Theories of Development: Modernization vs. Dependency Theory - Essay Example

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Theories of development have been largely informed by the growing need to elucidate mass poverty, which has greatly affected the world and led to global inequality. Development schools of thought are a set of logical explanations of the interrelationships among different variables such as global stratification. …
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Theories of Development: Modernization vs. Dependency Theory
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Download file to see previous pages This acceleration was mainly demonstrated by the presiding facts and projects in many countries such as infrastructural transformations including dams and highways, changes in social formations including eliminating of traditional beliefs and practices that were considered possible social ills, and revamping of education systems with a focus on modern science and rationality. In this accelerated race to catch up with the West, the three-pronged strategy applied by these nations that underpinned what came to be referred by academics as modernization theory. The ideas of the modernization school of thought one way or another influenced the decisions and steps towards development taken by several countries during this period. Modernization theory, which largely draws its arguments on the biological sciences, which studied the growth and development of different species, has been a dominant theory in the social sciences in the Western world since the nineteen fifties. Through structural functionalism, societies are treated as structural functional units comprising institutions with adaptive systems that progress from one evolutionary stage to another (Parsons 125). In effect, modernization theorists argue that about five hundred years ago, most world populations were poor or living in traditional social formations but later on scientific innovation existed in many parts of the world including China, India and the Middle East. However, due to a variety of reasons such as the conquest of the New World and slavery, which modernization theory intentionally or unintentionally bypasses science and entrepreneurship advanced in Western Europe. The...
Modernization theory and dependency theory are two of the most common perspectives used by development theorists when approaching issues of global inequality. Comparison of these two schools of thought of development is essential to understand the current trends better in international relations and political science and future perspectives of the world objectively assess the relationships between developed and underdeveloped nations. Modernization theory conceives that countries go through various stages to achieve full economic development and points out that industrialization and improved technology are the key factors that enhance forward movement. On the other hand, dependency theory views modernization theory as Eurocentric and patronizing and explains global disparity as the result of developed Western countries forming a sequence of dependence by abusing resources and labor in the underdeveloped world.
Although the very nature of dependency theory makes it contrasting, there is commonality in the way both theories make absolute statements about the relationship between the developed and underdeveloped nations. It is my belief that dependency offers a better explanation for the global inequality as it is correct in claiming that global inequality is also a problem of distribution and politics. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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