Looking back to the origins and evolution of foreign aid during the Cold War, David C Engerman invites us to recognise the strategic thinking at the heart of development assistance—as well as the political costs.
In The Price of Aid
, Engerman argues that superpowers turned to foreign aid as a tool of the Cold War. India, the largest of the ex-colonies, stood at the center of American and Soviet aid competition. Officials of both superpowers saw development aid as an instrument for pursuing geopolitics through economic means. But Indian officials had different ideas, seeking superpower aid to advance their own economic visions, thus bringing external resources into domestic debates about India’s economic future. Drawing on an expansive set of documents, many recently declassified, from seven countries, Engerman reconstructs a story of Indian leaders using Cold War competition to win battles at home, but in the process eroding the Indian state.
David C Engerman is Otillie Springer Professor of History at Brandeis University, where he has taught since receiving his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley in 1998. His revised dissertation appeared as Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development (Harvard, 2003). He also edited and introduced a new edition of The God That Failed (Columbia, 2001), and co-edited Staging Growth: Modernization, Development, and the Global Cold War (Massachusetts, 2003). Named the Stuart Bernath Lecturer by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for 2006, his lecture, “American Knowledge and Global Power,” then appeared in Diplomatic History; other articles have appeared in American Historical Review, Cahiers du Monde russe, Journal of Cold War Studies, Kritika, Modern Intellectual History, and the Cambridge History of the Cold War (Cambridge, 2009) and World War II (Cambridge, 2015). His second book, Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts (Oxford, 2009), examined Russian/Soviet Studies in America since 1940. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from ACLS, NCEEER, NEH, and the Guggenheim Foundation.