KATHLEEN ANN CRAVERO, Fordham University


This thesis seeks to understand more fully the relationship of the state to domestic groups in areas of foreign economic policy. To do so it examines one important area of foreign economic relations: post-war food aid programs. Furthermore, it looks at one group that has been closely involved in these programs since their inception, i.e., the private voluntary agencies which distribute food overseas. The thesis focuses directly on the domestic context of American food aid policies, clarifying both the state-societal relationships that determine agency involvement and the underlying political and economic structures on which these relationships are based. The central objective of the thesis may therefore be summarized as follows: to show that the state itself is a key determinant of post-war food aid decisions and that state action is to a large extent shaped by its interaction with domestic groups. The study attempts to construct a model of state behavior which will accomplish this goal. After reviewing four existing models (specifically, the statist, liberal-pluralist, instrumentalist and structuralist models), it suggests that the structuralist approach, although still inadequate, is the most satsifactory one. By looking at two aspects of America's domestic context which have particularly affected food aid, i.e., the existence of recurring domestic surpluses and America's commitment to global hegemony within a capitalist world order, the thesis seeks to refine structuralism as an explanation of post-war food aid. Among the findings of this study are: (1) government food aid policies have favored the monopoly sector of American agriculture; (2) the relationship of the state to domestic groups is determined by two overriding goals and its autonomy from these groups is relative rather than absolute; and (3) the concessions granted by the state to domestic groups in the food aid arena have not resulted from particular group demands or the state's inability to withstand domestic pressure. Instead, the involvement of domestic groups in food aid programs has reflected their usefulness to surplus disposal, market expansion or the maintenance of global hegemony, goals which cannot be understood in isolation from the political and economic structures that underlie all advanced capitalist states.

Subject Area

International law|International relations

Recommended Citation

CRAVERO, KATHLEEN ANN, "FOOD AND POLITICS: DOMESTIC SOURCES OF U.S. FOOD AID POLICIES, 1949-1979" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213239.