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International Socialism, Spring 1965


David Breen

Forever Backward


From International Socialism (1st series), No.20, Spring 1965, p.30.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Migration of British Capital to 1875
Leland H. Jenks
Nelson, 42s.

The Third World
Peter Worsley
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 36s.

Economic Development
John Kenneth Galbraith
OUP for Harvard, 12s 6d.

Foreign Aid and Foreign Policy
Herbert Feis
Macmillan, 30s.

The Challenge of Modernisation
I.R. Sinai
Chatto & Windus, 25s.

Of the five books under review, Jenks’ is already – and deserves to be – a classic. It deals with the mechanisms which enabled half-a-billion pounds to flow out of Britain in the sixty years following the Napoleonic wars; who sent the money, how and to what effect. Leninistically speaking it should never have been written since it is about the systematic export of capital before the system itself was invented or necessary. However, any student of international economic relations can only be glad it was written and as glad that this reprint has made it generally available.

The other four are, each in its way, sermons. Peter Worsley takes us, by way of the unifying experience of Imperialism and anti-Imperialism and the resultant populist attitudes held throughout the Third World, to an agnosticism towards one-party rule, an ardent support of ‘Pan’ and Federal movements and an enthusiasm for the United Nations. He seems never to have heard of the material constraints on policy while his ‘Golden Bough’ approach to analysis is as unsatisfactory as his advocacies. Galbraith, urbane as always, deals with some of the commonplaces of economic growth in backward countries. His is a clear statement of the current liberal view which takes its vision of society from the exigencies of growth in a Cold War context (rather than its advocacy of economic growth from a vision of society). Feis’ is a nasty work in which scholarship – the author was once of some academic eminence – is made to serve the detailed interests of the US State Department. Chapters 10, 11, and 12 are headed: What to Ask of Recipients of Aid, What Else to Ask of Recipients of Aid and What Else to Ask of Recipients: Tolerable Posture in the Cold War. And then there is

Sinai who believes that Western Civilisation is good and that if backward countries don’t adopt it in detail they are bad. He concludes that they are bad.

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