Rostows Modernization Theory Article

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Rostows Modernization Theory Article

By | Feb. 2011
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Rostow’s Stages of Modernization

Technological advances happen everyday and in everyplace. As these technologies spread throughout the world, societies are becoming more industrialized. This industrialization will usually occur in four stages. The first is the Traditional Stage. In this stage, people hold on to cultural traditions and refuse to change. These societies are typically poor and their life is focused around communities and they follow well-worn paths. Because of these traditions these people find it hard to imagine life as another way and with little opportunity for advancement, the traditions continue on.

The second stage is called the Take-off Stage. In this stage people start to shake off the traditional family ties and start looking for self advancement. A market emerges as people start to produce goods for trade as opposed to producing them for themselves. Individualism and a stronger achievement orientation take hold.

The third stage is called the Drive to Technological Maturity. In this stage the “growth” that people first discovered in the Take-off Stage is now widely accepted and is the driving force behind a societies’ desire for higher living standards. A diverse economy drives an industrialized people. Unfortunately, people start to realize that the family ties they once held so dear are being eroded away. However, poverty has greatly declined, schooling is available to all people, and knowledge sparks people’s demands for greater political rights. People begin to be held as equals and urbanization reaches even the most rural of villages.

The fourth and final stage in Rostow’s Stages of Modernization is High Mass Consumption. In this stage, economic development driven by industrial technology steadily raises the standards of living. Mass production stimulates mass consumption causing people to “need” the massive amounts of goods being produced.

All countries that are becoming more modern have either gone through or are...
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