“Underdevelopment Is Primarily A Consequence Of Cultural Rather Than Economic Factors”. To What Extent Do Sociological Evidence And Arguments Supports This View Of Underdevelopment In The World Today?

1103 words - 5 pages

Underdevelopment takes place when resources are not used to fulfil their socioeconomic potential. Underdeveloped nations are characterised by a wide disparity between their rich and poor populations and unhealthy balance of trades.

Modernisation theory is a functionalist view thats says of a country to be seen as modern it has to undergo an evolutionary advance in science and technology which in turn would lead to an increased standard of living for all. Parsons, 1979, stresses the need for cultural change in the LEDC’s as he believes that culture acts as a barrier. He saw modernity as being associated with societies that have their base in individuality and achievement as opposed to ...view middle of the document...

The ‘take-off stage’ is the most important and involves traditional attitudes and social institutions being overcome and replaced with their Western equivalents. For example, achievement replaces ascription and the nuclear family replaces the extended family or clan/tribe as people become more geographically mobile in their search for work in the factories set up by Western companies.

The ‘drive to maturity stage’ is marked by export of manufactured goods to the West as the country takes its place in the international trading system.

Development is achieved in the final stage which Rostow calls ‘the age of high mass consumption’. In this stage, the majority of citizens live in urban rather than rural areas and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Life expectancy is high and most citizens have access to health-care and free education. On the other hand a problem with this is that It assumes Western forms of capitalism to be the ideal and conveniently ignores the social and economic problems that are common in those societies, e.g. high divorce-rates, crime, poverty, suicide, etc.

Fully developed countries such as USA have a high mass consumption of consumers and their economic income is based on the capitalist system. Item A states that the modernisation theory focuses on the development process, as a result it explains why poorer countries have failed to develop and which richer countries benefit due to their economic and social changes. MEDC’s have better communications and this creates a homogeneous future that across the world you can spread social ideas, the advance means that wealthier countries can create free and open systems of government.

An aim of the modernisation theory is is the non communist solution to poverty ensuring economic change through development. Referring back to Rostows stages of development, traditional societies needed to encourage the western companies to invest and gain work/factories, training and skills. With these factories put in place in LEDC’s the wage would be very low form stimulating consumer demand for manufactured goods, in turn they can hire more cheap labourers to exploit in order to make profit.

The modernisation theory also looks at the benefits of nations modernising in relation to social progress. Advancements in new technologies means that the state of education has improved therefor increasing literacy skills. This in the long run means that the overall intellect the western countries have can improve the medical care, food production, further education and disaster...

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