Rostow, Walt Whitman

Rostow, Walt Whitman,

1916–2003, U.S. economist and government official, brother of Eugene RostowRostow, Eugene Victor Debs,
1913–2002, U.S. lawyer, educator, and government official, brother of Walt Whitman Rostow, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Admitted to the bar in 1938, Rostow joined the Yale law school faculty and became (1944–84) full professor of law.
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, b. New York City. A Yale Ph.D. (1940) and Rhodes scholar, he served (1942–45) with the covert Office of Strategic Services during World War II and later was (1950–61) a professor of economic history at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As chairman (1961–66) of the policy planning council of the State Dept., and later as special assistant for national security affairs (1966–69) to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Rostow exerted a major influence on U.S. foreign policy and strongly advocated the escalating military intervention in Vietnam (see Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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). He became (1969) professor of economics and history at the Univ. of Texas. An important economic theorist, Rostow formulated significant theories of economic growth, taking an historical approach. His books include The Stages of Economic Growth (1960, 2d ed. 1971) and The World Economy (1978).

Rostow, Walt Whitman

 

Born Oct. 7, 1916, in New York. American economist.

Rostow studied at Yale and Oxford universities. From 1942 to 1945 he served in the American armed forces. From 1940 to 1941, 1946 to 1947, and 1949 to 1960 he taught at various American and British institutions of higher learning. He held government positions from 1945 to 1946, 1947 to 1949, and 1961 to 1969. Since 1969 he has been a professor of economics at the University of Texas in Austin.

Rostow became known for his theory of the stages of economic growth, which is opposed to the Marxist theory of socioeconomic formations. The stage theory, which serves as an apology for capitalism, asserts that in passing through a number of stages, capitalism is transformed into a society based on mass consumerism. In 1971, Rostow attempted to combine his concept of stages with an analysis of economic policy, which, he argues, is ultimately determined by a society’s level of technological development. In his works Rostow has been a militant anticommunist and the defender of a rigid policy toward the USSR.

WORKS

The Process of Economic Growth. New York, 1952.
The Stages of Economic Growth, 2nd ed. Cambridge, 1971.
Politics and the Stages of Growth. Cambridge, 1971.
The Diffusion of Power. New York, 1972.

REFERENCES

Osadchaia, I. Kritika sovremennykh burzhuaznykh teorii ekonomicheskogo rosta. Moscow, 1963. Zhirnitskii, A. “Politologiia’ po U. Rostou.” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, no. 5, 1972.

I. M. OSADCHAIA

Rostow, Walt Whitman

(1916–  ) economist; born in New York City. He served as a special adviser to President John F. Kennedy (1961–63) and was chairman of the Policy Planning Council at the State Department (1961–66). He was a strong supporter of the Vietnam War under President Lyndon B. Johnson and later returned to teaching at the University of Texas: Austin (1969). He is known for his expertise in the history of British economics as well as his theory that societies pass through five stages of economic growth.
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