United States Influence in Latin America Essay

This essay has a total of 989 words and 4 pages.

United States Influence in Latin America

The influence of the United States on Latin America has not been largely degrading, but
instead, largely beneficial to Latin America. It has helped to produce an advanced,
cultured, and self-sufficient society opposed to an alien culture of materialism and
selfishness. Arguments to support these statements can be made on an economic, political,
social, and cultural level. The United States for a long time has held a "hegemony by
default" and chosen to apply it in various ways. This has benefited Latin America
greatly, although there are always costs to go along with the benefits,.

First to be examined is the United States economic influence in Latin America. There are
many instances and examples of United States influence in the economic theater. We see
the beginning of large scale economic influence in Latin America after the First
Pan-American Conference in 1889. We see Pan-Americanism replacing the Monroe Doctrine
and Latin America becoming the grounds on which the commercially powerful and equally
anxious United States can spread it's wings. Two excellent examples of U.S. economic
influence and it's positive effects were Nelson Rockefeller's International Basic Economy
Corporation and Henry Kaiser's automobile industries.

The most important lesson gleaned from Rockefeller and Kaiser would be that of their
introduction of "corporate social responsibility" to Latin America. They helped ignite
small-investor participation in stocks, as well as facilitated local ownership.
Although it is true that not all United States economic presence was beneficial, we see
that when handled responsibly with the goal of gradually incorporating a sense of
locality, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Rockefeller felt that Latin America needed
a middle class resembling that of the United States, and both he and Kaiser saw that
economic development was the cornerstone to stability and freedom in a fledgling society.

Many of the economic benefits to Latin America came in the form of simple, cold, hard
cash. Dollar signs being put up. Taxing large American businesses produced large amounts
of many Latin American nations' incomes. At times they represented one-fifth or more of
the total collected taxes in Latin America. Aside from the money, U.S. economic
influence brought over much more. Technology, communications, and transportation, all key
elements in the growth of any civilization, Rome, Greece, Egypt, all were brought over by
foreign business, namely the United States. President Truman had attempted to send
technical and economic help under a far fetch of the Marshall Plan, but to little avail.
So much of this work was done by American businesses.

Latin America was undergoing a dramatic transition from a largely colonial, and in some
aspects, primitive society and existence to becoming a major player in the new globally
integrated world of homogenous markets. Although large portions of locality and other
elements of uniqueness would be lost, the incredible speed at which Latin America became
modernized is uncanny. Even with obvious wrongdoing on the part of such companies as the
United Fruit Company in Guatemala, International Petroleum Corporation in Peru, and the
International Telephone and Telegraph in Chile, the modernization that resulted was
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