The definition of the Modernization Theory has been altered over time, but in Development and Democracy: What We Know About Modernization Today, Inglehart and Welzel argue that the Modernization Theory is the idea that industrialization increases the possibility for the formation of democratic institutions. More specifically, the authors argue that, “the core idea of modernization is that economic and technological development bring a coherent set of social and political changes,” (6). It seems obvious that growing nations would experience a shift in their cultural and political values, but a changing mindset does not explain how a nation becomes more susceptible to a democratic political climate. I decided I was in agreement with Inglehart and Welzel when I read their ideas on the importance of the emergence of a strong middle class to alter social and political thought. As the authors described, with developing economies and technologies comes an influx of new jobs that require education and training. Once people are educated, receive these jobs, and are paid appropriately, they gain agency to think for themselves and take a political interest in how they can maintain and protect their new occupations. This newfound “self-expression” from the middle-class gradually demands more democratic institutions.
Though brief, the article attached is a strong example of how a growing economy could generate social and political change. In summary, this article describes how the Chinese government aims to grow its economy and remain internationally competitive by expanding its robot market. Constructing a robot is a very difficult task, so to make the job more attractive; the government is offering subsidies to Chinese robot makers. Not only is this is creating a well-paying job market, which will strengthen the middle class, but it also gives political leverage to the Chinese workers because the government is relying on them to keep up the international economy.
Inglehart, Ronald and Welzel, Christian. “How Development Leads to Democracy.” Foreign Affairs 88 (2).
“China Robot Sales to Almost Triple by 2018: Industry Group.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.