DEMOCRACY SPEAKS MANY TONGUES by Richard W. Poston

DEMOCRACY SPEAKS MANY TONGUES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Poston, a CARE consultant, spent two years studying American foreign aid in many parts of the world. Guatemala, Colombia, India, the Philippines, Iran, Pakistan, Greece are primarily singled out in this discussion of what he has observed. His message is that of the meaning, nature, and importance of a sequence of events called community development, a process by which grassroots institutions are cultivated to establish a firm foundation of local democracy under whatever superstructure may then be erected, in terms of public works or other physical amenities. He names names and specifies activities of numerous Americans who deserve credit for successful missions fruitfully carried out. But there is a sting in the tail of his evaluation of most projects in the official repertory of foreign aid. He cites chronic obstructionism at the policy level of ICA (so far, not radically altered under its successor, AID), and he fixes responsibility for ICA's myople attitude toward community development on ""specialists (who) work on their respective projects as separately and independently from each other as possible so that (each's) particular project will stand out"". Gently, he hints that the popular American emphasis on splinter specialization creates a nearly unsurmountable mental set in Washington, but he warns that those who go abroad to administer American generosity must learn the un realism of competing with each other, when, in his view, it is only careful cooperation which would make things work, reflect glory on everyone, and contribute to the extension of freedom in the world.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1962
Publisher: Harper & Row