Is it truly as Eurocentric as people claim? Modernization theory suggested that societies moved through natural stages of development as they progressed towards becoming developed societies (i.e. stable, democratic, market oriented, and capitalist) (Little, 2014). Walt W.
Two salient historical factors that boosted the formation of modernization theory, were the end of the Second World War, with the beginning of the Cold War and the bipolar rivalry, and the decolonization process of most of Asia and Africa. In this historical context, modernization theory found its roots in the desire of the United Stated to overthrow the Soviet Union and thus becoming the main source of influence for the Third World Countries that were deemed as extremely vulnerable and thus important amenable allies. (Decolonization, cold war and modernization theory, 178). This period was characterized by a rising attention of the international community to the social conditions of these areas of the world, that begun to be conceived as conditions of “underdevelopment”. The concept of modernization was therefore shaped by the association of development with the process of transition of these countries from their situation of backwardness to modernity, intended as similarity with the West
Modernization theory believes that capitalist or investments from developed countries are the solution towards the poverty. Therefore, the encouraged of capitalist will make these poor countries become an industrialization country. Industrialization are refer to the structural change that backward countries experience in their development process from an agriculture society to an industrial economy, with the profound changes in the society that this entails (Kuznets,1973). According to Timmer and Szirmai (2000), it is associated with higher productivity growth and per capita income, described as a “structural bonus”. Based on this, capitalism is the best way to raise the well-being of the poor countries.
Rather, this term is shorthand for a variety of perspectives that were applied by non-Marxists to the Third World in the 1950s and 1960s. The dominant themes of such perspectives arose from established sociological traditions and involved the reinterpretation, often conscious, of the concerns of classical sociology. Evolutionism (with its focus on increasing differentiation), diffusionism, structural functionalism, systems theory and interactionism all combined to help form the mish-mash of ideas that came to be known as modernization theory. There were inputs from other disciplines, for example, political science, anthropology, psychology, economics and geography, and in the two decades after the Second World War such perspectives were increasingly applied to the Third World. In many respects, the beginnings of modernization theory can be traced to antiquity, when the notion of evolution was first used with reference to human society.
Modernization theory assumes that all countries could follow the same path to development and that the kind development that industrialized Western countries have is desirable (Little et al., 2014). Despite its Eurocentric nature, the modernization theory offers some objective measures regarding the benefits of following a development pathway, such as better standards of living and improved life expectancy (Little et al., 2014). Dependency theory, on the other hand, assumes that low-income countries are passively letting themselves exploited (Little et al., 2014). The rise of the garment industry in Bangladesh after the initial Daewoo investment illustrates that economic imperialism has many unintended consequences; knowledge leaks and spillover effects mean that the hinterland may kickstart its own economic growth using the knowledge, skills, and assets provided by the metropolis (Easterly, 2002). However, it provides important insights regarding power relationships between countries as they engage in trade.
The modernization theorists believe and argue that change is unavoidable and the transformation from traditional to modern societies will occur in a linear way. There are many ways for change to take place such as political institutions, economic institutions, technology and mass media and through education. Rostow’s modernization theory is around “five stages of economic growth” which was alternative to Marx’s theory of economic development. Rostow in his theory of modernization argues that an underdeveloped nation “take-off” toward modernity is achievable through the spread of technology and the modern economic organizations. According to Rostow, all societies, in their economics dimension are lying within one of the five categories: traditional society, pre-condition for take-off, take off, the drive to maturity and the age of high
One of the most prominent authors of modernization theory was Walt Rostow, who identified the different components in what makes states economically developed or undeveloped (Rostow, 1960, p. 2). Through Rostow’s ‘stages of economic growth’ theory, some theorists believe that all societies, regardless of the scope of their economies can be found to fit into one of the five stages of growth. These are known as: the traditional society, the preconditions for take-off, the take-off, the drive to maturity, and finally the age of mass consumption (Rostow, 1960, p. 4). This is the one and only path towards development under Rostow’s thinking, as the goal is for every state to liberalise and industrialise to a state of high mass consumption. In this sense, Rostow sees a developed state as one where the majority of the population can afford to spend freely on consumer products and where the economy is mainly urban-based rather than one that is predominantly based on agriculture (Willis, 2005, p.
With this, the burden on the national budget has progressively escalated. This has increased the deficit and lead to raise borrowing, consequently it increased the public debt. And when the public debt increase it had an impact on the sovereignty, then back to exploitation which is the main reason for modernization theory application. Also the privatization widened the income disparities with inflation affecting household consumption and expenditure patterns and straining the coping capacities of the lower and middle-income groups that has led to social issues and lead to corruption in the public sector. Also the privatization reduces the governmental role in terms of national development and left it for the private sector to take the lead on it as part of corporate social responsibility which was not the priority in Jordan case while this was the case in Western
The same pattern can be seen here, with Western policymakers believing Western ideals to be easily implemented into a new society of a different culture and history, as if the other country was soft clay waiting to be molded by Western hands. Many critics were becoming increasingly concerned with developmental intervention as the means of attaining political and global stability in light of US support of dictators like Nguyen van Thieu in South Vietnam as well as environmental and ecological damage caused by the ‘green revolution’. Thus, Latham provides a succinct, concise yet informational volume about the role of modernization theory and its impact on US foreign policy in the various countries explored. Although he relies mainly on secondary sources, primary sources have been included to substantiate his argument. His points are exceptionally salient in the contemporary age as well as the time it was written, with new threats to global security emerging sometimes directly because of reckless American intervention based on the theory of
It also lacks coherence and the academic community itself. The school of thought also attempted to create a universal system, which in theory, is not efficient when addressing real world problems and providing real pictures. Criticism Developmentalism is a school of thought that based on “neo-colonialism” belief, which allows established economies or nations to colonize those nations that are backward or underdeveloped. This has been witnessed throughout history that such dominance over the weak is never stable and always wreaks havoc and conflict among nations. It also implies Western supremacy over underdeveloped nations, which is not morally and ethically correct as all human beings have equal rights and no nation must be claimed superior to another.