A2 Sociology - World Sociology - Modernisation and Neoliberal Theory

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Compare and contrast Modernisation Theory and Neoliberalism Theory on underdevelopment.

Modernisation Theory and the Neoliberalism Theory both have similar views of underdevelopment such as both perspectives have the same goals and see development as a process of becoming ‘more like us’. However, the Neoliberalism Theory differs as they believe in ‘trade not aid’ as countries such as Britain and America didn’t rely on aid.

Modernisation Theory is heavily influenced by Charles Darwin as they argue that societies evolve through a set of stages until they become modernised, like a living organism. Modernity is arrived at through a process of development sparked by industrialization. Rostow’s five stages of development shows the societal evolution and argues that every society will evolve through five distinct stages; Traditional Society, Preconditions for Take-Off, Take-Off, Drive to Maturity and Age of Mass Consumption.

The Traditional Stage is the first stage which is a subsistence economy based on farming. This stage consists of people living in small communities producing enough food for survival. It can be distinguished by the use of limited and ‘unsophisticated’ technologies with people being very interdependent on each other. Preconditions for Take-Off is the second stage where innovations in technology begin occurring. This means production will become more efficient and that a surplus product can be sold for a profit. External trades will also develop, as producers will begin to sell their products outside of the community. Take-off is the third stage, which is where industrialisation increases and workers would switch from land to manufacturing. An important part of this stage would be the emergence of entrepreneurs who reinvest their profits in infrastructure and new technologies. Once reinvestment becomes an important level (10% of GDP), it would have reached the Take-Off stage. Drive to Maturity is the fourth stage, which is the stage where new...
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