Courtesy Reuters

Hemisphere Solidarity

Some Economic and Strategic Considerations

FOR a century or more any thought which this country has felt like giving to Latin America as a whole has been cast in a rather stereotyped mold. A considerable degree of homogeneity was assumed. It did not, in fact, exist. Diversities in economic and social conditions and in political and cultural ideologies divided the individual countries from each other and from the United States. But they were concealed under a superficial mantle of the republican form of government common to all, and remained largely unnoticed. And not merely was it always repeated that the New World, with the exception of Canada, was united in its abhorrence for the rule of monarchs. It was stressed that the principle of non-intervention by Europe, proclaimed in the Monroe Doctrine, was generally accepted.

This is not to say that underneath the ideological and political conception of solidarity there did not lie a substratum of economic reality. The Monroe Doctrine was born and nurtured in the economic conditions peculiar to the nineteenth century. We may remind ourselves that the century between the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War was uniquely favorable to the growth and survival of independent sovereign states in the New World no less than in the Old. The far-flung geographical distribution of the British Empire fixed British policy in terms of freedom of trade and freedom of the seas -- a policy necessary for the growth and development of England as the heart and center of modern industrialism. This was also the international basis for the growth and vigor of the ideas inherent in the Monroe Doctrine.

We must also remind ourselves that the nineteenth century, which enjoyed a seemingly boundless expansion into the frontier areas of the New World, fostered the growth of economic liberalism. By this we mean a scheme of economic coördination based not upon central planning, state interventionism or industrial control of economic life, but rather upon the loose coördination and coöperation of individual

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