Courtesy Reuters

Nationalism and Regionalism in South America

AS THE war proceeds we can discern three major trends in the economic development of South America. The first is an increase in nationalism. Each republic desires to achieve a larger measure of self-sufficiency and thus free itself from what it feels is a "colonial status," symbolized by its dependence upon foreign markets and sources of supply. The second is regionalism. There is a tendency on the part of certain of the republics to draw together to form larger economic areas -- which, of course, represents the abandonment of certain aspects of economic nationalism. The third is the "economic mobilization" of the Hemisphere. The United States is attempting, within the framework established by the Rio Conference, to harness the resources of the Americas to the war effort of the United Nations.

The three trends, of course, interact. Thus the mobilization of resources just mentioned can accelerate or retard the development of nationalism and regionalism. Our policy-makers, both now and after the war, should therefore appreciate the significance of these two movements in recent South American history. The Good Neighbor policy of the Roosevelt Administration has been built upon a foundation of scrupulous non-intervention in the political sphere and an open purse in the economic. It has undoubtedly served a historic purpose in banishing, temporarily at least, the specter of imperialism, from the minds of all the American republics. That it will survive in its original form, however, is doubtful, for the war and its aftermath will pose problems in inter-American relations which cannot be solved merely by benevolent political intentions and a willingness to loan money. The Good Neighbor policy will have to be adapted to the economic aspirations of the peoples involved.


Of all the continents South America is physically the farthest removed from the main battlefields of this war. From the very beginning, however, the war has gravely affected it. The outbreak of hostilities in Europe and especially the defeat of France came as stunning blows, not only

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