Iraq and the Pathologies of Primacy
The Flawed Logic That Produced the War Is Alive and Well
What are programs of economic assistance for? After a dozen years of them, the question still has to be asked. Otherwise how can their effectiveness be judged? Clearly, there is no consensus. For some they are tools to stop Communism, for others to propagate Western ideas, for still others to defend Western interests. All these factors certainly enter in but they do not explain why or how such programs can have these effects. In fact, as critics are quick to point out, some assistance programs do not. Countries can swallow aid like blotting paper and at the end of the process are no more pro-Western, anti-Communist or secure and stable than they were at the start.
Here, however, may be the beginnings of an answer. The most fundamental of all Western-and, indeed, of all human-interests is the preservation of peace. Communism is a danger primarily because it is aggressive and expansive. When it is not-as in Jugoslavia or Poland-it can be lived with. But profound internal instability in the modern world is a danger to peace. States in the grip of ferment and disorder tend to become-as Cuba has done- a point of polarization in the cold war between East and West. They recreate the risk of conflict which was inherent in Balkan instability before 1914, the risk that rival power systems will seek to flow into any vacuum brought about by local collapse and, in the process, will collide with each other in fatal conflict.
In this large context of peace and war, the fundamental aim of economic assistance is, therefore, to build up stability in unstable states. This cannot be done by piecemeal patching up, by casual subsidies and handouts. The most successful of all programs of economic aid so far-the Marshall Plan-clearly illustrates the need for change in depth. If the nations of Western Europe had simply been restored to where they were before the Second World War, they would inevitably have repeated yet again their melancholy inter-war cycle of economic isolationism and national rivalry. It was America's insistence upon a joint solution of their problems that opened the era of technical modernization, supra-nationalism and interdependence. What has saved Europe has been not the reconstruction of the old order but the bold projection of a new.
The same vision and daring are needed in the infinitely more complex pursuit of stability among the extra-European peoples. We live in an age of maximum instability. Its general driving force is the modification of all techniques and institutions by reason, science and technology. But the particular context of our day has been formed by two hundred years of history during which the nations around the North Atlantic Ocean made the first transition to the wealth and power locked up in modern technology, and used their dominance to establish colonial control or economic dependence among the pre-technical societies elsewhere. This era is ending as the last of the colonies receives political independence. But its economic and social inheritance is still intact; it is also essentially unstable. Most of the new states emerging from the old tutelage lack inner coherence. And the general economic relationships between them and the developed states do not work well and threaten to grow worse.
Action, therefore, is needed at two levels-to complete the modernization of the local economies and to devise a world system that fosters the necessary change. The starting point is, obviously, the post-colonial inheritance as it stands today. One should be wary of generalizations. Nations as various as India and Mexico on the threshold of full modernization, or Chad and Niger barely emerging from nomadic life, tend to be lumped together as "underdeveloped" and "developing." Development policies, to be effective, have to be based not on generalities but on detailed analysis of the community which is to be aided. The West's increasing acceptance of the need for "country plans" is a fruitful recognition of how specific the problems of development are likely to be.
Yet one can discern a broad pattern of "semi-modernization." In the last 150 years, the modernized states of the North Atlantic have broken up the static stability of traditional society-in Asia, in Africa, in feudal South America. They came in to search for raw materials-minerals, rubber, coffee, tea-and established small modernized export sectors. To these they attached their "infrastructure" of roads, railways and great coastal cities through which the materials flowed out to the West-and Western manufactures flowed back.
This Western incursion did not stimulate or provide much local saving. Mines and plantations were often foreign-owned. Even when peasant farmers or local magnates produced the materials, most peasants quickly spent their earnings on Western consumer goods, while many magnates banked their profits abroad. As a result, little capital flowed back into the local economy-and without capital there is no growth, save in the single category of population. Food production remained unimproved. Industry did not develop. Such enclaves of industrial activity as Bombay state or Minaes Geraes led to no larger developments. Revenue did not rise. Governments therefore could not afford expensive yet crucial services such as wider education. Only a small élite received some modern instruction-through the missionaries or the private enterprise of wealthy parents. Yet even so small a breach in the old stability undermined it. With the new goods came new ideas-sovereignty, nationalism, above all, equality between nations, equality within the state.
Nor was this ferment simply a factor of internal change. As the twentieth century advanced, profound political and economic changes in the world increased the tension. Anti-colonial agitation spread; Communist propaganda fanned it. The West endured a shattering slump. Export prices of primary products remained profoundly depressed and investment fell. Worse than that, the Atlantic world showed signs of shifting, by way of synthetics and substitutes, to a state of providing a permanently smaller stimulus to the less developed economies.
Such, then, is the anatomy of semi-modernization. Developed export sectors, the infrastructure they require, the beginnings of modern education-all these set in motion a passionate ferment through the vision they give of a wider and more commodious life. But the stark daily realities are of poverty, illiteracy, stagnant agriculture, marginal industry and a world economic system which offers no way out of the impasse. There is enough change to excite the desire for more, not enough to create it. And if anyone underestimates the instability bred in such communities, it is salutary to remember that Communism made its European and Asian breakthroughs in two countries-Russia and China-where, in spite of a profound and secular culture, there had appeared many of the characteristics of semi-modernization-export sectors greatly dependent on foreign capital, only the beginnings of industry, a stagnant countryside, education mainly for the élite, an intelligentsia torn between the desire for modernity and despair at the obstacles in its way. Nor, for all its urbanization and sophistication, was Batista's Cuba lacking in these characteristics of partial and discordant modernity.
Communism can be seen in this context to be not the culmination of the modern revolution based on capital and technology but rather a phenomenon of an early stage in the process. The Atlantic world has passed far beyond its blocks and frustrations. But the emerging continents today are nearer to Russia in 1914 than to the United States or the Common Market in 1962.
The essential task of economic assistance is, therefore, to correct and complete the old lopsided structure. Within the developing countries, it is a question of extending the colonial infrastructure, expanding education beyond a small élite, raising savings and channeling them into dynamic farming and growing industry where more savings can be secured by higher productivity. Thus the cycle of sustained growth can be set in motion. At the international level, the task is above all to restore a worldwide economy which stimulates and does not depress the possibilities of local development.
These are statements of high generality. Fortunately, in the last ten years, governments have begun to learn to fill in some of the details. The starting point is a progressive attempt to increase the flow of domestic capital. By general agreement it must rise to at least 15 percent of national income if sustained growth is to be secured. Such an increase does not happen easily or naturally in post-colonial economies. A strategy of saving must be worked out. Hence the new importance placed on the formulation of country plans. Ten years ago, most plans were no more than the shopping lists of government departments. Today, their aim is at the very least to give a full picture of the economy, to lay down the forms of investment most likely to accelerate growth and to devise a financial strategy for raising the necessary capital and channeling it into the right enterprises. The sophistication of these plans varies, naturally, with the scale of information and the reliability of statistical sources. Some countries-the Ivory Coast, for instance-have to be content at this stage to extrapolate plans from small sample surveys of typical regions. At the other end of the scale, such plans as India's Third Plan are based upon all the data of a modern state.
At the core of the plan is the government's strategy for saving. The aim, in every country, is to keep resources rising in balance with a more ambitious scale of spending. It is a tricky balance. Slam on taxes and forced savings too violently and there are, as in Ghana and British Guiana, strikes and riots and immense discouragement to private and foreign investors. Proceed too cautiously and inflation takes over, as in Brazil. There are no general rules for either the techniques or the scale of saving. But one generalization seems permissible. Governments can hardly be said to be seriously bent on development unless they are willing to raise the level of taxation to some 20 percent of national income. The figure is not impossibly high. Typical Asian landlord-usurers took 50 percent and more of the peasant's crop and charged him several hundred percent on his loans. It is simply that governments are not used to taxing, nor the rich to being taxed. It is, however, also true that a relatively high level of taxation can discourage investment if the plan relies to any extent-as most do-on local and particularly on foreign private enterprise. To this difficulty we shall have to return.
Where should the new resources go? To infrastructure, clearly-to fill in the gaps of the old pattern geared only to exports; and it is perhaps relevant to note that most developing governments underestimate the need for power and transport once growth begins in earnest. India's bottlenecks in its Third Plan are largely due to this. Yet the "infrastructure" of trained minds is even more important than railways or transmission lines. And in this vital field of education, it is very easy to get the balance wrong. Western and Eastern Nigeria have learned what happens if primary education is made very nearly universal before rural life has been improved enough to attract the school-leavers, or urban employment expanded to absorb them as they stream into the cities.
For this reason a new emphasis is appearing on the need to plan investment in manpower in such a way that it fits into the general pattern of investment in the economy. The Ashby Report for Nigeria is the first model of an attempt to produce trained minds and match them with the opportunities that will be available. Manpower budgeting is certainly to be increasingly used in planning for development, the more so since education should not be understood narrowly. In the broadest sense of training, it is essential to the two key sectors in all strategies of development- modernized agriculture and growing industry.
Undoubtedly static farming is the toughest obstacle to overcome. If export crops are to be produced at decreasing cost and food production is to begin to expand adequately, the farmer's thinking has to be changed; yet his environment does not change. On land he and his fathers have cultivated for generations as shifting African cultivators or depressed and indebted tenants, he has to learn to use fertilizer, better seed, more efficient tools, better techniques of planting. Only the most intensive farm extension services are likely to make an impact on his mind, and their effectiveness is in any case determined by two further conditions: Are they themselves well organized? And are the basic structures of land tenure such that the farmer has any real inducement to change?
It is not often, at present, that both conditions are fulfilled. The order, the planning, the sheer business efficiency that go, say, into the building of a dam abruptly vanish when it is a question of the water the dam provides. Peasant settlements are not ready, plans for land use do not exist, and where there are villages established, better seed is left out in the rain and fertilizers arrive when the crops are half grown. In Pakistan, the government hopes to improve the efficiency of its agricultural services by setting up a new statutory body, an Agricultural Corporation, with direct responsibility to get supply lines clear down to the villages. In India, "special project areas" are being tried to secure a concentration of efficient effort. Without a breakthrough here, the farmer will not change.
Nor will he if he stands to gain no material benefits by the change. For this, he requires a rather larger scale of operation and freedom from too many middlemen. Where, as in large parts of Africa and east of the Andes, land is available, the need is for new land settlements combining, as in Western Nigeria or the cotton estates of Sudan's Gezira, individual ownership with general managerial supervision and a coöperative structure. But where no more land can be opened up, there is no alternative to drastic land reform, establishing the peasant as owner on the land he has formerly tilled as sharecropper or tenant, and backing him with a full coöperative apparatus. Japan, with its intensive farming and developing coöperatives, is the model here.
The farmer produced by these reforms not only provides enough surplus food for the cities; he can also afford to buy the products the cities begin to manufacture. This is the essential link between modernized agriculture and growth in every other sector. All through the developing world today, agriculture is tending to lose its Cinderella status and to become the first preoccupation of governments and planners. Yet this sensible shift of emphasis does not make industrialization any less essential. All developing countries need to break from their total dependence on primary exports. All are, by definition, under-industrialized. The problem is to pick the right types of activity., Preliminary surveys such as the short, brilliant study undertaken for the Gold Coast (now Ghana) by Dr. Arthur Lewis in 1954 can usually indicate where the processing of local materials and import- substitution-the "beer, boots and bricks" stage-can most usefully begin. The possibilities are as diverse as the resources that are available locally. In fact, only one generalization is possible. The universal test for all enterprise, public or private, must be its ability to operate at a profit. No doubt pioneer industries need reasonable tariff protection and other forms of government support to offset inexperience and the lack of an industrial environment. There is little hope of building up an internal market in depth without such assistance. But profits must be made or the melancholy process of disinvestment sets in. It is not enough to plan to build an industry. There must be a formal check on subsequent performance.
Profits imply above all a managerial competence and it is at this point that government planners tend to be most interested in the possibilities of investment by foreign firms. True, the capital they bring in is indispensable since virtually all developing countries have balance-of- payments problems and not one can hope to finance out of its own export income the foreign-exchange element in its plans for development. But even more dire than the scarcity of capital is the lack of industrial skills at every level, especially at the crucial level of management. The period of extreme dependence on outside skills can, however, be drastically shortened if the foreign firms are prepared to undertake imaginative programs of training. Such schemes undoubtedly increase the acceptability of foreign enterprise.
Yet there is an unsolved dilemma here. Massive foreign investment may hasten development; equally, however, local nationalist resentment will grow if a large part of the new industrial sector emerges-as it did in Cuba and could in Nigeria-under foreign control of one kind or another. A number of compromises are being explored-joint ventures, management contracts, local government participation, agreed schedules for the transfer of shares to local investors. But the difficulties remain-between local desire for a measure of control and foreign distrust of local intervention, particularly by government.
There is no escaping the problem. Foreign capital is an essential element in all industrialization since under-industrialized countries lack, by definition, the tools and machines for growth. And at this point, we begin to confront the developing nations' critical shortages of foreign exchange and the need to build a world-wide economic system which fosters growth in the developing world and does not tend, in its casual, unplanned way, to inhibit development.
Today, such a system does not exist. The workings of the world economy do not at present naturally provide sufficient access to the currencies of the developed, industrialized West. Western investment has always tended to go to other developed lands. The trend has not changed. If investment in oil is subtracted, the flow of private capital remains quite inadequate. When government grants and loans of all kinds are added, the flow today may reach between $7.8 and $8.7 billion a year-the O.E.C.D. figure. Yet, according to United Nations estimates, if over a billion developing peoples are to stay ahead of their exploding population and increase their rate of growth from 2 or 3 percent to 5 or 6 percent a year, capital coming in from outside should amount annually to some $10 to $12 billion. These are only broad orders of magnitude. The real gaps can be measured only plan by plan. But no one denies the gap. Nor does anyone maintain that the developing nations themselves, by increasing their trade with developing countries, can fill in the gap themselves.
Here the current system works wholly against them. The golden days for development in the last decade have had little to do with aid. They were sparked by the boom in world commodity prices after the Korean war. Then such lands as India and Nigeria financed their entire developmental expenditure. Today no poor nation can do so. The reason is not simply that the plans are bigger. In country after country in the last five years, the effect of economic aid has been very largely nullified by the steady fall in what the nations could earn by their primary exports and as steady a rise in the price of manufactures they import.
Nor is it simply a matter of unfavorable price levels. There is hardly a facet of Western trading policy that does not entail some disadvantage to the developing nations. The relative share of Atlantic income spent on raw materials produced elsewhere is still declining. A developing nation's first alternatives to primary exports-cheap textiles and semi-processed goods-are limited by Western quotas and differential tariffs. In some countries, such tropical products as coffee and tea have to pay internal duties as well. The picture is one of universal discouragement.
To counter this contraction, the United Nations seeks a ten-point recovery in primary prices and a 2 percent growth in the poorer nations' share of the world market-conditions they enjoyed in the 1950s. The aims are modest enough but the means of achieving them are more complex. One possibility lies in securing world-wide commodity agreements which fix prices and export quotas. Another aims at maintaining income by giving primary producers more generous drawing rights on the International Monetary Fund. There are suggestions that the developed nations should take off all internal taxes on tropical products and permit "one-way free trade" in them. They might also "vacate" certain fields-some kinds of cheap textiles, for instance, or competitive products such as soya bean or beet sugar-in favor of increased imports. In short, policies are available. What is unsure is the political will to adopt them.
With this question of the will to bring about the needed changes, we reach the tough political core of the assistance effort. At least three-quarters of the processes of modernization can be accomplished only by the recipients themselves. Yet bitter experience in the last ten years has shown that some kinds of society can do nothing with aid but waste it. When presidents fly in by air pink Italian marble for their bathrooms, when aid dollars turn up in discreet private accounts in Swiss banks, what is to be done?
In theory, the path is clear. No government is worth supporting unless it is prepared to undertake the two or three key policies needed to set growth in motion. But in practice such governments often do not appear or cannot be coaxed into activity. After a century of Western control or at least predominant influence, nearly all developing governments react strongly, even violently, against attempts at direct Western political guidance. It represents precisely the tutelage from which they are trying to escape. In some areas, the reaction goes further. It does not take much insight to see that some of the necessary steps toward modernization imply radical social change. Mass education, land reform, wider taxation-all these break up the traditional patterns of authority. Can leaders be persuaded to reform themselves out of power? Is it not more likely that they will simply resist all changes in the name, say, of anti-Communism?
These risks vary from continent to continent. Broadly speaking, ex-colonial governments are less conservative and immobile than those which have kept a nominal independence-Iran, for instance, or Thailand or Latin American countries. Colonial societies have tended to go through some kind of social upheaval during the struggle for independence and the new leaders usually represent a more or less clear break with the conservative past. In Asia, it is a supreme piece of good fortune for the West that the Indian sub- continent is largely governed by men who emerged at the time of independence as moderate reformers; it would be little short of tragic if Western irritation over some Indian leaders and some Indian postures in international affairs led to a lessening of sustained support for the Indian Plan under which over one-third of the people in the developing world are being coaxed and prodded towards effective modernization.
In Africa, too, the new leaders have little commitment to a conservative, tribal past. All are eager for modernization, especially for the widest development of education. The most frequent problem is lack of skill and experience, and, next to it, waste. Frenchmen call Africa l'Afrique des princes, and it is astonishing how much savings can be swallowed up by the "personality cult" or disappear into the pockets of ministers who stand at the center of a vortex of grasping tribal kin.
The worst deadlocks seem to arise in Latin America. Many of the rulers remain profoundly conservative-no recent colonial upheaval has widened their ranks. They enjoy friendly links with local American business interests. Neither group is precisely passionate for reform. Moreover, opinion in the United States-especially in Congress-inclines much more to conservative orthodoxy than does opinion in Europe where virtually the entire gamut of political upheaval has been traversed in the last 30 years. If a Modibo Keita in Mali announces the founding of a socialist state and starts excluding Frenchmen from the country's commerce, the French-having drawn realistic conclusions from their catastrophic withdrawal from Guinea- send as ambassador the man who knows most and feels most warmly about Mali to keep tempers sweet, to ensure Mali's continued association with France's franc zone and to let it be known that there is substantial aid to come. Such flexibility is difficult to achieve in America's relations with South America. The politician who makes life more difficult for local businessmen- including Americans-and so inspires Congressmen to reach for their appropriations axe may be the only man ready to break the deadlock of feudal farming and of industry restricted by lack of purchasing power and lack of skills. Leaders like Señor Betancourt who are at once reformers and moderates cannot be conjured up at will. The choice may well lie between reformers verging on left-wing extremism and leaders-often army leaders-all too ready to suppress Communism and every flicker of reform as well.
What can be done? It is at this point that Western governments have to remind themselves of what they are really trying to do-to build viable states capable of coöperating in a viable world order. They have to remember, too, that they are not operating solely in terms of immediate conflicts, failures and successes but are attempting, over time, to produce profound modifications in the social order. To prop up, on any terms, a régime which will neither analyze its economy nor take the crucial steps to set it in motion can do no more than stave off and finally aggravate revolutionary upheaval. The reason why Latin America is more unstable now than it was five years ago has something to do with Fidel Castro. But it has much more to do with five years of declining export prices, general economic stagnation and perhaps 15,000,000 extra mouths to feed.
In some particular situations, subventions may be necessary-to counteract a bad harvest, to maintain a local army or check incipient guerrilla fighting, to tide over a balance-of-payments crisis. But-as the Alliance for Progress attempts to recognize-these grants should have nothing to do with economic assistance. Funds given as foreign aid have to be given within a framework that at least aims at a strategy for growth. Governments with no plans for popular and technical education, with no policy for raising taxes toward the needed 20 percent of national income, with no ardor for land reform, with no general strategy for fostering savings and channeling them into productive investment-such governments are simply incapable of becoming valid partners in a serious effort of economic aid. Generous assistance must wait upon a change of heart and plan. The judgment may seem harsh. But what other way is there of convincing hesitant leaders that the reforms needed for growth, far from being window dressing, are the preconditions of assistance?
The refusal to give aid can, moreover, be somewhat sweetened. If the local government is simply not technically competent to produce an effective plan, it can be given time, temporary financial assistance and the help of planning experts to put a program into shape. Such experts can and should be drawn in part from international agencies and from the country or continent in which the plan is being carried out. Under the Alliance for Progress, "Nine Wise Men"-all Latin Americans-are empowered to check the feasibility of its programs. India has declared that it would be ready to accept a World Bank audit of its use of aid in return for sustained commitments. The U.N. Special Fund has found it possible to lessen local extravagance on the plea that its funds are collected from rich and poor nations alike.
This greater use of local and international expertise is not simply a man?uvre designed to increase political acceptability. Western governments and their experts simply do not yet know the answers to a large number of the problems thrown up by social blocks and inhibitions lying in the way of modernization. If they intervene in dogmatic detail, they not only madden local opinion. They are probably wrong as well. Far closer consultation with local opinion, more joint research work in Western and local universities, more field work by joint teams-all these are needed not as sops to local opinion but as essential guarantees of success.
Yet the most persuasive pressure is likely to come not from the negative side of refusing aid where reform is lacking but from the positive side of aid generously given when conditions are favorable. So far, this "demonstration effect" is missing. If the West seriously intended to coax the laggards along by carrots as well as sticks, the scale of Western commitments to India's Third Plan would not have been allowed to seem certain in 1961 and dubious again in 1962. Nigeria would not be wondering, six months after the publication of a sensible six year plan, whether, in addition to the $250 million pledged by the United States, any more of the $950 million it needs from abroad will in fact be available. Yet the experience of France suggests that aid on a really massive scale has its effects. The $300 million made available each year for some 25 million people in French West Africa have given each local government elbowroom, offered inducements to stern anti-colonialists to keep their links with Paris and preserved a framework of community comfortable enough even to tempt runaways like Sékou Touré. The policy is not cheap. But it cannot be said, so far, to have failed.
The maintenance and extension of generous programs of aid would ease the Western task in yet another way. Among new politicians in ex-colonial lands, among young firebrands in backward, caste-ridden societies, among the rising intelligentsia of the developing continents, the reaction to the West is all too often one of resentment and suspicion. It reflects a recent past in which the "new men" chiefly discern dependence and exploitation. So far, this image has not been effectively dimmed. If, however, the aid programs continue, if pressure for reform is sustained and the officials who administer assistance are not identified with the old order but look intelligently and devotedly toward new relationships, these facts cannot fail to have a vital political impact. In spite of all the cries of "neo- colonialism," the impact is felt already. Less certain is whether it will be maintained long enough-and boldly enough-for the full political harvest to be reaped.
Do the Western powers really intend to develop an imaginative long-term strategy? The evidence seems rather contradictory. True, one can point to a number of promising signs that the Western effort is becoming more accepted and institutionalized. The funds available to the International Monetary Fund and to the World Bank have been doubled and the International Development Authority has been set up to provide less bankable loans. The United States agency for aid has been reorganized to make it more capable of undertaking sustained programs and Congress has given the Administration some latitude in aid-giving on a longer basis. France and Germany have Ministries of Coöperation, Britain a Department of Technical Coöperation. There is also more coördination-with the Alliance for Progress, under the Treaty of Rome with its common European Fund for Development, through the Atlantic-wide Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with its Development Assistance Committee, through the United Nations Decade of Development.
Why, then, should one hesitate? The chief reason for concern is the fact that behind a good deal of governmental rhetoric and some solid governmental spending, the shape of a genuine Western strategy for aid and development remains very hazy. In other words, the second great task of world modernization-to provide a viable international framework for the developing nations-still hangs fire. If one takes three key issues in assistance-manpower, capital and trade-it is still impossible to discern anything like a clear and interrelated structure of policies.
To begin with manpower, development planning implies the availability of development planners. A start has been made in certain universities and international agencies to train them, but they are still so scarce that their lack has become a bottleneck to advance under the Alliance for Progress. There are also few firm plans-apart from France's effort and that of the small but valuable Peace Corps-for providing the massive number of teachers needed to carry out modernization, especially in Africa.
The capital contribution made by the West is difficult to establish. No one has yet agreed on a yardstick to separate aid proper from ordinary commercial lending. But of the Western governments, only France and the United States have certainly fulfilled the aid target of 1 percent of national income. Even including all forms of capital, the annual flow is still too small by between $2 and $3 billion a year. Moreover, unbalanced contributions to foreign aid are one more factor of disequilibrium in the West's balance of payments and could inhibit the most generous of the donors-the United States.
But it is over the issue of trade that one has most completely the sense of a blank in Western strategy. Only in the last year or so has the realization become more general that almost every aspect of Western trade policy discriminates against the developing world, and just as Western minds began to focus on this fact, the debate has become engulfed in the passionate issue of Britain's entry into the Common Market and of the trading relations which might evolve in an eventual Atlantic partnership. Here the division of policy does not lie between the developing and the developed nations. On both sides there are leaders who wish to continue the exclusive, preferential arrangements which tie Western Europe's ex-colonies in Africa to the Common Market. Equally, other governments, rich and poor alike, follow America in seeking to open the fabulous demand of the Six to the trade of all developing nations, keeping Western tariffs to the lowest level-or where possible to zero-encouraging local industrialization and compensating those who lose preferences by means of generous aid and world- wide commodity agreements. In this, there is indeed the outline of a general strategy. But it is not yet clear whether European governments or their partners in Africa are prepared to break with a preferential past.
Behind the delays and tepidities of Western governments lies the indifference or the ignorance of Western electorates. Few voters feel a natural passion for voting themselves into taxes in order to assist foreigners. In Britain, aid is barely discussed. In France, some voters listen to the journalist Raymond Cartier when he demands that aid money be spent not at Dakar but in the Dordogne. And the reactions in the United States Congress betray a gathering impatience which must in some measure reflect the prejudice and muddle of opinion outside.
Given this political context, efforts to persuade and enlighten the electorates of the West have to be intensified. The passage of time has not lessened the force of any of the old arguments. Enlightened self-interest among the trading nations of the West is still involved in any policy which systematically expands the economies and purchasing power of millions who, today, do not enter the market at all. In fact, the argument may now be stronger since, in the Western world, there are signs on all sides that Atlantic demand is near to saturation and new markets and new needs have to be opened up to keep the vast industrial system in trim.
There is equally no change in the argument that the alternatives to assistance are all worse. Aid may not absolutely ensure progress. But there is no "may" and "might" about the unchecked regression of unaided, unreformed economies toward anarchy and collapse. Aid, therefore, in the most literal sense, remains an essential instrument in Western security.
Above all, nothing has modified the argument which should be decisive for peoples who still like to boast of their Christian and humane inheritance and contrast their performance with the evils of "godless Communism." In the last decade, the national income of the Atlantic powers has grown by at least 3 percent a year. In the next decade, it is their declared intention to add to it another $500 billion. During this same period, the people of the poorer countries are barely keeping pace. In some areas, there has been a sharp decline. Given this contrast, no Western nation can plead inability. The issue is quite simply an issue of moral will. One may be forgiven for doubting whether the rich man's professions of idealism or religion have the faintest validity so long as the world's homeless are not sheltered and the hungry are not fed.