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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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his essay will compare and contrast the modernization theory and the dependency theory, it will first discuss modernization theory by looking at Rostaw,s stage of economic growth in practice using United State as an example, then it will examine the dependency theory with reference to the world- system theory. It will then talk about criticisms of the two theory in question.

Modernization and dependency are theories which explain in detail the concept of development. These two theories reveal valid clarifications for both development and underdevelopment of developed and developing countries. Nonetheless, in order for this essay to successfully compare and contrast these theories it is fundamental to really know the real meaning of both theories.

There exist very substantial differences between the Modernization Theory and The Dependency theory. It has also been found sometimes that both of this theories are hostile to each other concerning their way of seeing

 the international relationships and the development of the world. The major dissimilarities between these two theories lies in the connection between the developed and developing nations. In fact it has been sighted that the major distinctions between these two theories exist from the beginning of the Dependency Theory itself which was created in response to the Modernization Theory (Theory, Dependency Theory v. Modernization, 2007).

The modernization theory was put forward before the dependency theory in the 1960s. This theory is commonly used in many context of development like politics, religion , economics and it is grounded on four main hypotheses. The modernization theory insinuates that development is a linear evolutionary process that should follow the footsteps and the way developed countries developed,(Delacroix, 1978) The idea of that theory is focused on the fact that development is a sequences of successive phases through which all developed countries has gone through. Therefore, modernity, policies aimed to raise the living condition of the poor often consist of spreading information and knowledge about more proficient methods of production. For instance, the agriculture modernization process involves persuading farmers to try new crops, new production technics and new marketing strategies  (Academicjournals.org, 2011)  Consequently, the Western countries societies are most sophisticated in terms of social and political technological terms, they also go through a series of phases on their rate to be more advanced. The well known Modernization theorist Rostow publicized that, modernization theory has five important stages that a traditional society has to pass through to convert into a Modern society.(Rostow, 1990) . In his theory he believe that all countries pass through these stages in order to for them to reach a stage of  being a modern and  developed nation. Therefore, the Rostowian theory identifies these five phases which the less developed have to take. Firstly it is the Primitive society stage, that phases is characterized  by subsistence farming and barter trade. The Second is the Preparation for take-off which is characterized by specialization, production of surplus goods and trade. Transport infrastructure is improved to support trade. To add on, the stage promotes savings and investment. Thirdly it is the Take-off stage where industrialization boosts  and the economy moves from agriculture to manufacturing. The fourth stage is viewed as the Drive to development where the economy spreads into new areas and there is more independence from imports. And the last phase is Period of mass consumption where the economy works on mass  production and service sector becomes gradually dominating (Rostow, 1990). Over all, modernization guided to the introduction of hybrids, genetically modified food , the green house technology, use of new fertilizers, and the application of other  new scientific knowledge to replace traditional agricultural practices specially on the African continent. Modernisation is about exchange of older agriculture  practices with something more recent.

According to Roul Prebish dependency theory is the relationship between two or more countries pretends the form of independence when some dominant countries can do this as sign of the expansion. Consequently the relationship between these countries is completely unequal. The dependency theory views developing countries as  politically traditionalist because they view  them as undeveloped because they don’t have the abilities that developed countries have, this is contrasted with the dependency theory which sees development as due to the misuse and exploitation of advanced nations, (Ferraro, 1966) .Moreover dependency theory states that, there is the core, semi periphery and the periphery. The core entails of developed countries, semi  periphery is the Newly industrialized countries like Brazil and the peripheries are developing countries. (Rostow,1990)

the Dependency Theory stands in striking difference to the Modernization Theory and underlines the fact that involvement between the developed and developing countries is not really founded on the mutual assistance between them which keeps on growing rather it is centered on reliance of developing countries on the Western ones. To explain the fact, according to the Dependency Theory it is evident that the Western countries are much more advanced and superior than the Third World countries. The developing countries are thus being obliged to choose this method of development however they are not willingly choosing to go after the developed countries as examples of development. They follow that example because they want to be part of the world community and to avoid the seclusion of the country or this is even more harshly seen as high level interference of developed nations in their internal policies. So the supporters of Dependency Theory believe that Western countries oblige their politics and rules on the developing nations either they like it or not. This shows that the Third World countries are being coerced to tag along and obey the western rules and guidelines and any types of noncompliance by the developing nations can lead to economic sanctions or worse it can also bring about  military intrusion by the developed countries ((En.modernization.ac.cn, 2000) ). Hence the Dependency Theory totally refutes and opposes any development in western method as a cure for any types of issues present in developing countries. They think that such kind of mounting dependence of the developing countries on the developed countries makes the socio-economic developments difficult.(Brenya and Abu Gyamfi, 2010)

The reason for some dependency theorists is the things that occurred during the colonial period and how the nation at the core have exploited the colonies and developed tremendously and continue to do so Even today although colonialism has long been ended through neocolonialism this exploitation still continues. They believe that this is mainly visible through foreign debt and trade or even international aid. Let us comprehend this further. Many developed countries give foreign debts to poor countries under several development structures sometimes directly and at other times they passed through international organizations such as the world bank the International Monetary Fund . This makes them economically reliant on the rich countries and forever in debt to them. They cannot develop at a rapid phase as the country is more concerned about paying their so called debts rather than on development. Also when it comes to foreign trade, most developing countries export raw material. Which does not benefit the poor nation very much as only a little amount is paid for the raw materials. (Brenya and Abu Gyamfi, 2010)

it becomes urgent to mention that both the theories are very ethnocentric in some or the other way because both of them overlook any other practical way of development of the Third World nations. Instead both continuously keep on stating that the western countries development is the only way which the developing countries need to follow whether willingly or against their will, while on the other hand they do not look for any other ways for the development of developing countries (En.modernization.ac.cn, 2000 ). It becomes all the more significant to mention the case of China over here which is progressing economically without following the dominant western example of development. But China does not meet the basic expectations of both the theories (Rapley, 2007).

In conclusion, there are similarities in both modernization and dependency theories in terms of the insight that the first world is the main player in the global capitalist system and that third world countries that have ‘retrograde’ socio-economic and political systems will develop by only co-operating with the western world, nonetheless, it’s critical to emphasize the fact that modernization theorists such as Rostow, an anti-Communist think that it is a not a chosen participation by third world nation for their best interests to participate in the global capitalist system, although, dependency theorists believe that the developing nations are drawn into the system and become dependent on it. They maintain that the first world modernization theorists only have the interests of elite, rich nations and that by ‘westernizing’ a third world country and by rejecting communism as an substitute, they will have the resources, cheap labor power and a very important trade links with these nations. (Rapley, 2007).

Modernization and dependency theories both play crucial roles in the development of countries in the existing global system, and although dependency theorists such as Baran nurture valid points, they are not seen to be providing another solution, therefore it can be disputed that dependency theory exists as a critique of modernization theory as opposed to another and that there isn’t essentially much of a dissimilarity between the two theories. Both theories, regardless of dissimilarities in approach, raise the very crucial point of connection between first world countries and the developing countries and also the significance of development and integration with each-other in today’s world.

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