SOC101Y1 - New Society - Sixth Edition - Chapter 9 Notes

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30 Jan 2013
It was believed that poor countries are poor because of the heat, humidity, and climate in those
states, which is untrue because civilizations like the Mayans constructed a series of cities that
boasted ornate architecture, elaborate irrigation infrastructure, and so on
Climate is not completely insignificant though; regions with year-round permafrost or deserts do
not allow dense human settlement and the agriculture it depends on, let alone the
accumulation of wealth
Desert kingdoms like Dubai show that oil wealth can help spur impressive development but
some oil-rich countries like Nigeria have failed to mobilize their wealth to realize development
The idea of development dates from the 18th century , when scholars in Scotland and France
formulated the idea of progress
It was not until after WWII that the idea grew into a series of projects that became part of state
policy and the policy of some non-state organizations
After WWII, development came increasingly to mean a process that generated economic
growth, industrialization, and modernization in regions and countries perceived to be poor,
traditional, and undeveloped
More recently, development has had a broader and more complex meaning, incorporating
notions such as progress for women, empowerment of the underprivileged, and environmental
There are two factors that motivated interest in development after WWII:
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1. Cold War
Broke out between the developed capitalist countries led by USA and the
communist countries led by the Soviet Union
Involved intense competition between the two sides to amass power by gaining
influence and control over less developed countries
2. Business in the West
Particularly USA
Interested in new markets outside their traditional spheres of operation
Development and the study of development have served to support CAPITALISM (economic
system based on competitive enterprises seeking to maximize profits using wage labour)
Analysts deny that genuine development can occur within the confines of capitalism
There are two perspectives:
1. Morality and social justice
Some consider it a matter of social justice that the world’s desperately poor be
lifted out of a life of illiteracy, disease, and hopelessness
2. Self-interest and the need for security
Others are concerned with the practical implications of having so many people
in the world with so little to sustain them
Our neighbours’ poverty would have unpleasant implications for us
We would have to pay higher taxes to bolster police forces to maintain order
We would come to realize that our security cannot be divorced from the living
conditions of our neighbours
This model establishes that the neighbourhood economy is maintained by a
system of power relations backed up by disproportionate wealth and our
willingness to exercise violence when all else fails
- Social sciences emerged in the 19th century in the context of lively debate in the
biological sciences around theories of evolution propounded by Darwin and others
- Concerned evolution
- Argued that human societies were like biological organisms whom are susceptible to
pathologies and diseases
- Idea was influential in the 1960s
- W.W Rostow argued that societal development follows stages of development
In the beginning, a society might be traditional, undifferentiated, and
When it comes into contact with a developed society, science and technology
spread and the underdeveloped society enters a stage of “takeoff”
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Takeoff occurs when and if an increase in market transactions, manufacturing,
and trade takes place
The society moves along the path to development the more quickly barriers to
the spread of market relations are removed
The final stage is represented by modern American capitalism
- Popular approach in the 1960s
- Emphasizes the importance of values and norms as drivers of development (Example:
people who enjoy a high need for achievement are more likely to become successful)
- Emphasized the importance of other values in the development process such as the
need for savings, investment, innovation, education, high achievement, self-control in
having children, and so on
- Assumed that most of the responsibility for economic backwardness lies with the
societies of the Global South
- Argued that development happens when citizens of the poor countries adopt virtues of
the developed North
= an explanation of uneven global development that stresses the exploitative relationships
between Europe and the global south, to the detriment of the south
Sharply challenged the notion that lack of development is due to the deficiencies of the less
Takes a holistic view (each part is shaped by and helps to shape global reality) and attends to the
history and structure of relations between countries
Establishes that the nature of the relationship between metropolitan powers and satellite
regions that blocked economic progress in the global south
Evidence contradicts the notion that global south countries existed in an underdeveloped state
(Example: from China through the Middle East and the Mediterranean to Central and South
America, great civilizations rose and fell)
Africans had developed a great deal on their own before Europe began asserting its dominance
over the continent
Initial contact between Europe and the south took place around 1500
Before Europeans could exploit the south for its riches, they had to conquer the existing
Superior technology like guns and disease borne by Europeans helped to secure conquest
Then they established a feudalistic landholding system based on hierarchical relationships
imported from Europe
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