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The Modernisation Theory is the only accurate way of defining development. Assess the arguments for and against this argument.

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Introduction

The Modernisation Theory is the only accurate way of defining development. Assess the arguments for and against this argument. The modernisation theory argues that development is a evolutionary process that countries progress through; seeks to explain why poorer, traditional societies have failed to develop into modern ones. However, immediately it could be argued that this argument is flawed, because there is much debate over what development is and how it should be defined. For example, whether it is economic measures such as GDP or GNP should be used, or whether it should be social measures such as HDI. Nevertheless, the modernisation theory needs to be exhausted, to assess whether it accurately defines development, or whether other theories offer a better explanation. As Europe revolutionised, sociologists began explaining how societies began to develop. Early modernisation theorists such as Comte and Durkheim believed that more advance societies had evolved from agricultural ones; eventually all societies would follow along this evolutionary path. After WW2, policy makers began to put in place the aims of the modernisation theory. The modernisation theory assumed that poorer traditional societies had failed to develop because they had not industrialised, in addition to the lack of individualism, capitalism and science. Moreover, the modernisation theory offers several explanations for LEDC poverty. ...read more.

Middle

However, it can be argued that the mode theory is being ethnocentric: arguing that the LEDCs are lacking is some respect, and they have "deficit model" of development. Moreover, it can be argued that some MEDCs retain their traditional values, this is especially visible in the newly industrialised countries such as India and China. The dependency theory would argue that this process of development would exploit the LEDCs; and bring upon them a new form of Western imperialism. Frank argues that this would create a "chain of dependency" , between the core (MEDCs) and periphery (LEDCs).The worlds system theory (Wallerstein) would look at this on a global scale and argue that the MEDCs would use this system to exploit the LEDCs. What' more, the neo-liberals would be critical of so much government intervention. It is evident, that Rostows process of development offers a optimistic outlook for LEDCs, however, it is ethnocentric. It is evident that countries can retain traditional values and modernise. What's more, it mostly looks at economic factors whereas, other modernisation theorist believe cultural factors to be more important, therefore giving the theory a more whole and accurate definition of development. Some aspects of the modernisation theory looks more at cultural factors to explain poverty in LEDCs. For example, Parsons argued that LEDCs are dominated by traditional religious beliefs which prevent development and make them fatalistic about their future. ...read more.

Conclusion

One, could argue that the modernisation theory has a optimistic outlook on the development of LEDCs, however, they assume LEDCs need subservient their culture and tradition to achieve modernity. The dependency theory would argue that the "motors", driven by the West, serve to take control and exploit the LEDCs. Putting them under a new form of economic and Western imperialism. In addition, the neo-liberals would discourage such intervention, and favour the free market and competition as being the best way for LEDCs to develop. Overall, it is evident that the modernisation theory can provide a fairly accurate view of development in the world today. However, it assumes that traditional values and norms of the LEDCcs hold them back, making their argument ethnocentric. In addition, the modernisation theory is too simplistic, and overlooks many factors. For example, the dependency theory would argue that the core (MEDCS), simply hold and exploit the peripheries (LEDCs)., via "neo-colonialism. What's more, the world systems theory would arguer that the whole global system needs to be examined, with a focus on economics. Yet, despite the criticisms- neo-modernisation theorist's have hit back. Modernisation theorist's such as Eisenstadht and Dahrendorf have come to different conclusions from the earlier theorist's - Parsons and Rostow. They argue that Modernisation can be used with local traditions rather than just looking at Western models, with a more value-based approach. Together, they offer a much more accurate definition of development, than the simplistic modernisation theory alone. ...read more.

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