Modernization and Dependency Theory

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While there are merits to both modernization and dependency theory, which one in your opinion aptly explains Pakistan’s current socio economic woes? A country plagued by a myriad of critical issues, Pakistan’s deepening woes have dented its image in the social and economic strata. While theorists have provided several ideologies concerning its current dilemma, this paper discusses Pakistan’s predicament in the light of the principles of the development theory: modernization and dependency theories. Both the theories relate to the implications of development in Third World countries; in this case being Pakistan. For a country to be seen as modern, modernisation theorists say it has to undergo an evolutionary advance in science and technology which in turn would lead to an increased standard of living for all (Maria Keet). On the contrary dependency theorists believe that dependence is a situation in which the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy to which the former is subjected (Dos Santos, 1970). While there is ample proof to believe that modernization is actually beneficial than detrimental to Pakistan, however, its dependency on a “core” of wealthy states is giving birth to a number of grave issues. There is a dire need to augment modernization in Pakistan for its promotion will certainly even out extremism as well as an increasing radicalization in the country. Those in favour of modernization argue that it boosts the economy as well as the social standing of the society. Improved infrastructure, excelling education and a sense of achievement, universalism and individualism can be directly attributed to the theory which is certainly required in Pakistan. However, modernization is wiping out traditional values and is targeting the upper strata of this country. This fear can be negated as several theorists believe that the cultures of developing countries e.g. the importance of family, may be a response to economic insecurity and low levels of material well-being; not the cause of it. (Inglehart and Baker 2000). Paul Baran’s attempts to redefine underdevelopment and dependence from the perspective of Third World countries fit Pakistan perfectly. He argued that the 'backward' countries were characterized by dual economies: a large agricultural sector and a small industrialized sector (Martinussen, 1997:86). Back in the 60’s during the Green revolution in Pakistan, an agro-based economy was attributed to the country’s wide scale success as a leader in south-east Asia. Pakistan’s economic growth rate was the highest amongst the region and its economic and social plans were adopted by far-eastern countries. Half a century later the same country, which was once looked upon as a model for progress, is deemed as one of the most corrupt states with the worst economic growth in the region. (The New York Times, 2012). A brief scrutiny of the last decade will provide an insight to Pakistan’s predicament: $18 billion dollars worth of military and economic aid has been provided to Pakistan by the U.S alone (Department of Defense statistics). Pakistan’s total debt has risen to $130 billion, which implies that every Pakistani citizen owes The World Bank a total of Rs. 112,000 (DAWN). While these figures and facts certainly raise an eyebrow, the consequences of this country’s dependence on aid have severely wounded its roots. In the current era of industrialization and modernization, the potential to reap profits from agricultural produce is minimal (Keet, 2002). As aforementioned, 70% of Pakistan’s population is dependent, directly or otherwise, to agriculture and yet it only contributes 25% to the GDP (UAF). This has been the single most distinctive pattern in the country where it started producing what was good for others, rather than what benefited itself. This problem relates directly to the Neo-Marxist dependency theories where all trade is monopolist and controlled by the...
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