Social Scientist. v 9, no. 98-99 (Sept-Oct 1980) p. 106.


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BOOK REVIEW

The Chilean Lesson

K SESHADRI, CHILE: TRAVAIL AND TRAGEDY, Pragatee Pra-kashan. Delhi, 1979, pp 239, Rs 60.

It is strange that in spite of various socio-economic and political forces determining the course of history of a nation, the votaries of empiricism and behaviourism reiterate that a historical fact should be studied in isolation and that emphasis must be laid on facts as they are apparently observable, without contaminating the scientific character of the study with any ideology. The behaviourists stress that individual characteristics such as motivation, ambition and ascriptivc status of the people are essential for the study of poitical development of a nation and recommend that developing countries must follow the path already traverecd by the western countries, particularly the United States of America. But Scshadri's study of the tragic downfall of Allende and the imposition of a military dictatorship in Chile exposes the bankruptcy of these fads in vogue in social sciences and illustrates how American rulers who had already toppled the governments of Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Laos, Dominican Republic, Bazil and Indonesia, bungled with the fate of a nation which had won political freedom from Spanish imperialists and was still fighting for economic emancipation. In this connection he also rejects the view that Allcnde's policies were not properly formulated and Chilean politics suffered from internal dissensions:

"Many political pandits with the benefit of hind sight pass judgements on what Allende should have done or should not have done. These judgements, whether valid or not, should not slur over the fact that behind this horrendous experience was the American imperialism operating through its multinationals, its espionage agonies, military penetration, couuter-insurgcncy



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