Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William Primosch
PRIMOSCH: Yes. In the '60s and the '70s, there was a heavy emphasis on leftist politics and a lot of socialist experimentation which proved almost universally a failure.
Q: What was it callerevolutionary theology?
PRIMOSCH: There was some of that. There was also the so-called “Prebisch” thesis, developed by Latin American economist Dr. Raul Prebisch. He maintained that multinational corporations were exploiting Latin America and the developed world by perpetuating the unfavorable terms of trade between natural resource products and manufactured goods. Raw materials were kept cheap while rich countries sold manufactured products at higher prices. There was a lot of leftist guerrillas operating in Latin America. Salvador Allende had experimented with socialism in Chile without much success and experienced great personal tragedy. The unsuccessful revolutionary exploits of Che Guevara also received a lot of attention.
Q: As you reached the end, what were you going to do?
PRIMOSCH: This was the late '60s when I was finishing up college. What was on everyone's mind at that time was being drafted and sent to Vietnam. In retrospect, I can see that it was something that was very pronounced and a concern of a lot of students. What was going to happen after graduation? Could you get a deferment to continue studying in graduate school, which is what I wanted to do but it was not possible any longer in '69? Would you be sent to Vietnam? If you were opposed to the war, should you consider protesting or even emigrating to another country? There was some talk of that. There were a lot of protests on campus, particularly during ROTC parades. I participated in the 1968 March on Washington with a lot of other college students and stayed at Georgetown University in one of the dorms after the protests. Later I had the interesting experience as a Foreign Service officer to participate in meetings with former Secretary Robert McNamara. I thought, how ironic that years earlier I was protesting outside his window at the Pentagon and now I'm sitting across the table with him discussing economic policy towards Asia.
Q: What happened? You graduated in '69.