Modernization Theory Essay

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Modernization Theory Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1021

  • Pages: 4

Modernization Theory

Modernization theory is a theory that explains the process of improvement from an older culture to the newest one as well as explains the changing ways of communication and media use in traditional and postmodern societies. The theory takes into consideration factors from a certain place with the assumption that traditional places can be developed to the most recent manners. Modernization theory does not only stress there to be a change but also response to that change. It also looks at internal dynamic while referring to social and cultural structures and the adaptation of new technologies. So essentially, what is modernization and what does this theory consist of? To put it simply, modernization is the economic growth within societies. And the modernization theory believes that there are steps to success for every country. Modernization theory evolved in three different time periods. The first wave appeared between the 1950s and 1960s. Western cultures and styles of living were the main goals to reach along with culture, motivations and achievements. Three variants that this first wave brought with them were one; economic developments in which mass media promote the global diffusion of many technical and social innovations that are essential to modernization, two; literacy and cultural developments allow for mas media to teach literacy and other essential skills and techniques and three; national identity development permits mass media to support national identities in new nations and attention to democratic policies.

The second wave of modernization theory is a part of the critical theory that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. This did not support but instead it criticized the influence of Western modernization. Within this criticism exists another theory called media dependency theory where developing countries are assumed to be dependent on mass media in the core of the Western world. The third wave of modernization theory began to rise in the 1990s. It is here that the modernization begins to be more neutral, neither in favor nor against Western modernization. Instead, it tries to expose the contradictions in the modernization process and simply help explain the consequences of modern living in contemporary society. The theory of modernization has its roots in the ideas of some scholars they produced different theories about the origins, characters, and future path of modern industrial society. Modernization theory is only optimistic and full of contradictions. It is important to understand the history of a situation so a more realist approach can be taken to solve it. Now that the history is understood, it is possible to work with it and correct its faults so that the world will not be stuck anymore. The contemporary debate over modernization theory has in many respects circled back to researchers agendas.

Alongside endless empirical studies of the correlation between wealth and democracy, scholars have tried to untangle precisely how and why economic and political developments are related. During the Cold War era, there were three successful theories of global evolution at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The Marxist school that compared modernization improvements with promotion of imperialism and social class exploitation has transformed into a larger liberal program, appealing to conflict against the United States and its limited allies as an instrument for more just economic distribution and more checks in global political expansion.

The target of globalization more clearly identifies the problem of an enforced overseas model reducing cultural diversity and self-government; raising the profile of nationalism over the old subject of class struggle. It is not hard to understand why the hegemonic globalization school may be less outspoken, considering the fact that the meaning of its warnings of threats that can only be addressed in a world prepared under clear leadership and newly accommodated to containing political development that allows security dangers to progress and grow. Its neoconservative message calls for imposing a single model, more than comparing alternative approaches of nations and regions while accepting the benefits of diversity.

Qualified studies done by multilateral globalization school show that modernization theory accepts that the merge is a long-term progression that must remain incomplete as civilizations find consolation in what distinguishes them. The fast pace of technological changes help accelerate integration, and there will be risk of increased interdependence and exposure that will only require more security collaboration. Yet the driving forces of the global system will remain states competing to gain an advantage in boosting their economies and national power. In the context of growing world integration, states will still be in competition to capitalize on modernization and shape the global system.

Modernization theory predicts that strong economic growth raises homicide rate as it disrupts traditional modes of social organization and control. The same applies to higher levels of income, at least up to a certain point. It is only after a country has successfully developed and has reached a new more of socio-economic organization and non-traditional social reforms of control that crime rates can be expected to decline again – if not with the respect to property crime, then at least as concerns violent crime. This is compatible with modernization theory based on Durkheim n that moral individualism need not lead to higher rates of violence crimes as so-called organic solidarity will eventually substitute for traditional social control and constraints on individual behavior.

Modernization theory is good for the greater of all but because it is a general theory its actions can be biased. Even with its contemporary works, it continues being a work in progress to make it better than what it is. Living in the twenty-first century only means more and faster technology, programs, data and many other things that are out there that certain places, countries and nations have possibly yet to discover or be aware of. Possibly, by giving that extra hand and helping one another as a civilization, this good for the greater of all can simply be greatness for all.

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Modernization Theory Essay

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Modernization Theory Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 901

  • Pages: 4

Modernization Theory

According to Macionis (2010), the definition of modernization theory “is a model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of technological and cultural differences between nations”. Modernization theory is a description, explanation, and account of the way of traditional and under established or underdeveloped societies, compared to more modern societies. Modernization is one of the most important perspectives in development and underdevelopment since the 1950s. Primary attention has focused on ways in which past and present modern societies become modern through the process of economic growth and change in community, educational, and supporting structures. Modernization is the process in which society experiences industrialization urbanization and many other social changes that transform the lives of the population. Social change has been, and probably will continue to be, a complex process that reflects the priorities we set for any nation as well as our will to achieve them.

Modernization has rapidly manifested itself through four distinct categories; the decline of small traditional communities, expansion of personal choice, increasing social diversity, and orientation toward the future and growing awareness. Society will continue to change as new technology is developed and new ideas are explored. Modernization can produce many rewarding results. On the other hand, according to some theorists it can be detrimental to certain societies. With modernization comes the decline of small traditional communities, the foothold to the once solidarity and meaning of society’s experience, weakened if not destroyed all together. For thousands of years, before the industrial revolutions, people lived in rural villages spread throughout the land. These societies revolved around family and neighbor, and valued traditions, where each person had a well-defined roll, a strong sense of identity, belonging and purpose.

Yet, the downside to life in these rural village’s people was that they had limited personal choice in what they could do. Some of the negative consequences of modernization are: it lessens the requirement for labor, creating job cuts. At one point in time, modernization became the problem of the environment pollution. You can see the detrimental effects from the industrial fog hanging above our large cities. This fog is caused mostly by automobiles and industrial plants. Prevalence of terrorism is also a consequence, and face-to-face social interaction is dwindling. Some of the positive consequences of modernization are: it reduces costs, improves the quality of goods, deliverance of goods is faster, efficiency level is higher, people stay healthy longer, communication is improved, and so forth.

With modernization in an area, comes the resistance from traditional people. Change is an uncomfortable thing for the older generations. Some people see modernization in a bad way because they feel that it has destroyed our traditional values. They might feel that the modern way of life has affected our rules and our principles. The term modernization is connected to technology, which does not affect cultural traditions exactly. Cell phones, for example, are not used in churches or temples, a place of tradition. The amount of information technology can bring however, will influence traditional thinking. Some say that one only has to turn on the local news to realize that never has it been clearer that the perceptions and values taught by our ancestors have fallen at the feet of modernization. Some people feel “too old” to learn the new ways of the world. Technology, as they see it, could possibly destroy human relationships.

The personal computer and internet have replaced the post cards and even the human conversations. Mobile messages have replaced the human voice. I believe that one can preserve all the traditions one wants, but with the rest of the world moving forward a balance can be established between tradition and modernization. Modernization is necessary if the country desires to be included in the economic development and advancements that are around us. Assuming that modernization is a systematic and transformative process, from an economic development perspective, accounting for the developmental stages of a society (traditional society, precondition for takeoff, the takeoff process, the drive to maturity, and high mass consumption), one could systematically modernize a Third World Country.

Countries in Latin America, Cambodia, and Laos, to name a few, stagnated in development due to their lack of productive investments and stood to benefit from mitigating efforts based out of the modernization theory. The modernization solution to their stagnation relied on the provision of aid to these countries in the form of capital, technology, and expertise. Once modernization takes hold of a society, it will never let go. People with knowledge want more. The more people know, the more they want to know, so yes modernization is here to stay. The trend has become a worldwide trend. However, there are many areas of the world that have yet to be touched by modernization and the ways of the modern world, but it is only a matter of time before they too are assimilated into the process and are unable to resist the impetus towards modernization.

References

Macionis, J. (2010). Soc 100: Sociology: 2011 custom edition (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ. (pp. 312-316). Google (2012). Modernization, Retrieved May 2, 2012 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/387301/modernization

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Modernization theory Essay

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Modernization theory Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2333

  • Pages: 9

Modernization theory

Modernization theory focuses on the main idea that the processes which the currently developed countries went through are vital to achieving development in the underdeveloped and developing countries. Modernization is thought to take place in five stages according to the Rostow’s stage theory (Rostow 1960), namely; • The traditional society • Take-off preconditions • Take-off • Drive to maturity • High mass consumption age

The modernization theory is based on the idea of human progress according to Carneiro (2003) although according to Jones (1985) and McNeill (1990), the idea of human progress seemed unrealistic so long as man did not significantly influence the natural environment and as long as there was no perceptible change in the agrarian economies from one generation to the next. The developed countries are to serve an important role in helping the developing countries to achieve their level of development and serve as examples.

Modernization traces its origin in the enlightenment era with the focus that progress in technology would help man overcome the challenges that the nature posed and man would have control over nature. Condorcet (1979) argued that moral values of people would change through economic development and technological progress, and therefore linked cultural change to economic development. Rostow (1961) argued that the economic effectiveness in the countries of low incomes is hampered by their social institutions and traditional cultural values.

In these countries large population do not allow the individuals to save, as does the lack of strong work ethic (Giddens, & Griffiths2006). According to the Marxist version of the modernization theory, early industrial society was characterized by exploitation. Growth of the developing countries would result from the use of education and technology. Allocation of resources in the developing countries in an irrational way was linked to the drawback in the industrialization of these countries.

In order for a country to develop, it was necessary to remove the cultural, institutional and organizational roadblocks on its way to modernization and allocate resources rationally. Modernization is, according to Inglehart & Welzel (2005), a process of the development of human where development of the economy triggers cultural changes which make democracy, gender equality, and individual autonomy increasingly possible.

In addition to bringing out the root causes of the problems existing in the underdeveloped or developing countries, the theory also can help countries focus on means and ways of alleviating poverty by emulating the already developed countries. The theory puts strength to the fact that development is reachable, even by the underdeveloped and the developing nations and therefore can help the latter to put efforts to reach the developed world.

The theory explains an important point why the developing countries cannot wake up one day and expect to see themselves developed, but that to achieve development, a particular process is followed-building the sub-processes in this process is of paramount importance to the countries of low economy. Dependency theory can be defined as an explanation of the development of the economy of a country’s or state’s development policy as influenced by the outside forces of cultural, economical, and political aspects (Sunkel, 1969).

It is a system through which the developmental possibilities of the subordinate countries are disadvantaged and conditioned by the economic expansion and development of another country (Dos Santos, 1971). Dependency theory emanated in the 1950s with Raul Prebisch who was the director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and together with his colleagues was not comfortable with the way the developed economy in the developed nations failed to lead to growth in the poorer countries.

According to him, the poorer countries exported the raw materials to the developed countries and yet received the same goods as processed goods and the earnings from the exports was not enough to fund the imports. Prebisch offered a solution for the poor countries to substitute imports and avoid use of their foreign reserves to purchase for imports of manufactured goods. Import substitution was hard to follow because of obstacles that were facing the poorer countries.

These included: the possibility or ability of controlling their exports of primary products; political will as concerning desire or possibility to shifting from producing primary goods; and the inability of the small internal markets of the poorer countries which made them unable to support the economies of scale used by the richer countries to keep their prices low. International capitalism has been mentioned as the force causing dependency relationship According to Gunder (1972), contemporary underdevelopment is as a result of continued relationships-economic or others-between the developed and the poorer countries.

Unlike imperialism which explains dominant state expansion, dependency explains underdevelopment-the result of imperialism. Dependency theory was developed as a result of combination of economic doctrine called structuralism, and Marxist sociology. It blamed the US intervention and the role of the Latin America in the world economy as failing to achieve development and its political authoritarianism as a result of its role in exporting raw materials in the world economy.

America was said to suffer deterioration in the terms of trade by experiencing cheaper exports due to low wage resulting from surplus labor, and more expensive imports because, instead of the productivity gains being passed on as lower prices, they were going to the increasingly monopolistic industrial firms. Latin America would therefore, because of this free trade, not be able to accumulate surplus capital required to industrialize.

The difference between developed and underdeveloped economies was said not only to be on state of the system of production, or simple difference of stage, but also to be of position or function within a single international economic structure of production and distribution. Poverty of the countries was blamed for the richness of some others, not because of any failure (Reid, 2007). Social exclusion of masses as a result of domination of the economy through industrial monopolies yielded to urbanization void of industrialization (Reid, 2007).

As a payment to investments, the foreign investors required that the state discipline those demanding high wages leading to military dictatorship. Although their diverging points on the theory, there is an agreement in issues like the influence of external forces that developed world use to extend their interests abroad which includes foreign aids, communications, multinational corporations and other tools. In all the definitions there is an agreement that there exist two sets of states; the dominant and the dependent, centre and the periphery, the metropolitan and the satellite.

All of the definitions point to dynamism of the relationship between the dominant and the dynamic country since the interactions between them tend to reinforce and intensify the unfair patterns (Ferraro, 1996). Like the Modernization theory which can be considered to be developed by different people, the dependency theory also is said to have arisen in three principle formulations. According to Reid (2007) the first principal formulation of the dependency theory focused on formal and institutional relationships such as trade relations and foreign trade, as factors which were sources to dependency.

The second formulation treated the theory as a subfield of the refined imperialism theory of the Leninist and the analysis of capitalism by Marxist. The third formulation dealt with the two previous definitions. The theory has assisted in shedding light as concerns the exploitation existing in the monopolistic world market where countries with strong economies try to dominate over those with weak economies and create a monopolistic effect of trade.

Continued use of foreign aid to the poor nations, which has seen countries being over-reliance to donors, has left poor countries with no solid alternatives than to pledge loyalty to the developing nations. The theory has helped in enumerating the disadvantages that can be acquired from capitalism especially where the capitalism is the influence to the establishment of relations between countries. The theory was criticized as eroding Latin American’s belief in selves, according to Lawrence Harrison, in addition to patronizing and paralyzing Latin America.

The formulations were attacked as ignoring or undermining the other causes of underdevelopment such as internal social and cultural factors and were neglect of culture, race, gender and ethnicity. Besides, there were some countries like Asian countries which developed purely on a capitalistic system, and countries like Taiwan and South Korea developed through the ideas that have been propelled in the development theory (‘Dependency verses Dependency theory’). The theory has been blamed as indicating that for a country to succeed, it should join others who have succeeded in the exploitation of some, even if it does this on a regional level.

It has been termed to be a strategy left only for the smaller third world countries with no real alternative market, and is no strategy at all. The dependency theory work has been blamed also for criticizing development in the third world, indicating that such development builds a society different from that at the core (developed world) and that there is no way the resulting society can be as that at the core. Development in the third world can be best described, as the dependency theory points out, development of underdeveloped and not as the advertised development.

The similarities between the two theories can summarized as follows: • Both theories concern themselves with the relationship between the underdeveloped and the developing with the developed countries. While the modernization theory is concerned with the view that the developed countries should serve as an example to the developing or underdeveloped countries for development purposes, the dependency theory explains the development of the country in relation to the outside forces or influences which may be as a result of the activities of the developed countries.

Both therefore deal with and recognize that there exist the relationship between thee two types of countries. • Both theories are consent to the idea that the developed countries have a superior hand in terms of the economy, over the developing or the underdeveloped world. The difference in this area is that the dependency theory seems to indicate an unfair dominance of the developed economies over the developing or underdeveloped ones, whereas the modernization theory views the relationship as health-that the developed economies can assist the underdeveloped or the developing ones

• Both theories do not give a one-sided explanation as concerns the causes of the low economic status in the developing or underdeveloped countries. While the modernization theory gives a critical look at the reason for the poor economic status of the developing or underdeveloped nations as being a result of the problems already existing such as overpopulation and lack of work ethics, it may be seen as neglecting the role of the developed economies in the resulting economic problems of the third word countries.

In its explanation to the resulting economic difficulties in the third world, dependency theory has leaned unfairly away from the role played by the third world countries in resulting to their own economic problems. It has been blamed, as seen earlier, as neglecting the social economic factors that contribute to economic problems in third world countries. It can be seen to be unfairly explaining the problem as a result to exploitation and external forces. • There are a range of modifications or disagreements arising among scholars in the development of the two theories

Other differences • While the modernization theory seems to explain the causes of poor economy in the third world as the result of the activities of the countries themselves for example through poor allocation of resources, and with a view to solving it, the dependency theory can largely be described as a criticism to the developed countries as being the cause to the problems of the economy in the third world. The modernization theory focuses on the internal causes of the poor economy in the third world, but the dependency theory focuses on the external influences

• The dependency theory is devoid of a clean sheet and proper strategy of solving the economic problem of the third world in a non fair market, to the event that it has been described as a ‘no strategy at all’. The modernization theory presents a way of solving the problems of economy affecting the third world such as substitution of imports, advance in use of technology and further education to improve economy.

References Andre Gunder Frank, “The Development of Underdevelopment,” in James D. Cockcroft, Andre Gunder Frank, and Dale Johnson, eds., Dependence and Underdevelopment. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, p. 3. ‘Development verses Dependency theory’ Retrieved November 13, 2008 from http://www. revision-notes. co. uk/revision/619. html Dos Santos Theotonio. “The Structure of Dependence,” in K. T. Fann and Donald C. Hodges, eds. , Readings in U. S. Imperialism. Boston: Porter Sargent, 1971, p. 226 Ferraro Vincent. Dependency Theory: An Introduction. July 1996. Retrieved November 13, 2008 from http://www. mtholyoke. edu/acad/intrel/depend. htm Giddens Anthony & Simon Griffiths. (2006).

Sociology. Polity Hogan Michael, Thomas Paterson. (2004). Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press Inglehart Ronald & Christian Welzel. (2005). Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reid Michael. Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul. Yale: Yale University Press Sunkel Svaldo. “National Development Policy and External Dependence in Latin America,” The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 6, no. 1, October 1969, p. 23

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