Deus ex machina?: Truman/Marshall Aid, Engineers, and Greece's Post-war Development Discourse

  • Kakridis A
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Abstract

Whereas much has been written about the economic vicissitudes of post-war Greece, the same cannot be said about the concomitant intellectual developments. What accounts for the evolution of Greece’s development discourse, particularly the shift in attitudes toward industrialization in the 1940s? Existing interpretations are found wanting, primarily for downplaying the independent role of economic ideas in accounting for the rise in industrial optimism. In this context, the role of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in influencing, not the economy per se, but the discourse about the economy is important. The international transmission of ideas, however, also depends heavily on the “milieu of potential receivers” (Spengler 1970). Mounting antagonism between Left and Right inevitably politicized industrialization debates and conditioned visions for Greece’s post-war development. The role of engineers—a professional community whose interests transcended the conventional Left-Right divide, and whose conception of development was steeped in the very same notions of modernization and technocratic efficiency that underscored much of the European Recovery Program—was critical. By placing engineers at the forefront of reconstruction, early Marshall Plan administrators in Greece not only helped the rapid dissemination of industrialism, but also imbued the vision of development with an allegedly apolitical and technocratic aura—one which persisted long after engineers were replaced by economists in the charting of development policy.

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Authors

  • Andreas Kakridis

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