In the 1950s the nations of the world, with U.S. leadership, undertook the revolutionary task of supporting economic and social progress in the then newly independent developing countries. Now, as both rich and poor countries adjust to changed economic circumstances under the impact of the debt crisis and African famine, the perception is widespread that "development" has failed and that prospects for renewed progress are limited.
This impression of the past performance and future prospects of developing countries is erroneous. During the 1960s and 1970s, growth in the Third World surpassed the growth rates of the industrial world in any comparable period in its own development. . . . (T)helopment "experiment" on balance has been a remarkable success.
In the 1980s, however, a radically different environment faces those concerned with U.S. policies toward the developing countries. . . . Addressing the developing countries' economic problems is no longer a matter of altruism. . . . Ten of the top 20 U.S. trading partners are developing countries. . . .
Third World countries differ greatly from one another, and policies must reflect this reality. The newly industrialized countries, for example, are now both markets for the United States and export competitors. . . . The middle-income developing countries in the 1970s added more to gross world product than the United States or than Germany and Japan combined. Meanwhile the predicament of the low-income countries, especially those of Sub-Saharan Africa, presents a massive development challenge requiring a differentiated approach. No longer is it possible for the United States to have only one development policy for all the Third World.