Development and Disorder; A History of the Third World since 1945, by Mike Mason, Choice, Vo. 35, No. 4, December 1997.

 

In ten chapters, Mike Mason examines the social, political, and economic conditions of twenty-three AThird World@ countries in the light of developmental issues and concerns raised by Western social scientists.  In chapter one, he traces the historical roots of the concept of AThird World@ and shows the distortions that have underlined its use by policy makers and social scientists.  For the latter group, who find non-Western countries disorderly, Adevelopment@ means bringing about an order favorable to and in line with Western cultural and economic interests.  In the next eight chapters, Mason shows the role of Western international institutions and developmental policies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, and the two Koreas, by reviewing their political and economic policies in the post WWII period.  The final chapter dissects the meaning of Adevelopment@ by discussing the few successes and many failures of Western institutions and theories in generating meaningful political and economic change in those countries.  Written rhetorically but clearly, this is a useful critical introduction for students of developmental studies.  The inclusion of so many countries and areas, although a useful aspect of the book, causes the author to make occasional broad generalizations and inaccurate statements.  Still, this is an informative and valuable book for putting half a century of Western developmental policies in the AThird World@ into a meaningful and critical perspective.

-- A. A. Mahdi, Ohio Wesleyan University