We talked about Karl Marx and Modernization Theory this week. Karl Marx believed in the power of the collective. He thought that people in unorganized societies would organize themselves, and people living miserable lives would eventually rise up against those holding them down. He thought that certain ideas would prevent this kind of collective, civilized society but eventually these ideas would fade out and the collective would emerge. He believed that religion numbs people and that ethnicity encourages people to sympathize with those of their same ethnicity. He believed these things would prevent an uprising but the concepts would eventually fade out against the logic of the collective.
Modernization theory is based on Marx’s ideas. It has 4 parts:
1. Exploit internal resources
2. By exploiting internal resources, generate profits
3. Use profits to advance people
4. People are able to generate profits on their own
For Modernization theory to work, a country needs cheap labor, so it exploits its own people for that labor. As a country progresses, that exploitation spreads from just the males in the society to the females and children. Modernization theory holds that every country must go through this same process in order to become a modern country.
I disagree with modernization theory. In our modern world, most countries are already developed. Those that are not by now should be able to turn to modern countries for help and avoid exploiting their own people. I don’t disagree with a country exploiting its natural resources, such as mineral wealth or other such resources, but considering people as resources seems cruel to me and exploitation in Modernization theory results in many poor and unhappy people. I don’t think that’s necessary in our modern age.