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The Modernization and Dependency Theories of Development - Essay Example

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It is the case that modernization theory and dependency theory has been the prevalent perspectives regarding socio-economic development.One of the main problems it wishes to interpret is the disparity between developed states and the less developed countries …
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The Modernization and Dependency Theories of Development
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Download file to see previous pages the United States and the United Kingdom) and the less developed countries found in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.This paper aims to present a comparative analysis between the modernization theory and the dependency theory; as such our aim is to highlight the differences in assumption and arguments of both theories that renders them to be of two opposing poles. We shall also attempt to investigate the points in which these frameworks meet and the issues they can find agreement on. It is imperative to first give a brief overview of the contents of both theories in order for as to clearly see the borders in which they work.Modernization as used in social sciences and in this case is defined as the transformation from a traditional, bucolic, and agrarian society into an urbanized and industrialized one (Johnson, 2005a). The social changes that constitute and results from such shift affects the society in which it is occurring entirely, a forward looking development in the lives of its constituents, and also deemed to be irreversible by modernist theorists.Modernization theory placed this concept as an overriding notion for its framework, initially putting emphasis and being born out of the rapid advancement of technology and the mass media during the 1950's and 60's (Johnson, 2005a). It can be recognized as having adapted features from the classic evolutionary theory as well as the functionalist theory. In terms of its evolutionary aspects, modernization theory is a process, literally a social and economic evolution, whereby it claims that all states go through various phases of development in a unidirectional/linear way. The most adopted formulation of such a view, is that of Walter Rostow's Stages of modernization: a.) the traditional (non-modern society that is still agriculturally based, and whose social structure is values and kinship oriented); b.) the takeoff stage can be triggered by natural, rapid climb to modernity because of the set of ideas of individualism, democracy and economic opportunity or pressure to adapt in the rise of other developing countries (this phase may be further characterized by a rise in investment and entrepreneurship, transportation and communications, economic shifts being technological shifts); c.) Drive to technological maturity (marked by the flourishing of national economy and dependence on foreign trade links is dictated by economic calculations and political priorities, not by technical and institutional necessities etc.); and the last stage would be the d.) mass-consumption marked by increase income thus rendering mas consumption possible, consumer goods and services centered production, and an investment in the welfare state (Julkunen, 2006).
The modernization theory asserts that the well developed countries have reached the advance stages if not the epitome of development and are at a position that could provide aide and role-modelling for the less developed states. One of the controversial claims of modernization is its appeal to homogenize society, by proposing that third world countries mimic/emulate the example of those in the western world.
Dependency in itself refers to the over reliance of one nation on another. Dependency theory arised as a response to the modernization theory; it's core principles and assumptions can be considered to be opposite to those upheld by the latter mentioned. The central claim of this theory is that there exist a highly unequal distribution of Power and resources in the world economic system, and places less developed countries (LCDs) in a dependent position in relation to the industrial powers (Johnson, 2005b). Being one of the many ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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