A number of Third World countries were former colonies, and with the end of imperialism, many of these countries, especially the smaller ones, were faced with the challenges of nation and institution building on their own for the first time. Due to this common background, many of these nations were "developing" in economic terms for most of the 20th century, and many still are today.
By the end of the 1960s, the idea of the Third World came to represent countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that were considered underdeveloped by the West based on a variety of characteristics; low economic development, low life expectancy, high rates of poverty and disease, etc. This meant these countries were not modern.
Rapley (2007) notes that therefore, for a country to be seen as modern, the modernization theorists prescribed these countries to undergo an evolutionary advance in technology, industrialization which in turn would lead to an increased standard of living for all. Thus it was premised that for 3rd world countries to develop they were supposed to take the same route as that of the developed nations
The Modernisation theory was popularized by W.W. Rostow (1960) who argued that all societies follow pre-determined or pre-defined steps to development. To him, modernization is a homogeneous process which leads all societies towards convergence and he gives five general stages that are to be followed by all societies as follows;
The traditional stage strongly tied to family and religion. For the theorists, traditional cultural values and social institutions impede economic growth because people in low income countries lack a strong work ethic, cannot defer gratification and therefore cannot invest and have large families that prevent investment. This stage is characterized by low output or production, elementary forms of technology and fatalistic values- viewing hardship as inevitable. Political power is non-centralized The pre-conditions for take-off stage is comprised of clusters of new ideas focusing on economic progress. Education becomes critical and the roles of women together with...