Rostow, Kennedy, and the Rhetoric of Foreign Aid

Overview

Rostow, Kennedy, and the Rhetoric of Foreign Aid is the first comprehensive, critical analysis of the influence of economic historian Walt Whitman Rostow's theory of the "stages of economic growth" on U.S. foreign aid policy during the 1950s and 1960s. Kimber Charles Pearce analyzes Rostow's rhetorical approaches to producing and promoting his modernization theory to U.S. policymakers during the Cold War, as a template for development aid programs designed to contain Soviet expansionism around the world. Drawing ...

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Overview

Rostow, Kennedy, and the Rhetoric of Foreign Aid is the first comprehensive, critical analysis of the influence of economic historian Walt Whitman Rostow's theory of the "stages of economic growth" on U.S. foreign aid policy during the 1950s and 1960s. Kimber Charles Pearce analyzes Rostow's rhetorical approaches to producing and promoting his modernization theory to U.S. policymakers during the Cold War, as a template for development aid programs designed to contain Soviet expansionism around the world. Drawing upon Rostow's writings, public speeches, congressional testimony, personal interviews, and recently declassified documents, Pearce examines the economist's protracted campaign to convince policy makers to apply his theory of economic growth to the development aid initiatives of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. The analysis culminates in a case study of Rostow's influence on the planning, advocacy, and implementation of President Kennedy's Alliance for Progress to develop Latin America.
     Pearce demonstrates how Rostow's dual role as a leading architect of U.S. development aid programs and U.S. military escalation in South Vietnam made him a key figure, both in the history of developmental economic theory and in U.S. diplomacy during the Cold War. He argues that Rostow's role in economic diplomacy epitomized the social scientific turn toward argumentation and advocacy that occurred in the United States after World War II. Using methods of rhetorical analysis, Pearce offers new insights into how Rostovian theory was translated into political language by members of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations, and how Rostow's themes of nation-building, fiscal interdependency, and macro-management of the global economy have become commonplaces of post-Cold War policy discourse. By illuminating relations of social scientific research, foreign policy advocacy, and political power in the context of U.S. economic diplomacy during the Cold War, Rostow, Kennedy, and the Rhetoric of Foreign Aid makes a significant contribution to the study of the rhetoric of economics and American diplomatic history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870135781
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2001
  • Series: Rhetoric & Public Affairs Series
  • Pages: 173
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimber Charles Pearce is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Communication Certificate Program at Saint Anselm College.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction : Rostow, the Policy Sciences, and Modernization Theory: The Rhetoric of Inquiry and Critical Methodology 1
Ch. 1 From the Academy to the White House: Rostow, Foreign Aid, and Social Scientific Advocacy 11
Ch. 2 Theory, Countertheory, and Rostow's Pursuit of Academic Novelty: The Process of Economic Growth 29
Ch. 3 Ideas in Action: A Proposal: Key to an Effective Foreign Policy 49
Ch. 4 Narrative Reason in Rostow's Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto 75
Ch. 5 Advocating the Alliance for Progress: Rostow, Kennedy, and the Rhetoric of Peaceful Revolution 87
Ch. 6 From Punta Del Este and Back: The Alliance Fades 103
Conclusion 117
Endnotes 123
Bibliography 149
Index 165
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