Pike has shown, was the perceptions and policies towards native peoples in North America. Fredrick B. Pike, The United States and Latin America: Myths and Stereotypes of Civlization and Nature [Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992].

7. Leo S. Rowe, The United States and Porto Rico: With Special Reference to the Problems Arising Out of Our Contact with the Spanish-American Civilization [New York: Longman's Green, 1904]. pp. vii, xi-xiv, 10-13, 17-19, 261. Mark T. Berger, Under Northern Eyes: Latin American Studies and U.S. Hegemony in the Americas 1898-1990 [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]. pp. 34-35.

8. For example, in Park's view, the heated debate over Mexican policy in the 1920s "was more balanced and offered a clearer exposition of the Mexican point of view than ever before". He pointed to the work of three well known radical journalists, Frank Tannenbaum, Ernest Gruening and Carleton Beals and the way in which their work emphasized that the main objectives of the Mexican revolution were "just and humane", that Mexico was starting to realize those objectives and that this should take place without US. interference (Park, 1995. pp. 109-110).

9. Ian Tyrrell, "American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History" The American Historical Review vol. 96. no. 4. 1991. pp. 1039-1040.

10. Robert A. McCaughey, International Studies and Academic Enterprise: A Chapter in the Enclosure of American Learning [New York: Columbia University Press, 1984]. pp. 89-95, 105. See Herbert Eugene Bolton, "The Epic of Greater America" American Historical Review vol. 38. no. 3. 1933. See John F. Bannon, Herbert Eugene Bolton: The Historian and the Man 1870-1953 [Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1978]. David J. Weber, "Turner, the Boltonians and the Borderlands" American Historical Review vol. 91. no. 1. 1986. Albert L. Hurtado, "Herbert E. Bolton, Racism and American History" Pacific Historical Review vol. 62. no. 2. 1993. Lewis Hanke, ed., Do the Americas Have a Common History?: A Critique of the Bolton Theory [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964]. Mark T. Berger, Under Northern Eyes: Latin American Studies and U.S. Hegemony in the Americas 1898-1990 [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]. pp. 52-54, 266-268.

11. Richard M. Morse, "The Strange Career of 'Latin American Studies'" The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science vol. 356. November 1964. p. 111.

12. After 1945 some North American historians represented the entire first half of the twentieth century as an era in which progressive historiography and progressivism more generally rose to considerable influence and even predominance in North America. However, historians writing in the Cold War era tended to overstate the scale of the progressive influence between World War I and World War II. The 'overstated' view can be found in Gene Wise, American Historical Explanations: A Strategy for Grounded Inquiry [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, second revised edition 1980, first published 1973]. Bernard Sternsher, Consensus, Conflict and American Historians [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975]. pp. 1-4. David W. Noble, "The Reconstruction of Progress: Charles Beard, Richard Hofstadter and Postwar Historical Thought" in Lary May, ed., Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989]. pp. 61-62. The progressive discourses took on new significance with the emergence of the so-called neo-progressives (the New Left) in the 1960s. Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988]. p. 332. For an analysis of Beard and the progressives which emphasizes that their impact was limited in the 1930s and that their long term significance is to be found in the rise of New Left historiography in the 1960s, see Ian Tyrrell, The Absent Marx: Class Analysis and Liberal History in Twentieth Century America [Westport: Greenwood Press, 1986]. pp. 15-70.

13. By the end of the 1930s Pan Americanism was generally understood in North America as "the cooperative activity of the American states in the political, economic or cultural spheres". Dexter Perkins, "Bringing the Monroe Doctrine up to Date" Foreign Affairs vol. 20. no. 2. 1942. p. 261.

14. Frank A. Ninkovich, The Diplomacy of Ideas: US Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations 1938-1950 [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981]. pp. 40-42, 194.

15. Paul Sullivan, Unfinished Conversations: Mayas and Foreigners Between Two Wars [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989]. pp. 156-159.

16. The way in which the Cold War permeated every aspect of the North American study of, and commentary on, Latin America is drawn out nicely in Richard R. Fagen, "Latin America and the Cold War: Oh For the Good Old Days?" LASA Forum vol. 26. no. 3. 1995. pp. 5-7.

17. Walt Whitman Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960]. A second edition appeared in the early 1970s. For this addition Rostow added a new appendix and a new preface in which he argued that the events of the past ten years, the responses to his book, as well as the expansion of knowledge about the past had vindicated his conceptual framework. See Walt Whitman Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971]. See also the third edition, which appeared in the context of the end of the Cold War. Walt Whitman Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1990].

18. Richard A. Melanson, Writing History and Making Policy: The Cold War, Vietnam and Revisionism [New York: University Press of America, 1983]. pp. 41-42. See Walt Whitman Rostow, "Counterinsurgency As Insurance For Freedom: Address to the Graduating Class at the U.S. Army Special Warfare School" (Fort Bragg, June, 1961) in Ralph A. Austen, ed., Modern Imperialism: Western Overseas Expansion and Its Aftermath, 1776-1965 [Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1969]. pp. 165-170.

19. For example Harvey Perloff, a former US official, characterized the Alliance as a "truly magnificent concept" which was "carried out in a half-hearted way with a weak, underfinanced, and poorly designed mechanism". Harvey S. Perloff, Alliance for Progress: A Social Invention in the Making [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969]. p. ix. Also see Herbert K. May, Problems and Prospects of the Alliance for Progress: A Critical Examination [New York: Praeger, 1968]. Robert J. Alexander, Today's Latin America [Garden City: Anchor Books, second revised edition, 1968; first published 1962]. Jerome Levinson and Juan de Onis, The Alliance that Lost Its Way: A Critical Report on the Alliance for Progress [Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1970]. George C. Lodge, Engines of Change: United States Interests and Revolution in Latin America [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970]. Jerome I. Levinson, "After the Alliance for Progress: Implications for Inter-American Relations" in Douglas A. Chalmers, ed., Changing Latin America: New Interpretations of Its Politics and Society [New York: Academy of Political Science, Columbia University, 1972]. Federico Gil, Latin American-United States Relations [New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1971]. pp. 238-250, 267-281. Martin C. Needler, The United States and the Latin American Revolution [Berkeley: University of California Press, revised edition, 1977; first published 1972]. pp. 53-54, 112.

20. The existence of "pervasive, serious and persistent misunderstanding" between Latin America and the US was central to Milton Eisenhower's well-known book, which was first published in the early 1960s. See Milton S. Eisenhower, The Wine is Bitter: The United States and Latin America [Garden City: Doubleday, 1963]. pp. 6, 45. More recently, Robert Pastor has argued that the reason for friction between Nicaragua and the US in the 1980s was rooted in culture, ideology and psychology. He argued that these non-structural differences could be overcome, and the US could still be a basically positive force in the region without a fundamental altering of the character of political and economic development in Central America or the terms of the region's relations with the United States. Pastor argued that the "mistrust" between Washington and its "friends"--which was the result of "different histories", attitudes and "interests"--had "undermined their common objectives". In particular, Pastor concluded that the "roots" of the Nicaraguan revolution's "radicalization" could be found in the "minds" of both the Washington policy-makers and the Sandinistas, insofar as the "different histories" and "deep suspicions" caused each side to see "defensive actions as provocative ones". In his view Washington and Managua each formulated policies, based on different "psychological baggage", that "consistently evoked the worst in the other". Robert A. Pastor, Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987]. pp. xi., 6-7, 14-15.

21. Mark T. Berger, Under Northern Eyes: Latin American Studies and U.S. Hegemony in the Americas 1898-1990 [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]. pp. 88-89.

[22]. For example, in 1978, the Harvard Latin American specialist Jorge I. Dommnguez lamented that the "state" of the professional literature on inter-American relations was "not well", and "for the purposes of facilitating the study of national public or private policies toward international affairs", the "degree of scholarly consensus" was "grossly insufficient". Jorge I. Dominguez, "Consensus and Divergence: The State of the Literature on Inter-American Relations in the 1970s" Latin American Research Review vol. 13. no. 1. 1978. p. 113.

[22]. Dependency theory's demise can also be traced to its failure as revolutionary prophecy and the end of the US war in Southeast Asia. The rise of the Newly Industrializing Countries in Latin America (Mexico and Brazil), and East Asia (South Korea and Taiwan), and the rise of OPEC, also helped to undermine the subordinate image of Third World nations, and contributed to the fading of radical dependency theory's luster. By the late 1970s, the North American and Western European emphasis on the corruption and authoritarianism of many 'Third World' governments helped to shift the burden of explanation for underdevelopment back onto the elites and states of Latin America and beyond. There are innumerable efforts to generate a taxonomy of radical development theories. For example Petras and Morley distinguish between at least four strands of radical development theory which built on classical dependency theory: the state and class approach (with which Morley and Petras identify), the modes of production approach, world-system theory and neo-dependency theory. James Petras and Morris Morley, US Hegemony Under Siege: Class, Politics and Development in Latin America [London: Verso, 1990]. pp. 31, 34-35, 40. Also see Mark T. Berger, Under Northern Eyes: Latin American Studies and U.S. Hegemony in the Americas 1898-1960 [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]. pp. 106-121, 193-198.

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Citation: Mark T. Berger. Review of Park, James William, Latin American Underdevelopment: A History of Perspectives in the United States, 1870-1965. H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews. December, 1995.

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