Feeding Other Hungers: How a U.S.-Brazilian Food Program Reveals the Complexities of Development Economics, 1941-1945 Open Access

McGlade, Hugh (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9k41zf36x?locale=en


This thesis examines the Food Supply Division (FSD), a hunger alleviation program operated by the governments of Brazil and the United States between 1942 and 1945. As World War II escalated, the U.S. government needed rubber from the Brazilian Amazon for wartime supplies. The FSD aimed to nourish rubber workers so that they could continue to labor. This thesis argues that the FSD was a development organization with political and economic aims beyond rubber production. Using Brazilian and U.S. government correspondence, it contends that the urban, elite founders of the program understood the rural Brazilian agricultural poor as culturally inferior. The architects of the FSD used a language of truth (of science and capitalism) to create a universal definition of development to justify the expansion of political control and the extraction of resources. It shows that in practice, the FSD faced resistance from the subjects it attempted to develop, exposing the limits of model-based development and the influence of local realities on a transnational organization. It concludes that the FSD was an early example of food aid as a vehicle for national and international political and economic agendas.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1. Developing Development: The Ideas That Made the FSD 15

2. (Non-)Experts at Work: The FSD in Practice 43

Conclusion 73

Bibliography 79

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