THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT
The difference between the haves and the have nots is perhaps the greatest problem the world community is currently faced with. The divide has widened over a period of ten years since 1990. New challenges have resulted from these differences, something that has made economic planners and think tanks to start looking fro ways to narrow the differences. The post development literature that emerged in the 1990s has greatly changed the way people think about development, progress as well as modernity. The concepts of the three main fields have greatly changed since the 1960s when most developing countries in Africa, Latin America andSouth East Asiawere undergoing political and economic development. At that time, what mattered to these countries was the ability to balance between economic growths with democratization (Featherstone, 1995). This is no longer the case as the economic crisis being experienced throughout the globe has made the chances for the achievement of these goals very slim. The 1990s saw a dramatic change in global inequalities which affected Africa, Latin America and some countries ofSouth East Asia. The people of these developing countries lack the ability to meet the basic needs like clean water, food, and sanitation. The figures are expected to rise and will provide researchers with a topic for research for quite some time in the coming decades. Unemployment has been the greatest contributor to this problem as approximately one third of the population in the world is affected. There is a correlation between poverty and crime when looked at from an angle of prison population. The poorer the people, the more crowded the prisons. The poor fill the prisons fro offences committed due to poverty.
The concept of development has assumed a completely new meaning. The way people view development is completely different from the way they used to view it during the cold war period. This change has been occasioned mainly by a change of tact in the way business and a change in global economics is done as a result of the end of the cold war coupled with the disappearance of the western industrial dominance. The main factor that is responsible for this change is the global change in climate as well as the depletion of vital resources which have led to reduced levels of the faith people used to have in technology as a way of solving problems of a human nature. People also no longer think of progress and history the way they used to and as such these ways have advanced. Wolfgang Sachs, one of the greatest contributors to development literature especially on postdevelopment argues in Sachs (2007) that development has changed the world, though not in the way it was intended to.
The concept of modernity implies a certain kind of social life that emerged in the age of enlightenment and which is the main characteristic of western societies. It was largely identified with industrialization during the 19th century. Some concepts such as that of the nation state started being used as opposed to the previous period where communism was largely the most common term and way of doing business. Things changed drastically and the western nations adopted the capitalist approach to business. The ways of thinking changed to adapt to a global economy which had become capitalist in nature. Science and technology advanced and people changed the structures of their families. Other changes were witnessed in class as well as gender and culture became increasingly secular. These changes were being driven by imperialism among other factors (Scott, 1995). Large-scale bureaucratic administration and private property are some of the institutions that are associated wit modernism. Modernism has also led to the adoption of cultural values which are individualistic with more emphasis being put on private life. This was not the case in the earlier period as the community mattered more than the individual, with the booming economy during the golden age being an added advantage. These are the factors which give uniqueness to modern cultures and differentiate them from the cultures of the period of the golden age when the world economy was doing very well and communalism was a lifestyle for the communities (Scott, 1995).
In political theory, modernity is closely related to capitalism. It was Karl Marx’s belief that western societies came up between the 18th and the 19th centuries due to the commodity production as well as wage labor. The origin of industrialism can be traced to the innovations of this system whose formation was instrumental in shaping labor relations, culture, politics as well as family life. Other thinkers such as Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, took a completely different view from that of Marx. According to him, industrial production and changes to labor practices were the factors that mattered more as compared to individual ownership. Weber on his part saw capitalism as a very important business practice stressing the role played by particular cultural values coupled with some forms of administration which were bureaucratic in nature (Turner, 1993).
Modernity has assumed a new meaning with contemporary theorists associating it with some form of mentality whereby private life is regulated by the state. These are some of their attempts to identify the stages of modernity as well as industrialization and as such the two are predictable. Modernization theorists concur in their belief that modernity would thrive in the presence of self-sustaining growth. A critical look at development literature reveals that modernity is in essence the concept of greater control over nature and wealth. Modernity is, according to modernization theorists, the ability man possesses to be able to free himself from necessity.
The literature of development has been changing with every passing year even though the problems associated with development around the globe have tended to remain unchanged. The ideas that are being applied in this decade may be irrelevant in the next one. This as a result makes it difficult to determine the best approach to this issue. Global inequalities have several entities which can be studied in isolation for example politics, economy, sociology, history and many others. The development literature of the period before the 1990s was dominated by theUnited Statesespecially during the period of golden age between 1945 and 1972 which witnessed relative political stability as well as economic growth. The economy during this period was doing well as there was mass production which was done to match mass consumption. This brought about economic success and consequently an improvement in the standards of living. During this time, there was a single integrated economy which operated across all corners of the globe in line with state ideology. The end of the golden was characterized by mass unemployment, limited state revenue as well as endless financial crises.Eastern Europeexperienced many economic problems and political uncertainty after Soviet Marxism collapsed (Said, 1993).
Towards the end of the golden age, people changed their approach to development. In the initial years there was a great impasse in development literature as thinkers were at a loss for what to do as the situation had changed so abruptly. From the late sixties to early seventies women started making an entry alongside the dependency theory, radical nationalism as well as the basic needs model.
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