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Development, Security, and Aid

Geopolitics and Geoeconomics at the U.S. Agency for International Development

Jamey Essex

Publication Year: 2013

In Development, Security, and Aid Jamey Essex offers a sophisticated study of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), examining the separate but intertwined discourses of geopolitics and geoeconomics.

Geopolitics concentrates on territory, borders, and strategic political and military positioning within the international state system. Geoeconomics emphasizes economic power, growth, and connectedness within a global, and supposedly borderless, system. Both discourses have strongly influenced the strategies of USAID and the views of American policy makers, bureaucrats, and business leaders toward international development. Providing a unique geographical analysis of American development policy, Essex details USAID's establishment in 1961 and traces the agency's growth from the Cold War into an era of neoliberal globalization up to and beyond 9/11, the global war on terror, and the looming age of austerity.

USAID promotes improvement for millions by providing emergency assistance and support for long-term economic and social development. Yet the agency's humanitarian efforts are strongly influenced, and often trumped, by its mandate to advance American foreign policies. As a site of, a strategy for, and an agent in the making of geopolitics and geoeconomics, USAID, Essex argues, has often struggled to reconcile its many institutional mandates and objectives. The agency has always occupied a precarious political position, one that is increasingly marked by the strong influence of military, corporate, and foreign-policy institutions in American development strategy.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

Cover, Title Page

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pp. 1-5


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pp. v-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

In the sabbatical application I submitted to my department and dean in August 2010, I stated that my primary sabbatical project for the 2011–2012 academic year, when I could put aside teaching duties and departmental meetings for several months to write...

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Chapter One: “One- Half of 1%”: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics, and USAID

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pp. 1-16

VISITORS TO THE PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTER of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID, in downtown Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building, are greeted by the words “one- half of 1%,” bolted to the lobby wall in letters fashioned out of wood from official aid...

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Chapter Two: “In the World for Keeps”: From the Marshall Plan to the Vietnam War

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pp. 17-50

The history of post–World War II development theory and practice is a well-trod path, and scholars have approached it from multiple theoretical perspectives. Theorizing and implementing development amid and atop the crumbling edifice of colonial empires...

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Chapter Three: Geoeconomics Ascendant: Development, Interdependence, and Neoliberalization

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pp. 51-83

THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT’S (USAID) annual budget request and accompanying justification for fiscal year 1982 stressed mechanisms and themes that sought to reorient the agency and the overall U.S. assistance program toward greater participation...

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Chapter Four: Two Decades of Neoliberalization: From the Cold War to the War on Terror

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pp. 84-128

THE SHIFT TOWARD NEOLIBERALISM within USAID and the broader world of development theory and practice should not be read simply as a product of the U.S. state’s ideologically driven strategists and handlers forcing an unwanted set of policies and structures upon developing...

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Chapter Five: Development in Reverse: Crisis, Austerity, and the Future of USAID

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pp. 129-157

IN HIS REMARKS TO A NOVEMBER 2011 student conference on the American role in global affairs held at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, U.S. Agency for International Development...


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pp. 159-163

Works Cited

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pp. 165-178


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pp. 179-183

E-ISBN-13: 9780820345673
E-ISBN-10: 0820342475
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820342474
Print-ISBN-10: 0820342475

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 1 b&w photo, 5 tables, 1 figure
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation
Series Editor Byline: Nik Heynen, Deborah Cowen, and Melissa W. Wright, Series Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 827336862
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Development, Security, and Aid

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • United States. Agency for International Development.
  • Economic assistance, American.
  • Geopolitics.
  • Economic geography.
  • United States -- Foreign economic relations.
  • United States -- Foreign relations.
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