Private enterprise, international development, and the cold war

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1 Scopus citations


This article sheds light on the role of foreign direct investment as an instrument for economic development and, in turn, for the advancement of U.S. foreign policy goals during the Cold War. From the earliest days of the Cold War, and especially after the U.S.-Soviet competition for influence in the developing world began in the 1950s, the United States sought to promote private enterprise on behalf of U.S. goals. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, U.S. officials believed that foreign investment would suffice to fuel international development, obviating the need for official development assistance. These hopes, however, were largely disappointed. On the one hand, U.S.-based multinational companies preferred to invest in the industrial world; on the other hand, some Third World governments were uninterested in promoting private enterprise rather than state-led development. In part because foreign investment did not meet expectations, the U.S. government ended up elaborating an official foreign aid program instead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-145
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Cold War Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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