Modernization Theory Essay Gloval Development

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of modernization theory as an explanation for differences in the levels of development of different societies (18 marks) Modernization theory first arose after world war two in 1945, when western countries like the US, Britain and France all believed that capitalism was the only way to modernize countries in Eastern Europe. It became clear that many countries in Africa, Asia, Southern America, and the Caribbean were remaining poor despite their full exposure to capitalism. The roots of modernization theory originate from sociologists Durkheim and Tonnies, who argued that societies evolve through predictable stages towards modernity. Rostow, an American sociologist, created the five stages of the development ladder. The first stage of development is, ‘traditional societies’, which is when the country identifies that values such as patriarchy, ascription, particularism and collectivism all limit their prospect of change and modernity. The second stage, ‘pre-conditions for take-off’, is when western values and expertise are introduced into the country and the industrialisation process begins. After this ‘Take-off’ occurs, where economic growth begins, western practices become the norm, entrepreneurial classes begin to emerge and exporting increases. Fourth is the ‘drive to modernity’, where reinvestment guarantees a meritocratic society where living standards, trade power and education all increases. And the fifth stage consists of society hitting the ultimate stage of development, where the majority of the population live in urban areas rather than rural areas, living a lifestyle organized around ‘conspicuous consumption’. Modernization theory has two aims; the first aim of modernization theory is to explain why poor countries have failed to develop and the second aim is to provide a non-communist solution to poverty by suggesting particular cultural values, such as capitalism, which can bring...
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