Do You Agree With Modernization Theory?

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Modernization Theory began to emerge. First with the battle between Marxist theory, which focused on private property and inequality, and then with the capitalists’ ideas that developing a country economically would eventually lead to democracy. This idea of modernization was argued for years. After many revisions, it was decided that “the core idea of modernization is that economic and technological development bring a coherent set of social and political changes” (Inglehart and Welzel 2009 p. 6). I agree with the Modernization Theory because countries do not have to become Westernized and give up their culture to renovate their government and become more industrial, which ultimately gives the country a more successful government at no cost to their societal values.

As stated before, modernization is not  necessarily the process of becoming more Westernized. In fact, modernization focuses more on industrialization and economic growth. There has been a major focus on this idea of modernization in countries in the East, such as Japan, and countries in Africa, such as Tanzania.

For example, in Tanzania modernization is emerging . The country is focusing on rebuilding its businesses and remodeling their work environment to gain more traction in the world of trade (Kowalczyk 2015). They are also focusing on the health and education of their workers which will create a more secure and reliable production process of goods (Kowalczyk 2015). Although their economy is stunted, Tanzania hopes that by following this theory of modernization their economy will grow and become more stable. Based on Inglehart and Welzel’s article on Modernization Theory, by “upgrading the workforce” Tanzania will be able to solidify their middle class, which in turn will lead to creating a liberal democracy (Inglehart and Welzel 2009 p.4).

Seeing struggling countries such as Tanzania becoming more modernized and industrial gives me faith in the theory of modernization. Because of this idea of progressing disabled countries without violence, I agree with the Modernization Theory. Tanzania disproved my doubts about Modernization Theory and its successes gives me hope for the other struggling countries that are eager to become a democracy. Countries are able to keep their traditions and culture through this theory because, as said before, “modernization is not Westernization”. These countries have no worry of losing their identities, which is just more of a reason for countries such as Tanzania to experiment with this theory.

Work Cited:

Inglehart, Ronald and Welzel, Christian. “How Development Leads to Democracy.” Foreign Affairs 88 (2).

Kowalczyk, Pete. “Tanzania: Land of Natural Wonder Modernizes – CNN.com.” CNN. October 14, 2015. Accessed October 20, 2015.

Link To Article on Tanzania

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2 thoughts on “Do You Agree With Modernization Theory?

  1. I definitely agree with you and I think that you make an important distinction between modernization and Westernization. I also think that this article was much more explanatory than Lipset’s article on economic growth leading to stable democracies. Though both are slightly different, they insinuate some of the same concepts. Inglehart and Welzel at least explain reasons why economic growth doesn’t lead to democracies and other factors that influence the state of the government. Iran was a perfect example of this.

  2. I question whether or not a nation retaining its culture is beneficial to modernization. Inglehart and Welzel noted that countries with greater economic development and wealth displayed cultural values that emphasized self-expression. This set of moral interest is contrasted to the cultural emphasis on survival in lower economic nations. Inglehart and Welzel claim that as economic stability becomes more widespread, citizens have the ability to reorient their attention from bare essentials, to rights and freedoms. Therefore, the potential alteration in a society may be a welcomed indicator of a nation successfully modernizing.

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