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Modernization Theory and Dependency Theory

Modernization Theory and Dependency Theory

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Published by: srenwantee11b on Sep 27, 2010
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Modernization Theory and Dependency TheoryTable of contents:
1. Introduction2. Similarities between Modernization theory and Dependency theory3. Differences between Modernization theory and Dependency theory4. Conclusion5. Works citedIntroductionNowadays the rapid development of the word and the growing integration of countries can hardly fail to affect the development of new theories which attempt toexplain the relationship between countries and the existing inequality betweendeveloped countries and countries of the third world. In this respect, it is possible torefer to Modernization theory and Dependency theory which, being quite different,still have certain similarities in their views on the modern world and relationshipsbetween developed and developing countries.It is worthy of mention that the comparison of these theories will help betterunderstand the current trends in international relations and the future perspectivesof the world. At the same time, this theories help assess the current situation andrelationships between developed and undeveloped countries more objectively due toexisting differences between the two theories.Similarities between Modernization theory and Dependency theoryFirst of all, it should be said that Dependency theory was developed in response toModernization theory out of sheer criticism of the latter theory by the supporters of Dependency theory. Naturally, this fact determined the principal difference betweenthese theories, but, nevertheless, there are still certain similarities betweenModernization and Dependency theories.Speaking about the similarities, it is primarily necessary to point out that boththeories pay a lot of attention to the gap existing between developed countries andundeveloped ones belonging to the third world. To put it more precisely,Modernization and Dependency theory stand on the ground that Western countriesare the world leaders due to their higher level of development, which affectspractically all spheres of life, including economic, political, social, and even culturallife (Leys, 210). As a result, there exist a strong link between developed anddeveloping countries.Furthermore both theories state that the experience of developed countries isfollowed by developing and undeveloped countries, which basically develop in thesame direction as developed countries but still they cannot catch the latter up andremain in the rearguard of the world development. In stark contrast, developedcountries play the key role in the development of the entire world and the integrationof all countries of the world in the global economy is one of the major ways of interaction between developed and developing countries and both theories agreesthat this interaction constantly increases.At the same time, both Modernization and Dependency theories underline that therelationships between developed and developing countries is unequal and there exista kind of dependence of developing countries on developed ones, though the viewson this dependence vary considerably. Nevertheless, both theories underline thedominant position of Western countries in the modern world and leave little room forthe alternative ways of the development but the western one, which is viewed as theonly way of the development of the future world in the context of the globaleconomy.It is worthy of mention that both theories are ethnocentric in a way because theypractically ignore the possibility of the alternative development of developingcountries but, instead they insist that the development of western countries will be
the example developing countries, willingly or not, will follow, while, at the sametime, they do not really admit the alternative ways of development of countries of the Third world (Preston, 137). However, it is worthy of mention the example of Chinawhich economy is progressing rapidly but its way of development differs considerablyfrom the dominant western way, but this country does not meet to the basicassumptions of either of the theories.Difference between Modernization theory and Dependency theoryIn spite of existing similarities between Modernization theory and Dependencytheory, differences between them are much more substantial and it is even possibleto estimate that these theories are antagonistic in their views on the development of the world and international relationships, especially on the relationship betweendeveloped and developing countries. In fact, differences between Modernizationtheory and Dependency theory result from the origin of Dependency theory which, asit has been already mentioned above, was developed in response to Modernizationtheory.On analyzing existing differences between the two theories, first of all, it is necessaryto underline that Modernization theory views the development of the world andrelationships between developed and developing countries as the relationships of potentially equal countries which are just at a different stage of development at themoment. To put it more precisely, Modernization theory stands on the ground thatwestern countries are well-developed and western way of development is viewed asthe most successful and perspective while there is practically no other alternatives tothis way of the development. This is why the supporters of this theory insist on thenecessity to develop the cooperation between developed and developing countries inorder to make the latter closer to the former. What is meant here is the fact thatModernization theory underlines the necessity of borrowing the experience of western countries by developing countries of the Third world (Scott 196). Basically,developing countries should follow blindly the example of more developed westerncountries and this will bring them economic, social, and cultural prosperity.Naturally, to achieve this goal, developing countries should develop their cooperationin all spheres of life, including economy, politics, culture, education, and socialrelations, with western countries, while the latter, being more advanced compared todeveloping countries should help them achieve the highest level of developmentthrough education, technological assistance and consulting of countries of the Thirdworld. In such a way, this theory views modernization of socio-economic and politicallife of developing countries on the basis of the example of western countries as theonly possible solution of the problem of backwardness of poor countries sincewestern way of development is, according to Modernization theory, is the onlycorrect way to prosperity.In stark contrast to Modernization theory, Dependency theory underlines thatrelationships between developing and developed countries are based not on thegrowing cooperation between them but rather on the dependence of developingcountries on developed ones. To put it more precisely, supporters of Dependencytheory stand on the ground that western countries are really more advanced thandeveloping countries but the latter follow their example not just because they arewilling to do so nor because they really believe that western way of development isreally better but, in contrast, they are forced to choose the same way of developmentas western countries have already made in order to become a part of the worldcommunity and avoid the isolation of the country or, what is more, even theintervention of western countries in their policy. In this respect, it is necessary tounderline that supporters of Dependency theory argue that western countries imposetheir politics and their rules to developing countries forcing them to accept westernstandards and norms, while any disobedience from the part of developing countries

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