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Chapter 1

POLI 227 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Modernization Theory, Conflict Theories, Authoritarianism

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

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The Challenge of Third World Development
Chapter 1:
Commonalities between 3rd world countries:
1) Economic underdevelopment
- Combo of low GDP/capita, high inequality, poor infrastructure, limited use of
modern technology and low consumption of energy
- Take into account all of this by using GDP, probability of not living until 40, % living
on less than $2.50 a day and the inequality (how many more times income the top
20% is in charge of compared to the bottom 20%)
- Per capita income has a negative correlation with poverty but it is not absolute
2) Social underdevelopment
- Education, literacy, infant mortality rate, per capita income (HDI): 0-1, where 0 is
bad and 1 is good
- Overacheiving countries are those whose HDIs are better than would be expected
given their income (i.e. Nigeria, China, Cuba), and underacheivers have low HDIs
relative to their income (i.e. Turkey, India, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia)
3) Political underdevelopment
- To what extent their governmental institutions have been specialized and
differentiated and to what extent the government is responsive to a broad segment
of society and respects human/individual rights
- Democracy and socieconomic equality are seen as good because authoritarian
regimes are only stable short term
- “failed states” where warlords vy for control (i.e. Somalia, Afghanistan)
- 3rd world countries are unlikely to become democracies without reaching a
minimum level of socioeconomic development but as they develop, citizens start to
get educated and mobilized and demand more from their governments-
governments cannot always meet these demands so the system may become
overloaded and unstable
- Countries need to attract foreign investment which they can only do by suppressing
unions and depressing worker’s wages
Causes of Underdevelopment
1) Modernization theory (50s-60s)
- Created after many countries were granted independence, very optimistic
- Asserts that LDCs should and could follow a similar developmental path to that of
the West- to do this they have to acquire modern (read: Western) cultural values
and political/economic institutions and do away with old traditional models (i.e.
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