Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Global Stratification Essay

Since I had to complete a college essay today and it has some bearing as to the world in which we live in I'm going to share it here. It's not the kind of right-wing nonesense you're used to on this site so don't be alarmed. It's just your standard 12 point, times new roman, double-spaced, MLS style paper one would do in college. Here you go:

Global Stratification:
Discuss ending world hunger through both the Modernization and Dependency approach.

To discuss ending world hunger through both the modernization and the contrasting Dependency approach we must first define what they are. The modernization approach to LDC’s, or Less Developed Countries states that the method to development of these nations should be through emulating the technological advancements and democratic paradigm of the west. The Dependency approach claims that the aforementioned approach only breeds corruption and dependency on the west at the cost of the poor in LDC’s. Dependency theory believes the best method for development is through Marxism and other forms of revolution.

Following modernization theory it is assumed that an increase in new and modern technologies will increase the ability of a nation to fend for itself internationally and thus be able to procure better goods and services. For this essay the goods and services are better and higher quality food products. The inclusion of agricultural modernization such as tractors and better planting and harvesting devices also brings with it the internal ability of a nation to grow their own food more efficiently thus increasing the national supply of food.

With industrialization and modernization comes larger, less rural cities. This can play a part in the conditions of goods and services and can be argued for both modernization and dependency theories. With larger cities comes more centralized goods and services, streamlining of distribution centers, and higher quality facilities including electricity and running water. The contrasting argument for dependency would call forth the slums and shantytowns that house the poor in substandard conditions. These shantytowns have been argued to be removing agricultural lands due to their ever-growing expansion.

If dependencistas were to control the way things are run in LDC’s all outside influences would be severed and advances would be made within themselves. They would argue that the best way to remove the poor class would be to remove the corrupt governments that keep national profits for themselves and the corporations they make deals with. Only through a non-corrupt, distributed people can true progress be made. In their environment no one in an LDC would be rich but no one would be starving either. One example of the power of low level, internal enterprise would be the micro-loan venture in Bangladesh. It has been extremely successful in enhancing the stature of the poor in that country.

Within the promise of dependency theory lies the strong possibility of smaller cities and stronger rural communities. The arguments for and against ruralization of a country would be precisely inverted from those of larger cities. Modernization theorists would explain that the efficiency and services of that nation would be diminished while the dependency theorists would argue that strengthening the rural areas would allow communities to build from within.

Industrialized nations can play a role in this to support the effect of either theory. Programs such as NAFTA which have had the intention of easing international tariffs and taxes have not done all they have set out to do. The WTO’s Uruguay Round Agreement on Textiles which promised to abolish quota’s by 2005 is abysmally planned with the best international example, Canada, leading the pack with 14% completion. These plans are sought out in earnest but are never realized. They serve as a grim reminder as enforcement for the dependency theory.

There are other theories in the world such as bureaucratic authoritarianism and neoliberal economics as to how best to enhance the lives and therefore the food abundance in LDC’s. It is also been proven that both modernization and dependency theories are flawed when put on a global scale. At current understanding by sociologists a mixed method depending on the political, religious and socioeconomic environment of individual countries should be levied to enhance these countries. There is no “one best method” to solving the world’s hunger problem. All theories have potential in different environments.


Carla Cole, 1990, Ending Hunger

Howard Handelman, 2003, The Challenge of Third World Development, 3rd Ed.

Robert J. Griffiths, 2004, Annual Editions: Developing World 04/05

Pearson Publishing Custom, 2003, Intro to Sociology

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