Modernization and Development
Notably, the United States has emerged to be a world superpower based on capitalist ideologies and with it came the need to influence the development of other countries based on their framework. In his inaugural address in 1949, Truman made it clear that it was the responsibility of America and other capitalist nations to assist underdeveloped countries (who had a primitive and stagnant economy) by giving them technical assistance (Truman, 1949). This implies that industrialization and modernization are equivalent to development. This paper seeks to address the matter head-on; does modernity lead to development. It further assesses whether the conceptual framework supported by the theorists is relevant at the present time. As illustrated above, Modernization is anchored on two critical pillars; continuous social change and development.
Walt Rostow’s theory of modernization, to some extent, captures both aspects of modernization although I will focus on the latter aspect in this paper. Rostow’s theory proposes that in every society, there are five stages of development (Rostow, 1959). The framework itself defines modernity in the sense that conditions keep changing, as opposed to traditionalism which advocates for strict conformity with culture and tradition. In the first stage, the economy of the society is static as it is majorly characterized by agriculture. During this stage, the society is embracing investment and Rostow attributed this to the industrial revolution (Rostow, 1959). During this period, the industrial revolution affected the agricultural sector hence the use of improved farming methods and equipment. Moreover, a society in this second stage begins to embrace a complex division of labor as jobs become available in the industries while the labor force in the agricultural industry becomes redundant (Rostow, 1959).
Using this framework to analyze modern-day societies, a society that fits the description of Rostow's second stage is still under-developed, going by modern day standards. The third stage of development is the takeoff. The final stage is the age of mass consumption (Rostow, 1959). In this society, the people are more prosperous and they are at more liberty than citizens in other societies (Rostow, 1959). In other words, democracy is flourishing in such a society while the country develops. Rostow expressly placed the West of the world in this category. According to Rostow, this is the highest level of development. However, I am of the opinion that it actually is relevant. As earlier indicated, it requires the total restructuring of the society's social, economic and political system.
Japan, which currently among the most developed countries went through rigorous cultural, social and political changes to get where it is. Moreover, in his study, Marks discovered that as Australia became more developed the impact of its socioeconomic background on areas such as education and gender inequality (for instance, the gender gap reduced) reduced (Marks, 2009). A critique of this opinion, maybe the misconception that modernization is always progressive; once a country becomes developed, for instance, if it becomes democratized, it cannot revert to its previous political ideologies. , Formations of Modernity. [online] Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. Available at: https://analepsis. files. wordpress. The Economic History Review, 12(1), pp. So, A. Social change and development. Thousand Oaks, United States: SAGE Publications Inc. Truman, H.
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