Modernization Theory

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The Global South is a part of the world located, as the name suggests, primarily in the southern hemisphere and in desperate need of development. “Development seeks to improve the welfare of people living in conditions of economic and social poverty” (Weaver 112). Why is the Global South seemingly prone to remain in this condition? That is a question that has been asked many times and answered in many different ways. Two interesting theories used to examine the development of Global South are: the Classical Economic Theory, also known as the Modernization Theory and the Dependency Theory. Perhaps one of these theories is more likely than the other to explain living conditions and the lack of development in the Global South.

According to modernization theory, there are steps “to success” for every country. As described by Walt Rostow in his 1962 book, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, a pattern of development needs to be taken in order for a country to become a profitable, sophisticated, modern economy, which in turn, is supposed to enrich the lives of that countries’ citizens. This is a very systematic theory, do this and that will happen. It is elucidated that there need to be “preconditions for takeoff” that will lead to “takeoff” and thus leading to “mass-consumption” (Mahler 45). The portion that is absent from this theory is that this framework assumes that all countries will follow the same (exact) predetermined paths to development. Too many intervening variables will affect a states’ ability to develop. For example, Mexico is geographically destined to have a difficult economy due to the deserts, forests, and mountains that makes only twelve percent of Mexico’s land arable, as well as, the fact that there are no major rivers in Mexico. These factors all contribute to making it difficult for Mexico to develop because it inhibits transportation, directly affecting Mexico’s ability to export and import goods...
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