(Andrew Gavin Marshall) Note: the following excerpt is largely derived from information published in Richard Arnove’s “Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad.”
The Rockefellers Engineer Black Education
The education which facilitated American imperial expansion around the world was not situated within the Western imperial powers alone, but was simultaneously expanded into the ‘Global South’, those regions of the world which America and the West sought to dominate. This was a pivotal aspect of the imperial project, as it was imperative for America to rule the world, but in a fashion not so reminiscent of the previous age of empires, where domination and empire were openly acknowledged and propagated. Following the two world wars which were the result of a clash of empires, the notion of imperial domination outright was largely discredited. Therefore, the era of ‘informal empire’ came to dominate: imperialism without formal colonization. This project necessarily involved the creation and support of domestic elites in the countries which were targeted for domination.
To prop up a domestic elite that would be subservient to foreign (i.e., Western) interests, an educational system had to be constructed which would produce foreign elites that were indoctrinated with hegemonic ideology, and would thus come to see ‘cooperation’ with the West, and the opening up of their domestic resources to foreign corporations not as a capitulation to a foreign dominator, but as a necessary part of the process of ‘development’.
In the first half of the 20th century, the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation undertook joint projects aimed at constructing an education system for black Americans in the South as well as for black Africans in several British colonies. In 1911, the Phelps-Stokes Fund was chartered with the purpose of managing “the education of Negroes both in Africa and the United States.” This restrictive educational system for black Americans had already been institutionalized, beginning with the ‘philanthropic’ endeavors of Wall Street bankers and northern industrialists and capitalists at several conferences in 1898. The education was constructed on the basis that, as one conference participant stated, “the white people are to be the leaders, to take the initiative, to have direct control in all matters pertaining to civilization and the highest interest of our beloved land. History demonstrates that the Caucasian will rule, and he ought to rule.” As one conference organizer stated:
Time has proven that [the ‘negro’] is best fitted to perform the heavy labor in the Southern states… He will willingly fill the more menial positions, and do the heavy work, at less wages, than the American white man or any foreign race… This will permit the Southern white laborer to perform the more expert labor, and to leave the fields, the mines, and the simple trades for the negro.
The conferences resulted in what became known as the ‘Tuskegee educational philosophy,’ which was decided upon by 1901. Three major decisions were taken at the conferences. The first major decision was that “it was necessary that provision be made to train a Negro leadership cadre”:
For this purpose, then, it was concluded that certain Negro colleges would be strengthened to educate a strong professional class – doctors, lawyers, ministers – which would be responsible for raising the general physical and moral level of the race in the segregated black communities… [Second], it was decided that the Negro had been educated away from his natural environment and that his education should concern only those fields available to him. This key decision marked the formulation of the concept of a special Negro education. Third, it was decided that this special education – vocational and agricultural in focus – of the Negro had to be directed toward increasing the labor value of his race, a labor value which, not surprisingly, would see the white capitalist as chief beneficiary.
Thus, in 1901 the fourth conference on the issue established the Southern Education Board. The following year, John D. Rockefeller established the General Education Board (a precursor to the Rockefeller Foundation), which “alleviated any financial concerns which the planners of southern Negro education might have experienced.” The Rockefeller philanthropy had extensive influence on implementing the ‘Tuskegee education philosophy,’ particularly through the Southern Education Board, of which it not only helped finance but had a shared leadership. Eleven members of the Southern Education Board were also members of Rockefeller’s General Education Board. With time, other funds and philanthropies became involved, such as the Jeanes Fund, the Slater Fund, and eventually the Phelps-Stokes Fund. Again, there was a significant overlap between these organizations. The first president of the Jeanes Fund was James H. Dillard, a member of the Southern Education Board, an agent of the Slater Fund, and a member of Rockefeller’s General Education Board. In 1923, Dillard became a trustee of the Phelps-Stokes Fund. The Jeanes Fund, headed by Dillard, instituted the concept of the ‘Jeanes teacher’:
a local Negro who could make contact in the rural communities as no one else could and who could adapt the school curriculum to the conditions of these communities. Hygiene, home economics, and industrial and agricultural training were to form the backbone of the curriculum for Jeanes rural schools. In 1925, the Jeanes school concept was transferred to Kenya, largely owing to the vigorous advocacy for such a transplantation by representatives of the Phelps-Stokes Fund.
The Phelps-Stokes Fund was founded by Anson Phelps Stokes, the secretary of Yale University, long-time member of Rockefeller’s General Education Board and another Rockefeller philanthropy, the International Education Board; he was also a member of the Rockefeller Foundation itself. Another leader of the Fund was Thomas Jesse Jones, a sociologist and blatant racist who joined the Fund in 1912, and as late as 1939 had written that, “the Southern States require the Negro at least for his services as a laborer.” In 1917, the Phelps-Stokes Fund published a two-volume survey of Southern Negro education, authored by Jones:
The study maintained that the only education appropriate for the black man was that with a strong vocational/agricultural bias. Academic/literary education was perceived as dysfunctional for the black man because it (1) would open vistas that he could not attain in the rigidly segregated American social structure, (2) would fail to provide the appropriate skills that would make the black man a more productive worker or agriculturalist… (3) would seriously undermine the ability of the white ruling oligarchy to maintain its political hegemony in the face of demands for equality, which it was feared an academic/literary education would engender.
Jones’s survey gave the educational philosophy an air of academic respect. Yet this did not go entirely unchallenged at the time. Notably, a prominent black intellectual, W.E.B. DuBois questioned the idea that Negroes would be content “to have our interests represented in the most important councils of the world – missionary boards, educational committees, in all activities of social uplift – by white men who speak for us, on the theory that we cannot speak for ourselves?” Another black historian and social critic, Carter G. Woodson, explained that, “Schools which concentrated on developing the power of the Negro to think and do for himself were not desirable and were classified as unworthy of philanthropic support.” Both of these men were concerned about the intentions of the philanthropies to further entrench the American Negro as submissive to the prevailing social order. Of course, both of these men turned out to be correct, but far be it for the white northern capitalists to bow down to the moral protests of black intellectuals.
The Tuskegee/Phelps-Stokes educational philosophy quickly garnered the attention of British missionary educators in Africa. Two influential British missionary educators visited the Tuskegee Institute in 1912, with the idea in mind that they could adapt this educational philosophy to Britain’s colonies in Africa. One of these missionaries was J.H. Oldham, former secretary of the World Missionary Conference, and editor of the International Review of Missions, “the quasi-official journal of the Protestant missionary societies in Great Britain from its inception in 1912.” Having become well-acquainted with the American philanthropists involved in organizing black education, Oldham introduced Thomas Jesse Jones to British colonial officials in charge of educational policy in Africa, and in 1924, “Oldham became the Phelps-Stokes Fund’s representative in the United Kingdom and intensified his vigorous lobbying efforts to have Phelps-Stokes Fund/Tuskegee concept incorporated into official mission and colonial educational policy.”
Just as Jones had been responsible for the highly influential survey of Southern Negro education in 1917, Oldham and several missionary societies had been pushing for a similar survey of African educational policy. With the notion that the Fund’s “expertise” on the issue was “unparalleled,” Jones was selected to be chairman of the educational commission. The African Education Commission toured eight countries in Africa between 1920 and 1921, and the final report unsurprisingly came to very similar conclusions as Jones’ previous report:
As in the Negro education report, the African Education Commission stressed the importance of agricultural education and simple manual training, the need to establish a differentiated educational system for African leaders and for the masses, and the necessity of adapting education to local conditions.
Incidentally, just as the report was published, J.H. Oldham was a key figure in a group of policymakers in London who were constructing a new educational program for the African colonies, “and in 1923 he approached representatives of the Colonial Office with the suggestion that he draft a memorandum on education in British Africa.” Subsequently, the British Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa was established, and the Colonial Office further dispatched Jones to conduct another survey to eastern, central and southern Africa. One of those involved in the survey was James H. Dillard of the Jeanes Fund. Again, similar conclusions were reached and four essential areas of education were emphasized:
Health and hygiene, appreciation and use of the environment, the effective development of home and household, and recreation and culture… [largely based upon] the assumption that African societies would remain rural indefinitely, while at the same time providing the European-dominated sectors with the requisite raw materials and labor to support industrialization.
British colonial officials were quick to endorse the conclusions of the commissions. As Kenya’s colonial secretary stated, the educational philosophy would ensure “an intelligent, cheerful, self-respecting, and generally docile and willing-to-learn African native.” In 1925, Jones successfully negotiated for financial aid from the Carnegie Corporation to finance the establishment of a Jeanes training school in Kenya. The funding from Carnegie included direct funding for the school, as well as facilitating white educators from Africa to come to the U.S. to “investigate” the Southern educational system, as well as implementing intelligence tests for Africans (just as the major philanthropies had been propagating around the United States as part of their support for eugenics programs). Jones also turned to other major foundations for support, such as Rockefeller’s International Education Board (which had Anson Phelps-Stokes as a trustee), as well as the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial, which all subsequently provided major grants to establish several schools across Africa.
Jones and the major foundations further supported the development of black education in South Africa, helping cement the apartheid system that was being developed. As Jones himself stated, the education of black South Africans in the Tuskegee philosophy can maintain their subordination to the white ruling class, and keep them as “junior partners in the firm.”
African Education or White Domination?
After 1945, the major foundations retained their intense interest in the education of the populations they sought to dominate and control. However, this could no longer be done outright as a colonial project, as in the first half of the 20th century. Thus, the Carnegie Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the much newer (and financially dominant) Ford Foundation came to play essential roles in shaping education in postwar Africa. This was especially important as following World War II, the independence movements and liberation struggles began to spread across Africa and the rest of the colonized world. The concept of imperial domination had been widely discredited, and so, dominated peoples were seeking to unchain themselves from colonial shackles. The Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations, however, had other plans.
It had become evident at the end of the war that the colonial world was going to be dismantled, and the dividing of the world into two superpower blocs (the United States and the Soviet Union) “signaled the beginning of the scramble to align the colonial territories to one or other of the emerging power blocs.” As the Council on Foreign Relations had designated in its ‘Grand Area’ project, the need for America to control the resources of strategic regions such as Asia, Latin America and Africa, the major American foundations stepped to the forefront in constructing education for elites of the colonial territories that would produce leaders subordinate to Western interests.
It was no small coincidence that the boards of the major foundations were made up of many prestigious policymakers and imperial strategists. One individual who perfectly represents this fact is John J. McCloy, who was a long-time member of the Council on Foreign Relations and had, throughout his long career, served as: Assistant Secretary of War, Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (owned by the Rockefellers), High Commissioner to Germany (following World War II), a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Chairman of the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation, as well as President of the World Bank. Another similar individual is Robert McNamara, who in his career served as President of Ford Motor Company, President of the World Bank, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, and as a trustee of the Ford Foundation. One Ford Foundation executive stated that “the boards of the big foundations are controlled by members of the American business elite.”
Thus, foundation officials shared the view with American policymakers and business elites that change in the colonial world, such as Africa, “must be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.” Thus, “radical politics, including intense conflict, disorder, violence, and revolution, are unnecessary for economic and political development and therefore are always bad.” A leader in the Carnegie Corporation noted that “American industry could ill-afford the loss of cheap sources of raw materials which could only be secured in the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.” The first president of the Ford Foundation, Paul Hoffman, stated that “our own dynamic economy has made us dependent on the outside world for many critical raw materials.” Hoffman was also a former president of the Studebaker Corporation (an automobile manufacturer), as well as a member of the Committee for Economic Development (CED), and director of the Marshall Plan. Philip E. Mosley, a Rockefeller Foundation staff member and former participant in the Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies project started in 1949 that, “the resources which the United States needs are not located in Europe, but are in the underdeveloped areas of the world. This is a significant reason why we can’t concentrate all our efforts on Europe.”
By the mid-1950s, foundation officials had established a consensus with policymakers and business leaders “regarding the importance of the developing world for the United States.” In Africa, the Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford Foundations undertook massive programs which led to:
(1) the creation of lead universities located in areas considered of geo-strategic and/or economic importance to the United States; (2) an emphasis within these institutions on social science research and related manpower planning programs; (3) programs to train public administrators; (4) teacher training and curriculum development projects; and (5) training programs which shuttled African nationals to select universities in the United States for advanced training and returned them to assume positions of leadership within local universities, teacher training institutions, or ministries of education.
The establishment of leading universities in Africa was the initial emphasis among the foundations. The Ford Foundation decided to concentrate its efforts in Africa “on the training on elite cadres in public administration, agricultural economics, the applied sciences, and the social sciences, and to strengthen African universities and other post-secondary institutions for this purpose, [as] a logical extension of similar emphases in the foundation’s domestic work,” in relation to the development of Area Studies and the shaping of political science in America, itself. The Ford Foundation’s most important projects in Africa were undertaken in “Nigeria, Ethiopia, Congo/Zaire, and in a combined university scheme linking the East African nations of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Rockefeller funds were concentrated on the East African interterritorial scheme” in Nigeria and Zaire.
Between 1958 and 1969, the Ford Foundation spent $25 million in Nigeria, of which $8 million was used to underwrite university development, and $5 million of that went specifically to the University of Ibadan. Between 1963 and 1972, the Rockefeller Foundation allocated roughly $9 million to the University of Ibadan. As one official of the Rockefeller Foundation said, “our dollars will… be able to exert an extraordinary leverage.” The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations then placed enormous emphasis on developing the social sciences at the universities they supported, with the aim to bring about “rationally managed” social change; the same fundamental belief that led to the emergence of the social sciences in creating a “rationally managed” America in the beginning of the 20thcentury, emphasizing reform over revolution. The logic was that “the key lay in the creation of technocratically oriented elites with social science competencies which could be applied to the alleviation of the problems of underdevelopment.” As Professor of Education Robert F. Arnove wrote:
The [Ford] Foundation’s fascination with social science research in large part has consisted of support for a certain breed of economists whose quantitative approach to development is safe and respectable. This favoring of economists, particularly in the early sixties, has accorded with the Foundation’s approach to treating development ‘in terms of economic growth, technological competence, and improved managerial competence.’
This was so essential because it was based upon the presumption that nothing is wrong with ‘the system’, per se, but it was instead “technical” issues that had to be managed in a technical and rational manner. Hence, the “problem of development” was not the legacy of colonialism, or the continuing neo-imperial projects of domination and economic exploitation, but was simply a matter of figuring out the ‘right’ ways to ‘develop’ into a ‘modern’ society. Thus, at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, both Ford and Rockefeller heavily invested in the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, and its departments of sociology, economics, and political science. At the University of East Africa, which had been heavily subsidized by both foundations, they supported the development of the East African Institute of Social Research in Uganda, and the Institute for Development Studies in Kenya, again emphasizing the departments of sociology, economics, and political science. It is, of course, no wonder that these are the fields the foundations supported with the most emphasis, considering that the development of these fields throughout the 20th century was largely at the impetus of the foundations, themselves.
Kenneth Thompson, a one-time vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, stated that “66 percent of all East African faculty have been Rockefeller Foundation scholars or holders of Special Lectureships established with Rockefeller Foundation funding for returning national scholars.” Thus, the exchange programs established by the foundations between elite American universities and the foundation-funded African universities were of critical import in developing a national elite.
Education and Empire in Action: The Case of the Congo
The Ford Foundation undertook major programs in public administration in Nigeria, East Africa and the Congo. The Congo was of particular interest, with its massive reserves of mineral wealth and resource riches. In 1961, Ford founded the National School of Law and Administration in the Congo, which was “designed to train an elite cadre of public administrators.” The objective worked quite well, as “by 1968, the 400 odd graduates of the school made up an elite corps of civil servants who [were then] holding important administrative and judicial posts throughout the Congo.” The first secretary-general of the school was a man named James T. Harris, who was also reportedly a CIA agent at the time. This is of particular interest considering that at the time, the CIA was involved in a destabilization campaign against the Congo’s first democratically elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, who was advocating a decolonization process of political and economic independence from Europe and the West.
The Congo gained independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960, and immediately a struggle for power took place between individuals, tribes, and political groups. As the conflict spread, Belgium was drawn in to protect its mineral investments, as well as the United States, keenly aware of the Congo’s vast resource wealth. Again, the United States framed events as being the threat of a Communist takeover, with CIA Director Allen Dulles warning that this would pose “disastrous consequences” for the “free world.” In 1960, Patrice Lumumba had become the first Prime Minister of the Congo following democratic elections, and he immediately prompted the animosity of the U.S. National Security State. Lumumba had called for both the economic as well as political liberation of the Congo. At the Independence Day ceremony, attended by an array of foreign former-imperial dignitaries, including the Belgian King, Lumumba publicly decried the former imperial powers, much to their horror at being publicly embarrassed by an African leader.
Soon after, the province of Katanga, home to the majority of the Congo’s vast mineral wealth, most of which was ‘owned’ by Belgium, announced that it was seceding, an act that was instantly supported by Belgium, which then deployed its military in the region with the full support of the United States. This prompted many international cries against the operation, and the United Nations suggested withdrawing Belgian forces and replacing them with a United Nations military force, an action the US was happy to carry out, as the operation was led by US officials acting in secret collaboration with the State Department. Lumumba attempted to turn to the US and UN for help in putting down the rebellion, both of which refused, prompting him to seek aid from the Soviet Union, which obliged.
On September 5, 1960, the President of the Congo, closely allied to the CIA, dismissed Lumumba as Prime Minister. Lumumba contested this, and spoke in his usual articulate manner, gaining the support of the legislature to reinstate him. Allen Dulles had, meanwhile, ordered the assassination of Lumumba, referring to it as “an urgent and prime objective.” Within days of being reinstated as Prime Minister, Joseph Mobutu took power in a military coup directed by the United States. Lumumba escaped, yet was tracked down by the CIA, and subsequently detained by Mobutu and handed over to the rebel leader of Katanga province, “Lumumba’s bitter enemy. Lumumba was assassinated the same day.” The Congo (eventually renamed Zaire, and then now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) has never had a democratically elected leader since.
As one Ford Foundation official in the 1960s stated:
From the standpoint of the United States government, Ford activity in the Congo has been useful in furthering foreign policy objectives. The United States has been successful in its main political objectives of helping create an independent Congo not subject to Communist influence. It has been able to do this by relying on the United Nations for peacekeeping and on the Ford Foundation for helping initiate the key institutions for the training of administrators… Ford assistance has therefore been an important element in furthering United States interests in Africa.
It is hard to come by a more blatant statement of interests and ideology within the major foundations. The official’s concept of an “independent” Congo simply means “subservient” to American and Western interests. As the official acknowledged himself, the Ford Foundation was “an important element in furthering United States interests in Africa,” thereby implicating the foundation not as a benevolent philanthropy, as we are made to believe via the savvy PR campaigns of foundations, but rather, to understand the foundation (as an institution) as an integral aspect of the modern imperial system of domination and control.
At the same time that the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations were funding universities and managing the social sciences of African education, the Carnegie Corporation became principally interested in the training of teachers, following on Carnegie’s earlier interest in shaping the colonial education system in the pre-war years:
A Carnegie-sponsored meeting in London in 1960, attended by representatives of Teachers College [at Columbia University], the [British] Colonial Office, the Carnegie Corporation, and the colleges or universities in Ibadan, Zaria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rhodesia, Nyasaland, and Uganda, assured a continuing and significant role for the Carnegie Corporation in African education.
In 1960, another major meeting took place attended by representatives not only of the Carnegie Corporation, but also the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Department of State, the British Colonial Office, the African-American Institute, the International Cooperation Administration (the precursor to the United States Agency for International Development – USAID), as well as representatives from Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. At the meeting, the focus was on how to organize the training of educators:
It was suggested that the foundations and the International Cooperation Administration pool their resources, identify a significant American teacher training institution as their agent, and support that institution’s efforts to train a large cadre of American teachers to work in the rapidly expanding secondary school network in East Africa. Because of its previous contacts with both the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation, it was not surprising that Teachers College, Columbia University, was designated as the training institution, and that Karl W. Bigelow (long a Ford and Carnegie protégé) was the chief negotiator securing the contract.
Educating Americans in the Subtle Art of Imperial Domination
In the 1950s, the Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation facilitated the development of African studies in American universities to create an American elite well-trained and educated in being able to manage a more effective foreign policy over the region. Another key project was in developing the Foreign Area Fellowship Program, where American social scientists would have overseas research subsidized by the Ford Foundation. The fellows also became closely tied to the CIA, who saw them as important sources of information to recruit in the field. However, when this information began to surface about CIA connections with foundation-linked academics, the Ford Foundation leadership became furious, as one Ford official later explained that the President of the Foundation had gone to Washington and “raised hell,” where he had to explain to the CIA that, “it was much more in the national interest that we train a bunch of people who at later stages might want to go with the CIA… than it was for them to have one guy they could call their source of information.” It is, perhaps, a truly startling and significant revelation that the president of a foundation has the ability, status, and position to be able to go to Washington and “raise hell,” and no less, lecture the CIA about how to properly conduct operations in a more covert manner.
The Carnegie Corporation, for its part, was “encouraging well-placed American individuals to undertake study tours of Africa.” In 1957, the Carnegie Corporation gave funds to the Council on Foreign Relations to undertake this task of identifying and encouraging important individuals to go to Africa. Among the individuals chosen were Paul Nitze, who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in 1962; Thomas Finletter, a former Secretary of the Air Force; and David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan Bank.
The Rockefeller Foundation also initiated several funding programs for universities in Latin America and Asia, notably in Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. By the early 1980s, the Rockefeller Foundation had awarded over 10,000 fellowships and scholarships. From the Ford Foundation’s inception in 1936 until 1977, it had allocated roughly $919.2 million to “less-developed countries.” The Ford Foundation even maintained “a steady stream of scholarly exchange with the Soviet Union and other countries of Eastern Europe since 1956, and with the People’s Republic of China since 1973.” Ford and other foundations had also played significant roles in channeling intellectual dissent in developing nations into ‘safe’ areas, just as they do at the domestic level. This has required them to fund several radical (and sometimes even Marxist) scholars. The Ford Foundation had also supported the relocation of displaced scholars following the military coups in Argentina in 1965 and Chile in 1973. However, such foreign ‘assistance’ has not gone unnoticed entirely, as in 1971 there was violent resistance by radical university students and faculty at the University of Valle in Colombia, “a favored recipient of Ford and Rockefeller monies.” As noted in the book, Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism:
The power of the foundation is not that of dictating what will be studied. Its power consists in defining professional and intellectual parameters, in determining who will receive support to study what subjects in what settings. And the foundation’s power resides in suggesting certain types of activities it favors and is willing to support. As [political theorist and economist Harold] Laski noted, “the foundations do not control, simply because, in the direct and simple sense of the word, there is no need for them to do so. They have only to indicate the immediate direction of their minds for the whole university world to discover that it always meant to gravitate to that angle of the intellectual compass.”
It is interesting to note the purposes and consequences of foundation funding for highly critical scholars in the ‘developing world, who are often very critical of American economic, political, and cultural domination of their countries and regions. Often, these scholars were able to collect information and go places that Western scholars were unable to, “generating alternative paradigms which are likely to provide more realistic and accurate assessments of events overseas.” One example was the funding of dependency theorists, who rose in opposition to the prevailing development theorists, suggesting that the reason for the Global South’s perceived “backwardness” was not that it was further behind the natural progression of industrial development (as development theorists postulated), but rather that they were kept subjugated to the Western powers, and were specifically maintained as ‘dependent’ upon the North, thus maintaining a neo-imperial status directly resulting from their former overt colonial status. Thus, the foundations have gained better, more accurate information about the regions they seek to dominate, simultaneously employing and cultivating talented scholars and professionals, who might otherwise be drawn to more activist areas of involvement, as opposed to academic. Thus:
[A] situation exists where information, produced by Latin Americans on situations of internal and external domination, is flowing to the alleged sources of oppression – rather than toward those who need the information to defend themselves against exploitation.
An example of this is in Brazil, where a regime tolerated the writings of radical social scientists who are supported by foundations. Many of these scholars have received international recognition for their work, which would make it unlikely that the regime itself would be unaware of it. Thus, the work itself may not be perceived as an actual threat to the regime, for two major reasons:
(1) it is not intelligible to the masses, for certainly, if the same sentiments were expressed not in academic journals but from a street corner or as part of a political movement which mobilized large numbers, the individual would be jailed or exiled; and (2) the regime itself benefits from the knowledge generated, while simultaneously enhancing its international image by permitting academic freedom.
Thus, the ultimate effect abroad is the same as that at home: prominent and talented scholars and intellectuals are drawn into safe channels whereby they can aim and hope to achieve small improvements through reform, to ‘better’ a bad situation, improve social justice, human rights, welfare, and ultimately divert these talented intellectuals “from more realistic, and perhaps revolutionary, efforts at social change.”
Again, we have an image of the major philanthropic foundations as “engines of social engineering,” and agents of social control. Not only are their efforts aimed at domestic America or the West alone, but rather, to the whole world. As such, foundations have been and in large part, remain, as some of the most subtle, yet dominant institutions in the global power structure. Their effectiveness lies in their subtle methods, in their aims at incremental change, organizing, funding, and in the power of ideas. Of all other institutions, foundations are perhaps the most effective when it comes to the process of affecting the ‘institutionalization of ideas,’ which is, as a concept in and of itself, the central facet to domination over all humanity.