Making Manpower: The Ford Foundation's Building of Postcolonial Political Economy in India and Indonesia

by Brandon Kirk Williams

Dec 20, 2017

My dissertation analyzes the International Labor Organization's (ILO) postcolonial development activities in India and Indonesia based around productivity and its relationship to economic inequality. Accordingly, I zoomed in on the Ford Foundation's collections that were connected to the ILO, India, and Indonesia. Neither the Ford nor the Rockefeller Foundation had a sustained connection to sponsoring the ILO, and the documents were scant. Thankfully, Ford granted considerable funds and expert guidance to both India and Indonesia. This researcher's report will begin with an introduction to the climate of political economy and development that infused Ford's notions of manpower and political economy. It then transitions to a description of my findings for India and Indonesia. Indonesia's fractured history is well displayed by the timing of the Ford Foundation's technical assistance, in spite of the limited archival material for my dissertation. It closes with a meditation on the meaning of development, capitalism, and shifts in international political economy at the end of the twentieth century.

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