While there are merits to both modernization and dependency theory, which one in your opinion aptly explains Pakistan’s current socio economic woes? A country plagued by a myriad of critical issues, Pakistan’s deepening woes have dented its image in the social and economic strata. While theorists have provided several ideologies concerning its current dilemma, this paper discusses Pakistan’s predicament in the light of the principles of the development theory: modernization and dependency theories.
Both the theories relate to the implications of development in Third World countries; in this case being Pakistan. For a country to be seen as modern, modernisation theorists say it has to undergo an evolutionary advance in science and technology which in turn would lead to an increased standard of living for all (Maria Keet). On the contrary dependency theorists believe that dependence is a situation in which the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy to which the former is subjected (Dos Santos, 1970).
While there is ample proof to believe that modernization is actually beneficial than detrimental to Pakistan, however, its dependency on a “core” of wealthy states is giving birth to a number of grave issues. There is a dire need to augment modernization in Pakistan for its promotion will certainly even out extremism as well as an increasing radicalization in the country. Those in favour of modernization argue that it boosts the economy as well as the social standing of the society.
Improved infrastructure, excelling education and a sense of achievement, universalism and individualism can be directly attributed to the theory which is certainly required in Pakistan. However, modernization is wiping out traditional values and is targeting the upper strata of this country. This fear can be negated as several theorists believe that the cultures of developing countries e. g. the importance of family, may be a response to economic insecurity and low levels of material well-being; not the cause of it. Inglehart and Baker 2000). Paul Baran’s attempts to redefine underdevelopment and dependence from the perspective of Third World countries fit Pakistan perfectly. He argued that the ‘backward’ countries were characterized by dual economies: a large agricultural sector and a small industrialized sector (Martinussen, 1997:86). Back in the 60’s during the Green revolution in Pakistan, an agro-based economy was attributed to the country’s wide scale success as a leader in south-east Asia.
Pakistan’s economic growth rate was the highest amongst the region and its economic and social plans were adopted by far-eastern countries. Half a century later the same country, which was once looked upon as a model for progress, is deemed as one of the most corrupt states with the worst economic growth in the region. (The New York Times, 2012). A brief scrutiny of the last decade will provide an insight to Pakistan’s predicament: $18 billion dollars worth of military and economic aid has been provided to Pakistan by the U. S alone (Department of Defense statistics).
Pakistan’s total debt has risen to $130 billion, which implies that every Pakistani citizen owes The World Bank a total of Rs. 112,000 (DAWN). While these figures and facts certainly raise an eyebrow, the consequences of this country’s dependence on aid have severely wounded its roots. In the current era of industrialization and modernization, the potential to reap profits from agricultural produce is minimal (Keet, 2002). As aforementioned, 70% of Pakistan’s population is dependent, directly or otherwise, to agriculture and yet it only contributes 25% to the GDP (UAF).
This has been the single most distinctive pattern in the country where it started producing what was good for others, rather than what benefited itself. This problem relates directly to the Neo-Marxist dependency theories where all trade is monopolist and controlled by the centre for it’s over benefit. The centre here refers to developed countries that attract local producers and the authorities alike; high profits for the former and foreign exchange for the latter. The Lumpen Bourgeoisie theory for Latin America constructed by Gunder Frank states that “All development is simply the development of underdevelopment. Complying with this statement, local manufacturers and producers are striving hard – not to improve conditions in their own vicinity, but to pocket truck loads of cash for services provided abroad. Importers in the developing nations are scoring what they call a “double whammy”: not only are they earning huge amounts of profits owing to the cheap labour in Pakistan, they are also contributing to the further development of their own nation through these goods and services. Adversely, this dependence has grim repercussions in the society.
Poverty is on the rise and disparity within the country has risen to an unprecedented high. The combined inflation during the last 4 years has been recorded to as high as an astonishing 200% (DAWN). The WHO reported that in 2010, around 62% of Pakistanis were living below the poverty line. These problems are in direct relation to Pakistan’s corrupt and incompetent governments who have failed to put up a credible economic policy which relies less on debt and foreign assistance.
One could argue that Pakistan could come out of this mess following Cuba’s model whose 80% economy was dependent on Soviet aid. Even after the cold war when the U. S had placed trade sanctions on Cuba, it successfully overcame all the hurdles through a socialist revolution (Rosset & Benjamin, 1994). However, Pakistan faces an uncommon challenge known as “The War on Terror”. Its dependence on huge amounts of aid from the U. S means that it has to concur with their requests. This has severe social implications as there has been an onslaught of mujahidin from Afghanistan where the U.
S forces are deployed. Being its foremost ally in the War on Terror, a number of militant groups have been targeting the peace and sanctity of this nation. As a result of complying with U. S’s demands, this country faces an uphill task to eliminate hostile groups within the country as well as eradicate extremism. Furthermore, this has raised military costs and as of the year 2012-2013, the budget overlay put aside 30% of the spending on military as opposed to a meagre 4% to education (DAWN).
Neglecting education is ignoring what’s in store for the future. In a world where education is believed to be the primary driving force of a state to move forward, Pakistan’s governments have been disregarding its importance for a long time. Bit by bit, these problems build up and it won’t be long when they could possibly cut a swath of destruction through the country’s roots. What this nation needs to realise is that there is a difference between dependence and interdependence.