Modernisation and Dependency Theory

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The aim of this essay is to compare and contrast the modernization and dependency theories. It then attempts to determine which theory explains what is going wrong in developing countries. The essay begins by defining theory. Secondly, it defines the modernization and dependency theories and their examples that attempt to offer an explanation on what is going wrong in developing countries. A conclusion is finally drawn to summarize the comparisons and contrast between the two theories. Theory refers to a set of logical propositions that explain a given phenomenon. It is a set of organized ideas that offer logical explanations of the interrelationships among different variables, (Oxford dictionary, 2000). Development theories are, therefore, a set of logical propositions that explain how development occurred in history and how it should occur. Development theories particularly aim to reduce and eliminate oppression and poverty for example, in order to improve human conditions. Modernization is a process of change towards higher levels of development or civilization towards those of the western and European nations or the north countries. Modernism entails a style and movement in art, architecture and literature popular in the mid 20th century in which modern ideas, methods and materials were used rather than traditional ones, (Ibid). It involves the association of economic growth and development with progress and civilization. Growth is perceived to be a natural process which can be facilitated by rational utilization of inputs and available resources. Dependency refers to a country or an area that is controlled by another country, (Opt. cit). It is a situation where a certain group of countries have their economies conditioned by another group of countries. It implies reliance upon developed countries’ local and international economic policy to stimulate growth. Overtime, developed countries’ education systems, attitudes, manner of dress and consumption patterns are adopted by developing countries. Development is considered to be imitative in the sense that poor countries gradually assume qualities and characteristics of developed countries. The modernization became significantly popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It arose from Western Europe’s experience of economic history. It was boosted by the emergence of capitalism and the advancement of the industrial revolution. In 1960, an economic historian called W. Rostow devised five evolutionary stages in which a society passes through to attain economic development. They are called the linear stages model of economic development. Rostow states that economics provides the initial thrust of modernization. The stages are namely: * Traditional society; where production is limited by insufficiently developed economic techniques because of simple technology. Agriculture is the dominant form of production and the central organizing social elements are clan or extended family relationships. * Pre-conditions for take-off; where agriculture is the leading sector of production, hence, influencing growth in other sectors of production. That is, agro productivity increases and supports non-agricultural sectors. Improvement then follows in transportation and other social facilities. * Take off stage; here there is expansion of modern industry yielding profits that can be reinvested in new plans and ventures. The demand for factory workers increases, raw materials such as copper are processed to boost further industrial growth and, GDP per capita is usually 5-10 percent. Zambia for example, is undergoing this stage. Between 1880 and 1920, America’s industry rose from 25 percent to 33 percent in national economic contribution while agriculture trickled down from 51 percent to 26 percent, (Davidson W.J. et al, 1994: 661). * Drive to maturity; where economic growth is sustained. Modern technology is extended throughout the expanding economy. National incomes of 10-20...
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