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Daly, R.W. (1969). The Conflicted Relationship: The West and the Transformation of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Theodore Geiger. New York: McGraw-Hill1967. xiv + 303 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 56C(3):481-482.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Review, 56C(3):481-482

The Conflicted Relationship: The West and the Transformation of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Theodore Geiger. New York: McGraw-Hill1967. xiv + 303 pp.

Review by:
Robert W. Daly

Economist Theodore Geiger, an experienced observer of American aid programs in foreign countries, has produced a work which has as its central purpose “to convey some notion of what is involved in trying to understand … the complexities and uncertainties of the social processes now occurring in Asia, Africa and Latin American countries. …” In addition, he has attempted to discern “the ambivalences inherent in the nature of the relationships of these countries with the United States” (p. 285). Though addressed most specifically to American government officials, Dr. Geiger's book is required reading for all those who believe that nations-particularly the United States-must soon come to know how to practice peace, or be fated to die of ignorance.

After introducing the fact that American aid and development programs in “underdeveloped” countries usually fail to achieve the various goals for which they are designed, Geiger notes that while the West (read U.S.A.) may be expected to promote its rational interests (italics added), i.e., economic and political security and the military defense of same, “such rational interests alone cannot account for the fervor and persistence with which the United States has been conducting its relationships with Asia, Africa and Latin America …” (p. 14). What does account for the fact that the Americans continually pursue these programs is an array of widely shared beliefs and dispositions-both conscious and unconscious-which issue from the redemptive religions of the West, the material successes wrought through science and technology, and the fortuitous history of American national development. This inheritance has resulted in a belief in the power of knowledge, a will to action in altering natural and social conditions, and a secularized sense of superiority, guilt and mission with respect to less-advanced nations.


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