This book is a revised edition of a work first published in 1954. Parts I-III of the new edition are carried forward intact from the earlier work. Part IV, however, is new and reflects an attempt to bring the entire work up to date.

In Parts I-III Staley appraises the motivations for economic development from the points of view of the underdeveloped countries, the United States, and the world community. He then contrasts the Communist path to development with the democratic alternative. A basic proposition, which he develops and emphasizes, is that improvements in the standard of living in underdeveloped countries will not necessarily lead to democracy, peace, and all other good things. In the wake of this proposition, Staley stresses the need for massive social and political readjustment as a prelude or accompaniment of economic progress.

In Part IV, consisting of three chapters that form the new portion of the revised edition, Staley examines changes in the world environment and in American policy since 1953, and suggests that this country’s policy relative to the underdeveloped world should be recast in a much broader framework.

In the first of his new chapters, treating changes in the world environment since 1953, Staley notes that the revolution of rising expectations has spread more rapidly than he had foreseen at the time he prepared his earlier edition. He next identifies particular events that he feels had an important bearing upon the course of economic development: the rapid demise of colonialism, the rise of the Sino-Soviet economic offensive, and the economic recovery of Western Europe and Japan. He concludes that some progress was made toward an improvement in the living conditions within the poorer countries, but that this rate of improvement was “dangerously too slow.”

In the second of his new chapters, Staley shows himself as highly critical of the development of American policy during the Eisenhower Administration. He feels that this country’s aid program lost some of its vitality because of dependence on an essentially negative goal: to check the spread of Communism. He calls for a new initiative that emphasizes human progress as being worthwhile in itself. In order to dramatize this positive approach he suggests that development aid be separated from military aid, and that this country seek to increase the continuity and magnitude of its assistance effort.

In the third of his new chapters, Staley focuses directly on policy. His main suggestion is that greater emphasis be placed on the multilateral approach to developmental assistance. While he recognizes the continuing need for bilateral assistance programs, he contends that bilateral aid should be increasingly coordinated through consultation with the United Nations and with regional agencies. In addition to the traditional arguments, he argues that there is need for greater emphasis upon the multilateral approach in order to stimulate “a sense of world community and increase the effectiveness of international institutions.” As an instrument of implementation for his world development program, Staley suggests the establishment of a World Development Authority, to lead and coordinate the existing national and international programs.

Staley’s central “message” in this new edition is that the challenge of underdevelopment and its associated problems, warrants resort to a new and more positive approach. While he offers guidelines for this new approach, these are broad and inspirational in quality, not in the nature of the specifics of a concrete plan for action.