rW.W. Rostow and the Stages of Economic Growth
One of the key thinkers in twentieth century Development Studies was W.W. Rostow, an American economist and government official. Prior to Rostow, approaches to development had been based on the assumption that "modernization" was characterized by the Western world (wealthier, more powerful countries at the time), which were able to advance from the initial stages of underdevelopment. Accordingly, other countries should model themselves after the West, aspiring to a "modern" state of capitalism and a liberal democracy. Using these ideas, Rostow penned his classic Stages of Economic Growth in 1960, which presented five steps through which all countries must pass to become developed and these are traditional society, preconditions to take-off, take-off, drive to maturity, and age of high mass consumption. The model asserted that all countries exist somewhere on this linear spectrum, and climb upward through each stage in the development process: Traditional Society: This stage is characterized by a subsistent, agricultural based economy, with intensive labor and low levels of trading, and a population that does not have a scientific perspective on the world and technology. Traditional societies are marked by their pre-Newtonian understanding and use of technology. These are societies which have pre-scientific understandings of gadgets, and believe that gods or spirits facilitate the procurement of goods, rather than man and his own ingenuity. The norms of economic growth are completely absent from these societies Preconditions to Take-off: Here, a society begins to develop manufacturing, and a more national/international, as opposed to regional, outlook. The preconditions to take-off are, to Rostow, that the society begins committing itself to secular education, that it enables a degree of capital mobilization, especially through the establishment of banks and currency, that an entrepreneurial class form, and that...
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