Author Archives: Nils Gilman

About Nils Gilman

Nils Gilman is an historian at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to coediting Humanity, he is the author of Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Johns Hopkins, 2003) and many other publications on technology, security, and economic development.

Is a global history of development possible?

This post first appeared at Small Precautions.   What would a fully integrated “global” history of development entail? It would require Considering all actors in the development process: from the subaltern “objects” of development at one end of the spectrum, to various NGOs and IFIs and transnational corporations in the middle layers, to state elites in the North at the other end – recognizing the politically negotiated nature of each project Looking across all geographies in which development has been deployed: including not just the Continue reading →

The Myrdals’ Eugenicist Roots

Kris i Befolkningsfraågen Alva Myrdal and Gunnar Myrdal Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag, 1934 It was the summer of 1934 when Gunnar Myrdal and his wife Alva published Kris i Befolkningsfraågen (The crisis in the population question, hereafter KiB), just as Gunnar, then thirty-five years old, was assuming a seat as a Social Democratic member of the Swedish Parliament.1 As a salvo from the enfant terrible of the Swedish economic establishment, the book was not merely analytical in intent but intended as a political strategy and Continue reading → Continue reading →

The New International Economic Order: A Reintroduction

Download PDF Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven! —William Wordsworth, 1805 I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. —H.P. Lovecraft, 1917 What, exactly, was the New International Economic Order (NIEO)? Promulgated as a United Nations declaration in 1974 (reprinted as the frontispiece to this special issue of Humanity), the NIEO was the most widely discussed transnational governance reform initiative of the 1970s. Its fundamental objective was to transform Continue reading →

Libya as example of R2P?

There have been not a few commentators, from the bleeding hearts on the liberal left to the usual suspects on the neocon right, who have been celebrating the raining down of Tomahawk missiles on Libya as a wonderful return of morality to foreign policy.

The velvet glove of humanitarian biomedicine

It strikes me that one of the purposes of the elision is to facilitate the extension of (yes, biomedical, but perhaps not just biomedical) surveillance technologies of the Global North into the Global South, for reasons that primarily benefit the Global North, but that come cloaked with the moral aura of benefiting the South (even though, as you point out, it's not so clear that these surveillances really do help the South much).