Relevancy of the modernization theory in achieving development in the least developed countries like Tanzania Essay
The term development is very broad and it has therefore brought many scholars in defining it.in economic view, Development can therefore be defined as the increase of level of economic development of a nation. This is looked upon by the economic indicators, for instance; income per capita, gross national product gross domestic product and the inflationary rates. So once these increase in a given country, it is said to have undergone economic development. However, this definition was further criticized by other scholars postulating that the perception on the income per capita is too general due to the fact that there are low class earners and high class earners in a given economy and all the economic indicators may be present but still no economic growth.
Other scholars therefore came up other definitions on development. For instance, Walter Rodney who claimed that development can be defined on two ways; development in individual view of which he postulated that development in an individual is the increased skill, capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being and a society that is developed is said to have increased capacity to regulate both internal and external relationships.
Development can therefore be defined as an economy which has grown and has trickle down effect.
That is to say a developed economy should have impact to the people. The modernization theory was developed in 1960. It comes from the capitalist point of view of development and it relates development with modernization. The theory states that a modern society is likely to archive economic development compared to a non-modernized society. A modern society is more productive due to the fact that children receive formal education, there is time consciousness and the needy receive more welfare. This is according to Smelter’s analysis. However, Coleman goes on saying that a modern society can be differentiated from a non-modernized society using three main features which are: differentiation of the political structure where the political components such as the executive, judiciary and the parliament are independent and the decisions made cannot be altered with by either of them. Secondly, secularization of political culture which refers to the freedom given to all the political parties and leaders to practice their political traditions and culture and finally there is the participation of the society in political systems.
The theory further argues that development is a linear process and any society must go through some stages for it to develop. This is further supported by an American economist called Walt Whitman Rostow. Rostow was one of the scholars within the modern school of thought, he published his work in the 1960 which was like a modification of what Karl max did. He argues that in order for a society to undergo economic development, it has to undergo through five linear stages which are traditional society stage, pre-condition to take-off, take off stage, drive to maturity and mass consumption.it is therefore from these stages, we can conclude that a developed society is at the fifth stage of mass consumption. Rostow goes on saying that each stage has characteristics which a society in that stage is likely to undergo; For instance, the traditional society stage is the initial stage of development and every society underwent through this stage. It is generally characterized by low production due to poor technology. Agriculture is in existence but it is mainly subsistence, there are no classes since there is low population and people live in families. The economy in this stage is stagnant and there is no individual mobility.
Pre-condition to take off is the second stage and Rostow has shown the characteristics of a society that is in this stage. He argued that external demands for raw materials for raw materials initiate changes, the technology begins to improve, the level of investment also increases, there is change in the social structure and individual mobility comes into existence. A society that is in this stage, has fulfilled the conditions to take off to the other stages. The take off stage is the third stage and is characterized by: manufacturing begins to rationalize and scale increases in a few leading industries as goods are for both export and domestic consumption. The production of secondary goods also increases than the production of primary goods, industries like the textile industries are the first to take off. Moreover, a society in the drive to maturity stage is characterized by the diversification of the industrial base, manufacturing shifts from investment driven towards consumer durable goods and domestic consumption, there is also rapid development of transport infrastructure and large scale investment in social infrastructure example schools and hospitals. Finally, the fifth stage is the mass consumption stage and is characterized by the industrial sector dominating the economy, there is a wide spread consumption of consumer goods and the consumers have more disposable income to purchase luxurious goods. The modernization theory is relevant and is therefore applicable in archiving development in the least developed countries like Tanzania.
The underdeveloped countries should make efforts to adopt the characteristics mentioned in each stage by Walt Whitman Rostow to archive development thus the theory is applicable in the following ways: Diversification of the economy. This means that it’s not only one sector that is being depended in the economy but also other sectors. Tanzania depends on agriculture thus it is the one that dominates the economy. The industrial sector is still at a small scale comprised of small and medium industries most of them producing consumer goods. The agricultural sector being the core economic base of the country still, it is not well mechanized due to the fact that most people still practice it for subsistence and the ones who practice for commercial purposes are faced by problems of lack of storage facilities, poor climatic conditions for instance most of the regions in Tanzania receive mean annual rainfall of about 800mm and it is not evenly distributed in the country. This makes the agricultural activities to be practiced seasonally hence there is no adequate supply. Tanzania therefore should not only depend on the agricultural sector but also boost the other economic sectors such as the industrial sector, mining sector, tourism sectors and many others which can be of great economic benefit to the country.
Investment in the social infrastructure.Rostow claims that a society in the drive to maturity stage does much investment in the social infrastructure in there is adequate availability of health facilities, schools and so many others. Furthermore, Coleman stresses much on this by saying that a modern society is likely to achieve development due to the fact that there is the availability of formal education and the society receives more welfare. There to be modernized must therefore do much investment in the creation and distribution on the formal education. For instance the teacher to student ratio in the country is 49:1 of which it’s still very inappropriate to distribute education effectively. In addition, the number of health facilities in the whole country totaled up to 6321 which obviously the number is too small to cater for the very big population of the country, this shows how poor the country is in the distribution of the social welfare to its people. The improvement of the social infrastructure in Tanzania will therefore lead to a more educated and healthy population which would be much effective in the economic development of Tanzania. Development of economic infrastructure is another feature among the stages of economic development as mentioned by Rostow which Tanzania should also try to adopt so as to archive economic development. Economic development is much contributed for by a much developed transport system since it enhances the provision of goods and services as well as the raw materials needed in the manufacturing industries. The road transport system in the country is not much developed since it is not evenly distributed in the country and most of the roads do not reach the international standards.
The airports are available but not with adequate planes to transport a variety of cargo to different parts of the world. This problem has contributed to a slow development of industries in the country as well as less exportation to other countries thus making the country to import more hence making the trade terms unbalanced. Therefore, Tanzania must improve its transport infrastructure so as to enable it be among the developed countries in the world. Smelters analysis entails that a developed country is characterized by the secularization of the political system in which the politicians and their respective parties are allowed to practice their political traditions and cultures. Evidently, this is common in most European countries. Tanzania is a multiparty country but the dominant party is the CCM which has been in leadership for so many decades now. Mostly there has been controversies and every party has its own thing to say and these differences have far much contributed ineffective working of the political leaders because they have to work as per the traditions of the political party in reign this limits the decision making of the leaders of which some could be of much importance to the economic development in the country.
Tanzania should therefore practice secularization of its political system so as to reach Rostows highest stage of development. Finally, increase in the level of investment especially in the production of capital goods than the consumer goods.as per the statistics in from the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics, the country’s largest exports are coffee , cotton, sisal, cashew nuts, cloves, diamonds, gold, tobacco and tea. The country imports large quantities building and construction materials, machinery and transport equipment. It is from these statistics that we therefore conclude that Tanzania imports more of capital goods which are very much costly.Rostow argues that in the third and fourth stage of development, the society invests much in industries and the level of industrial growth increases.
Therefore, for Tanzania to improve its economy must invest on the import substitution industries which would deal in the production of the capital goods instead of importing them thus saving costs which can later be used to upgrade the living standards of the people in the country. In conclusion, the modernization theory as we have seen is relevant in describing development In different economic societies, the characteristics mentioned in each stage by Rostow, when they are implied, a country will definitely undergo economic development since each one of them is designed to tackle issues which hinder development in many countries in the world. Most of the developing countries face problems like dis economies of scale, imbalanced terms of trade and so many others of which the solutions towards them are clearly explained in the modernization theory; this shows its applicability in the achievement of development in the least developed countries like Tanzania.