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Modernization Theory and Classical Dependency Theory Essay

Modernization theory is the process of transforming from a traditional or underdeveloped society to a modern Western societies way of life. Basically, Modernization theory became the foundation stone of this evolutionary prescription for development. The theory is not homogeneous—numerous proponents disagreed on several key features. But in broad outline, the theory focused on deficiencies in the poorer countries and speculated about ways to overcome these deficiencies. It viewed traditional society as a series of negatives: stagnant and unchanging, not innovative, not profit-making, not progressing, not growing. Modernization is the economic growth within societies and the third world did not undergo these economic or political transformations; it was ‘left behind’. So the task of the Third World is to transform itself from tradition to modernity. That is, to follow the footsteps of the Western world. In fact, because the path is now charted, these countries can avoid the mistakes made by the West. On the other hand, Dependency is also not a homogeneous, unified theory—serious analytical differences persist within the school.

Economic growth in advanced countries created Third World poverty in its wake: not simply that the Third World is poor in comparison with the industrialised world; rather that it is poor because development of the industrial system in Western Europe and North America changed and impoverished many societies of Asia, Africa and Latin America, through colonialism, imperialism and extractive terms of trade. When capitalism began to spread, the ceaseless search for profit began: through the production of agricultural goods in colonies or other lands, and Western Europe’s ability to drive unequal bargains. This fundamentally changed the social structures of the Third World. The term dependency comes from this link: Some say the exploitation of various regions for their raw materials and labour impoverished them and made them depend on the West. Others point out that in fact it is the other way around: that the West has been dependent on the Third World though history in order to be able to grow and prosper. Modernization theory sees capitalism as a creative force, causing growth and progress.

Dependency sees international capitalism as the ruin of the Third World. Modernization sees rich countries as helpers of poor countries; dependency sees them as the main obstacle to the well-being of the poorer countries. Not all of dependency theorists’ prescriptions are anti-capitalism however: some see some good in using capitalism and protectionism to enhance national economies. Both theories have point in terms on how develop these third world countries and address poverty. According to modernization perspective the causes of poverty are due to structural restraints placed on the third world by European powers. It describes the structural restraints as unequal exchange. The declining “terms of trade” as the price of exports from the third world are decreasing, while prices from developed countries are increasing. This effect creates a circular trap as wages in third world countries are low, which declines the export prices, while wages in richer countries are increasing, which cause increases in the price of industrial goods. This means underdeveloped countries need to constantly increase their yields and exports for their profits to stay the same. On the other hand, dependency perspective argues that the causes of poverty in third world countries are due to their traditional cultures and values.

These theories believe that in order to solve this problem poor countries can succeed through following the footsteps of developed countries. These would include invading other countries to. However, this is quite unachievable because we are now in modern time. In the case of the Philippines, I believe that we can achieve and become one of the develop countries. For example, iphone has a metal cover and iron to its internal body; the metal was produced through mining and exported to some countries. When it goes back it becomes iphone and it cost more expensive. In other words, the countries that produced metal and have limited technology are making those developed countries richer. Instead of exporting those products, utilized it within the country and profit more from it. Lack of technology is not the reason to depend in the western countries, impatient and being contented for what they have. They don’t think of the better things that they can have. The real essence of democracy was turned off and forgot that it is the rule of the mob. If these theories are really applicable how come third world countries are still crapping and suffering from poverty. But it is very applicable it’s just happen that the attitude and the thinking of the people are different. Like what I have learned from Cuban people, people must change their way of thinking.

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