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)
When the Second World War ended, it became clear that countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean were remaining poor despite exposure to capitalism and the rational scientific ways of thinking that underpinned this economic system. There was also the concern by the leaders of the wealthier countries that widespread poverty, encouraged by the strong mass appeal of communism, could lead to social unrest across the world. This political instability was seen by US politicians likely to limit ...view middle of the document...
The traditional views held by the inhabitance of these traditional societies were also preventing development. Views such as patriarchy which prevent intelligent skilled women from competing equally with men, particularism where people are judged on the basis of affective relationships rather than what they are capable of or what they have achieved, fatalism the view that things will never change and collectivism where the social group is placed ahead of one’s own interests all limit the society’s potential to develop.
The next stage in Rostow’s evolutionary ladder is what he calls the preconditions for takeoff. In this stage, western values, practices and expertise can be introduced to the society to assist the takeoff into modernization. This may be in the form of science and technology in order to modernize agriculture and infrastructure. Investment from western companies and aid from western government are essential to this stage of development.
Stage three is the takeoff stage and involves the society experiencing economic growth, as the new modern practices become the norm. Profits are reinvested in new technology and infrastructure and a new urbanized and entrepreneurial class emerges from the indigenous native population that is willing to take risks and invest in new industry.
Stage four sees continuing economic growth and more reinvestment particularly in education, mass media and birth control. The new forward thinking generation takes advantage of the new meritocratic opportunities open to them and as a result enjoy better living standards.
Finally, stage five, the society hits the ultimate stage of development. The economic production and growth are at western levels...