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Global DevelopmentA Cold War History$
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Sara Lorenzini

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180151.001.0001

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The Limits of Bipolarity in the Golden Age of Modernization

The Limits of Bipolarity in the Golden Age of Modernization

(p.68) 5 The Limits of Bipolarity in the Golden Age of Modernization
Global Development

Sara Lorenzini

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the differentiated priorities in the West and East as they emerged during the institutionalization of development structures and procedures. In the 1950s, with the Soviet Union and its allies entering the development business, aid became a full-fledged weapon in the Cold War arsenal. Development plans extolled the virtues of modernity and modernity was conceived in the singular: there were several ways to solve the same problem, and experts had differentiated approaches, but they did not diverge drastically. With the entry of the Soviet Union as a potential donor rather than a distant model, development turned competitive. Models were now pitted against one another in a competition about effectiveness and symbolic strength. Technology was not neutral anymore. Machinery and dams were products of a culture, and the choice of technology implied a choice of social organization, labor relations, and structures of production: it was a political choice. Countries had to take sides in the Cold War, because the decision was a final and irreversible one between irreconcilable proposals. The chapter then focuses on the organs charged with coordinating aid: the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Permanent Commission for Technical Assistance of Comecon.

Keywords:   development institutions, Soviet Union, development aid, Cold War, modernity, technology, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Development Assistance Committee

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