PoliSci1020E March 13, 2012
Development and Theories of Development
What is Development
*Not concerned with bio or psychology, but the field of development studies. Why are some
parts of the world poor and others not?
Why inequality and poverty exist? How can these come to an end? Both focusing on the
The theory was established after WWII. Each theory and explanation add to the
definition of what development is.
Theory = beliefs that use evidence existent in a phenomenon. They tell us about causes
and open the door for solutions.
First influential development theory.
Thrives in the 1950’s and the states.
Talks about transitions. Particularly societies shifting from traditional to modern.
Traditional societies have structures that make and keep people poor. Therefore,
according to this theory, the poor parts of the world are the one’s shaped around the
value of tradition.
Walt Rostow (1916 – 2003)
o Key thinker (wrote in 1960’s).
o Claimed that the third world was behind because they didn’t embrace science and
technology. This prevented the addressing poverty and economic growth (e.g.
o Technology in the world is limited because knowledge and access to it is limited.
This is a result of religion (not embracing science and technology).
o When religion remains the dominant source of power, progress is impossible.
o Traditional societies are held back because power is in the hands of a few, giving
rise to a sense of apathy. It is difficult to progress and individuals don’t see
potential or find incentive to work hard.
Isaac Newton (1642 – 1747)
o Britain was his model for traditional societies to aspire to.
o An example of a key thinker in scientific progression.
o Originally a traditional society, Britain progressed with the help of the minds like
Newton, becoming more secular and modern.
o Allowed for social mobility when science was embraced.
o Entrepreneurship, etc. becomes possible and parents see chances for their
children to advance. Issue: How do you provoke change?
From the outside (1 world).
Foreign aid, foreign investment, technology transfers, increase trade, student exchanges
(bring youth here for schooling and stimulate the progress, and the modernize their own
David McClelland added that 3 world nations are held back because there is a lack of
drive for achievement.
Failed to see that Western societies were not always modern.
Baghdad is an example of the holes in the Modernization Theory. They ARE
technologically advanced. They have a thriving economy (especially throughout their
earlier history). Thus, this theory does not take history into consideration.
Introduction of technology requires people to produce goods. These people are robbed
of their creativity – is that really development? (Marxism)
Concern of pollution. Pollution prevents healthy living environments.
For Rostow, development is only about economic growth.