The 1960s were dubbed—by the United Nations—as the “development decade,” and Latin America suffered the consequences. A debate then raged between those hawks who advocated the “American way” for all nations and those doves who seemingly took a less dogmatic stand. The two books now under review stand as examples of these positions. But the fact is that, as Albert Hirschman says in another connection, “both parties . . . appear to be in basic agreement” (p. 161). The same ideology inspires both books, superficial appearances notwithstanding, and it is this ideology that must be critically examined by those who wish to understand the process of change at work in Latin America and North American scholarship about it.

Because W. W. Rostow’s book deals with “development” it is of direct and immediate concern to Latin Americans and Latin Americanists, even though he does not devote much space to that area. It is frankly presented as a political sequel to his The Stages of Economic Growth. That book successfully became, though 15 printings and as many translations, the single most important ideological weapon in defense of United States’s bi-partisan imperialist interests in the “Third” world. The political policies which it inspired are widely lamented as disastrous and the scientific quality of the book has been totally discredited at home and abroad. No matter, for Rostow is and perceives himself to be a successful ideologist and policy planner. He proposes to replace Marx’s “view that politics was essentially a super-structure to economic fife” with “a view of politics as the effort to reconcile problems of security, welfare, and the constitutional order with the stages of growth” (pp. x, 2).

The bulk of Rostow’s Politics is devoted to reviewing the familiar stages he invented a decade ago and filling them with still more fantastic “relations” between these “three key issues” of “security, welfare and order” in the growth of “modernization” in Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Turkey, and Mexico. The political preconditions of take-off are external intromission, according to Rostow, who seeks to replace the Marxist thesis that change is generated primarily by internal contradictions. By contrast, in “the politics of the take-off and drive to technological maturity,” which combines his earlier stages 3 and 4, “the primary engine of change becomes internal rather than external.” This long chapter of nearly 100 pages is totally devoid of any political economy of development or of any other scientific analysis which Rostow discards in favor of ultraschematic juggling of empty phrases about electoral “democracy” and “organized labor.” As to Rostow’s rendition of “Politics and Democracy in the Contemporary Developing World,” it is hard to know whether to weep or laugh. The “relatively successful democracies” are in Mexico, Malaysia and South Korea!! Other countries, with a few exceptions, lack the “broad majority agreement” and “loyalty to democratic values” that are necessary “conditions for successful democracy.” Rostow cannot (or does not want to) explain why. But whatever the reason, it has nothing to do with politics of revolutionary romantics like Mao, Ho, Kim, Sukarno, Nasser, Nkrumah, Ben Bella, and Castro who have done no more than engage in “external expansion.” Rostow’s support goes to the successors of Nkrumah, Ben Bella, and Sukarno because they “elevated the priority of growth and welfare” (pp. 279-281). As an analysis of the political economy of development this chapter scores a round 0.00.

Rostow defines politics as the exercise of power in the first sentence of Chapter I and on page 17 goes on to observe that “the grand, unresolved problem of political science is how to relate politics in the narrower sense to the evolution of societies as a whole. The problem still not satisfactorily resolved is to link the political process to the domestic and external forces which generate the major problems. . ..” That is an interesting problem indeed. But does Politics illuminate, let alone help to resolve it? No. It does all it can to detract our attention therefrom. Rostow rightly (this is about the only thing that is right about the book) criticizes functionalist political and social science for being fragmented, partial, unhistorical, static, conservative! Is his book any better, let alone a more general, dynamic move towards unity? On the contrary, it represents a giant step backward even from functionalism and interest-group theory to say nothing of Marxist political economy and the historical materialist analysis of world imperialism and national class structure and struggle, which this book is meant to replace. Instead, Rostow retains the proven defect of his stages, not the least of which is that they are static, quite unhistorical, and indeed anti-historical in their denial of the single world historical process. Then Rostow force feeds into his stages the most ideologically loaded indexes of the discredited concept of “modernization” which he retains from the functionalists whom he criticizes; and finally Rostow has the gall to take Mao Tse Tung to task for not having “modernized” China according to the schedule Rostow’s stages would demand!

But perhaps there is a saving grace, or as Hirschman would say, a blessing in disguise: ideologically speaking, Rostow is much clearer than in his Stages. “The romantic revolutionaries of the developing world are not the wave of the future . . .. The case for abandoning gradualism and ameliorative change is weak . . .. Humane possibilities open, if we can generate sufficient perspective, balance, and moderation. To contribute to that end is one purpose of this book” (pp. 257, 333, 359). And whatever happened to politics as the exercise of power and the grand unresolved problem of political science?

Apparently, Albert O. Hirschman’s A Bias for Hope is different in tone or style, scope, and intent. Subtitled Essays on Development and Latin America, it collects together 16 articles written during two decades and introduces them with a new essay on “Political Economics and Possibilism.” The remaining essays, as he tells us, “fell almost naturally into three distinct parts”: “Elaborating The Strategy of Economic Development” on which Hirschman built his fame; “Addressing the Rich Countries: Critiques and Appeals” in which he displays his apparently naive appeal to men of good will (to use his own words) ; and “Addressing the Developing Countries : A Bias for Hope” in which he persists, against all evidence and scientific analysis, in his bias for reform mongering (again to use his own words), already observed in his earlier Journey Toward Progress and Development Projects Observed.

In contrast to Rostow and the hawks of the professional establishment of American economics, Hirschman displays dovish sympathy for Latin American “radicalism” represented by Mariátegui and Haya de la Torre in the 1930s, import substituting nationalism in the 1940s and 1950s, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) since then. In the Introduction and final chapter Hirschman is even sympathetic to his interpretation of Marxism. And in between he addresses the “rich” with competent critiques of the Alliance for Progress, false friendship (the abrazo) and other interAmerican ties, foreign (and specially program instead of project) aid, foreign investment (which he wants replaced by “devestment”), and export price and other anti-cyclical stabilization policies. In short, in most of these chapters Hirschman is perceptibly reform mongering.

But Hirschman is also quite clear, scientifically and ideologically speaking, about where he begins and where he is leading us. A Bias for Hope is the elaboration, as he says, of his strategy of economic development, which Charles Lindblom (co-author of Chapter II who shares “converging views”) has aptly dubbed “muddling through.” But Hirschman’s “passion for the possible” and “bias for hope” are not limited to reformist development strategy; they also extend to “The Science of ‘Muddling Through.’” Thus, Hirschman clarifies in his Introduction and concluding chapter that “in proceeding now from economic theories of politics to political economy (or political economics, or politics-cum-economics) proper, I shall stay away, for the time being, from any semblance of a general theory.” And he continues: “It seems quite unlikely that there exists somewhere a master key which would bring into view the usually hidden political dimensions of economic relationships. . .. Each time, it seems to be a matter of a specific ad hoc discovery.” “We must be suspicious of paradigms that pretend to give a clear cut answer . . . large scale social change typically occurs as a result of a unique constellation of highly disparate events . . . that makes prediction exceedingly difficult and contributes to that peculiarly open-endedness of history.”

In the light of these notions of Hirschman, it may seem strange that he expresses a sympathy for Marx, whom he now calls “the master,” and even more that he now writes, “I was not aware how close I was to this generalized Marxian model of interaction between economic and political forces when I wrote in The Strategy of Economic Development . . .. Why did I fail to make the connection between one of my principal theses and Marxism?” We may hazard a double answer. First, the connection did not and does not in fact exist. And, second, Marxism had not sufficiently revived from its post 1920s slumber for Hirschman to perceive and be obliged to come to terms with it in the 1950s. Thus, the long chapter on “Ideologies of Economic Development in Latin America” was published in 1961 and contains no reference to Marxism of any kind. Republished today, that influence is of course conspicuous by its absence. Writing the introductory and concluding chapters in 1970 of a book that is largely “addressing the developing countries” in Rostow’s “Decade of Political Development” Hirschman must now try to accommodate his dove-approach to a tendency that, he says, “has recently characterized Latin American social and economic thought” (p. 351). Hirschman cannot, like Rostow, reject Marxism out of hand.

And yet Rostow and Hirschman are no more than the “opposite” sides of the same capitalist economic coin or bourgeois political medal. The hawkish Rostow claims to resolve with one hand the grand problem of political science with grandiose “scientific” schemes while with the other he bombs Vietnam into a hell on earth only to (have us) conclude that “the case for abandoning gradualism and ameliorative change is weak.” On the other side, the dovish Hirschman muddles through smaller slices of reality to create the optical illusion that the accidental unintended consequences of his naive appeals to the rich to divest themselves of their economic and political power “are less likely to be revolutionary than those that interested Marx” or the people who aspire, if not to heaven on earth, at least to a humane society. But Hirschman’s bias is to dislike the “excessive constraint” of being “constantly impaled on the horns of some fateful and unescapable dilemma” between Rostow’s hell and a revolutionary earth. What hope does the bias of his muddle strategy offer? Hirschman answers (p. 352) : “After all, there is, at least temporarily, such a place as purgatory!”