Strategic Philanthropy: The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in Latin America and the Origins of American Global Reform
Kelly, Stephanie M
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This dissertation examines the role of two of the most influential private U.S. foundations operating in Latin America during the post- World War II years, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The activities of these two foundations in Latin America are situated within a much broader global reform agenda promoted by the United States government that sought to modernize underdeveloped countries and integrate these economies into a global capitalist economic system led by the United States. Latin America would be the first regional testing ground for this agenda and, it was hoped, a model for reform in other regions of the world. The study focuses on the period between 1950 and 1975, when ideas about social and economic development drew upon a vast array of new social science literature and research that suggested the United Sates could direct the process of development in countries around the globe and prevent the instability inherent in the modernization process. It also examines the role of the foundations as private partners in this global mission and highlights the close collaborative efforts between the United States government and private actors in pursuit of foreign policy goals. The core of the analysis centers around foundation projects in university reform, building the social sciences, modernizing agriculture and controlling population growth and looks at the interplay between foundation officials and the Latin American elites with whom they collaborated. The outcomes of reform projects promoted by the foundations in Latin America were often determined by this interplay. Finally, the dissertation examines the long term significance of these projects initiated in the post war years in light of accelerating globalization and continued global instability.