ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Sharing the Burden


Editorial from Volume XI, Nos 43 & 44, October 24, 1959.

It is a measure of the change in the economic position of the US relative to the industrial nations of Western Europe that America should openly protest against the burden of foreign assistance that it is asked to bear. As noticed elsewhere in this issue, the US Government has, while enunciating the new policy to be followed by the Development Loan Fund programme, changed its position as an indication to the Western European countries that they ought to do more in the form of financing development than they have so far done. There is a certain amount of resentment at the tendency of the richer nations outside America to continue to behave as if the building up of dollar surpluses was the only thing that mattered. And this is particularly displeasing to the United States when its balance of payments position is none too good.

The Americans have enough reason to feel sore at the moment. For a country which has for long had no doubt about its military and economic leadership, it is hard to accept with equanimity the Soviet superiority in the outer space and the deterioration in the strength of the dollar in the international market. The position becomes more difficult when the desire to surpass the Soviet Union in the military field conflicts with the desire to strengthen the international position of the dollar by curbing unproductive expenditure and enhancing the competitive strength of the country. True, the dollar is still a long way off from becoming a soft currency. But it is no longer the only or even the principal hard currency, the quest for which constitutes a major element in the economic policies of other countries. This is for a proud nation rather hard to swallow, especially when the growth in the relative strength of the competitors is in no small measure the consequence of American largesse.

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