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modernisation vs dependancy theory

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Compare and contrast Modernisation and Dependency theories Theories are necessary in the understanding of social change, and the explanation of how and why things happen. Throughout this essay I will be examining ideas of Modernisation and Dependency theorists, and how their theories can give and understanding into the process of development. 'Development' as a word is often linked with ideas of change or improvement. There has never been any real agreement in what the concept of 'development' really means. Modernisation theories can be linked with the ideas into the ways which traditional societies become modern societies. An early idea, linked to the starting point for 'development' was the thought that there could be a single perfected human species based in all different parts of the world. Europeans saw themselves as representing perfection and civilization, and others as being uncivilized. The 'civilized' Europeans saw it as their moral obligation to 'help' the other 'less civilized' countries to become 'civilized.' On this view colonise were formed to help these 'backward' societies. Colonisation assumed the promise of world-wide civilization for all. By the end of world war one in 1918, there was a major shift in power. Germany lost is colonise to Britain and France. Also a mandate system was set-up so that certain territories would be supervised by a international agency. Article 22 of the league stated that the territories which were ceased under the sovereignty of states were, 'inhabited by peoples... not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world; the tutelage of such peoples' should be entrusted to advanced nations and that the character of the mandate should differ according to the stage of development of the people.' (Regan, et al :2002:30) In connection with this statement came the idea that the 'west were the best,' and therefore they had to show the 'less developed' others how to develop. ...read more.


Dependency Theory arose in Latin America, in the 1960's 'as a response to the bankruptcy of the program of U.N economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) (So:1990:92) Referring to (lecture notes) Raul Prebisch argued that the poverty of Latin America reflected the international division of labour . The third world exported relatively heap primary commodities and imported relatively expensive manufactured goods. Paul Baran offers the classic dependency view that the development of the first world and the under development of the third world are linked to the analysis of colonialism. Andre Gunder Frank a key theorist in dependency theory set out to discredit Modernisation theory and claimed that the development of the west led to the under development of the third world. He claimed that the development gap widened as a result of colonialism. Frank (1967) used examples of Chile and Brazil to demonstrate chains of dependency that existed from the colonial times at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Frank criticises the modernisation school on the bases that it only provides an 'internal' understanding of third world development. They assume that the 'backwardness' of the third world has something to do with the countries culture, lack of investment, population size, or lack of motivation. Frank also claimed that modernisation theories ignore the history of third world countries and in doing so, they are assuming that third world countries need to look to western countries and follow their same path to modernisation. Therefore assuming that, the third world countries are not capable of getting there on their own. It has been pointed out that the third world cannot follow the same path as the western countries. This is due to the fact that western countries have never experienced colonialism. The modernisation school rarely discuss the impact of colonialism on the third world and the ways in which it has altered their paths of development. ...read more.


They believe that the third world will eventually catch up with the modernised western countries. Dependency theorists have a negative view. They maintain that third world countries will become more dependent on western countries, leading to bankruptcy and further underdevelopment. Dependency Theorists suggest that this is almost certain to happen if the exploitive linkages between the countries remain unchallenged. Another major difference between the two perspectives is that, Modernisation theorists suggest that the best way to solve the problems of the third world is through more aid, cultural exchanges and technology. However dependency theorists maintain that the best way to solve the problems of the third world is through cutting down the connections between the third world and developed countries. Dependency theorists see this as the only way that third world can become independent and self ruling. However Peter Berger states that if dependency prevents development how we can explain the extraordinary growth in Japan and the Asian Tigers. On the other hand Eric Hobsbawn observes that 'the Newly Industrialised countries only represent 2% of the third world population.' (lecture notes) However the 2% still represents the notion that some countries can be dependant and have a degree of development. This supports the view of Bill Warren who insists that 'capitalism is essentially progressive and will eventually nurture development.' (lecture notes) New dependency theorists such as Fernando Cardoso argue that 'it is possible to have dependant-associate development.' (So:1990:137) Other criticisms of dependency theories include; their definations are too abstract and vague , their policy conclusions fail to spell out how the problems of the third world can be resolved and overall the concept of dependency has become an explanation for all that is wrong in the third world. Despite all the differences between the modernisation and dependency perspectives, there are a few similarities between them. The first similarity is that both perspectives are interested with third world development, and the factors that promote third world development. The second similarity is that they use similar methodologies and position their arguments at highly abstract levels. ...read more.

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