For decades and longer, the United States and Europe lectured and encouraged countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia to welcome and accept foreign investment as the virtuous path to modernization, growth and prosperity.
With few notable exceptions western leaders and academics promoted unlimited flows of capital (and the outflows of profits). No section of the targeted economies was off-limits – agriculture, mining, manufacturers, utilities, transport and communication were to be ‘modernized’ through US and European ownership and control.
Third World leaders, whether generals, bankers or landowners who abided by the ‘open markets’doctrine and ‘invited’ foreign ownership, were praised, whether they were dictators or elected by hook or crook. Nationalism and nationalists were condemned as restricting the wheels of progress and blocking the March of History.
To be fair, the western regimes encouraged all countries to open their doors to capital flows – but of course only the imperial countries had the capital, technology and political power to do so.
Economists preached the doctrine of specialization in ‘comparative advantage’: the West to invest, profit and dominate markets and the South to accept low wages, junior partnerships and dependent industries.
This system worked very well for the West as long as they were the dominant power and shaped the markets, flows of capital and…