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A World of HomeownersAmerican Power and the Politics of Housing Aid$
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Nancy H. Kwak

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226282350

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226282497.001.0001

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Combatting Communism with Homeownership

Combatting Communism with Homeownership

Chapter:
(p.46) Two Combatting Communism with Homeownership
Source:
A World of Homeowners
Author(s):

Nancy H. Kwak

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226282497.003.0003

Cold War concerns gave Americans immediate reasons for caring about overseas living standards. In particular, the US government began funding overseas housing assistance in China, Taiwan, Burma, and South Korea from the late 1940s to the 1950s and ’60s. In an effort to combat communism and establish market-based housing systems, American experts endorsed heavy-handed, sustained state involvement in these countries’ housing production, distribution, and management. Paradoxically, Cold War imperatives drove US advisors to set up self-help programs that depended heavily on state funding and management, and that were subsequently praised for showcasing capitalist housing at its best. Put simply, the success of aided self-help programs depended on the strength of the state. This approach to national housing policy left American advisors unaware of local needs and customs, leading in turn to inaccurate assessments of policy success or failure.

Keywords:   aided self-help, Cold War, Taiwan, Korea, Burma

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