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Barriers to Economic Development

Discuss About The Geographical Perspectives Contested Concept.

There is lack of development in most of the southern countries despite those countries being exposed to capitalism. This is what has necessitated the development of modernization. This theory was developed in the late 1940s. This paper looks at the role that modernization theory played in providing a non-communist solution which proved necessary in doing away with poverty in the developing world after World War II.

The aim of the modernization theory is to help explain why some nations are not developed despite the fact that such nations have been exposed to capitalism. Poor countries in the world are characterized by lack of development due to low rate of market development and use of resources towards economic growth. Since, the countries in the world are dependent on each other for sharing of resources including material resources, human resources management and human resources. When countries like Democratic Republic of Congo are under-developed, their market also remains underdeveloped and dependent on developed and emerging markets for even the basic requirements like food. These countries due to lack of market development fail to attract investments and consequently generate very low revenue, thus contributing insufficiently to the global revenue generation. As per Rostow’s modernization theory, nations take off towards attainment of economic development when they start utilizing their economic capabilities like generation of large revenue due to presence of large consumer base instead of sticking to their traditional business policies like restricting their consumption only to locally available goods.  And secondly, it creates a sustainable development solution which stands on equable distribution of resources based on communism to help root out poverty by making constructive economic changes through introduction of western culture as well as value for purposes of bringing about modernization (Klinger, 2017).

According to Machado & Mata (2013), it was evident that after World War II, most of the southern nations were still underdeveloped because their resources were used by developed and more powerful nations which had colonies them for their own development. These southern nations consequently, were not able to use their resources for their own development and have remained underdeveloped in spite of being exposed to capitalism. Some of the barriers to economic development were seen to be arising from the cultural practices of the people. These cultural practices barred development. The southern nations like Congo were not developed because of their increasing reliance on their traditional consumption pattern which was restricted to local produce. Moreover, they did not have the financial resources or the technology required to exploit their natural resources. This led their markets to be underdeveloped. Moreover, the restriction of their governments on foreign companies repelled multinational companies form other countries from entering their markets and investing in their development. Thus internal cultural barriers to foreign companies in the southern nations were largely responsible their underdeveloped markets.

The southern countries were mainly dependent on their traditional industry consisting of agriculture which was old fashioned and equally in need of development. These countries owing to their lack of financial resources could not exploit their natural resources like minerals. As a result their manufacturing industries were not developed and which they had to export to other countries instead of utilizing for economic development of their own countries.  The available technology in such countries is also often outdated or either not sufficient in spurring development. Societies with these kinds of characteristics have less wealth and thus cannot invest appropriately. This slows down economic development and as a result poverty dominates (Fägerlind & Saha, 2016).

Role of Modernization Theory

The developing and the under developed nations can follow their theory of Rostow to bring about further economic development in their markets. It has helped introduce the western culture to developing nations and this has put these nations on the path to economic growth. The western cultures have introduced new products in the underdeveloped market which broke the traditional consumption patterns confined to their local produce. These new products served more requirements of the consumers in the underdeveloped nations and paved ways for revenue generation in the multinational companies making these products. The multinational companies employed the local people thus creating employment opportunities in these countries. However, they are reputed for exploitation of natural and human resources for their own business interests. Thus entry of MNCs has brought about development in the markets of these countries, thus boosting their GDP.

Modernization in the underdeveloped countries consist of investment from multinational companies from developed and emerging countries. These companies invest in natural and human resources of these nations to bring about development in the market by creating new products. These factors boosts revenue generation in the underdeveloped nations, thus gradually making their markets more developed.

Modernization theory points out ways in which countries can bring about their economic development. Despite different nations having different development stages, modernization theory is an appropriate theory. This theory proposes how richer nations can help the poorer nations to bring about economic development, thus boosting the global development. However, this also leaves scope for exploitation of the latter by the former.

Modernization provides the best non-communist solution to help end poverty in most nations. This theory provides a very clear path for development. The concept of capitalism gave rise to two types of nations in the world - the third world and the developing world. This divide has brought about economic crimes such as exploitation of the poor nations by the rich nations. This theory thus comes in as the best solution to help end this economic crime and domination by rich countries.

Modernization employs the use of education as a tool to help in introducing western values to the developing nations. Education helps speeds up competition, universalism and helps in eradicating poverty. The use of education as a tool helps in diffusing western education into traditional cultures. This helps in speeding up economic growth and development.

The effect of world war left most countries undeveloped and also affected most developed countries. This, therefore, led to the need for a successful formula for achieving development. Modernization thus cames up as one of the best theories for development.

The importance of modernization theory can be seen in most Asian economies. After World War II, most of the Asian economies were still developing and were classified as third world countries. In this regard, the United Nations was tasked to come up with proper policies that could help spur the economic growth of these nations. However, none proved to be as beneficial as the modernization theory which upon being adopted by most of the Asian economies led to the emergence of strong economies in Asia. Most Asian economies adopted the western form of education and training which they merged into their cultures. The introduction of the western culture brought about the introduction of western values which eventually paved way for economic development.

The Use of Education as a Tool for Development

This theory does not assume that local economies must depend on other economies for their survival. Such an approach could seem as demeaning to the traditional economies and cultures. Rather, this theory seeks to promote what is good and productive to be used as compared to that which is not productive. Siphoning of goods from countries that are poor yet are endowed with resources can only be stopped with the help of modernization theory as other theories have failed in this endeavor.

Promotion of universalism is good for economic development. Specialization thrives only in the event that there is universalism where those who specialize in one area can have the opportunity to sell their products in other nations. Such a situation can be made possible if countries can have the opportunity to trade together and this can only be possible if different nations can effectively understand the cultures of the other nations (Deb, 2015). This can help in eliminating cultural barriers. Effective trade needs cultural and economic barriers to be eliminated in order for the world market to be level for effective competition from different competing nations.

Modernization brings about the transformation of the society. The change from traditional or agrarian society to urban society is essential for economic development and the general improvement of living standards of the people.

As the population within a society grows, several services are required. Some of these services include quality medical care, transportation, and proper housing among others. All these will require a better economy in order for these to be achieved. A better economy is thus one that involves the use of current technology in addressing the needs of the people. Such an economy can only be realized with the help of western values and cultures. Culture change is very important in that it helps change the mindset. Development starts with the mind.

With the expansion of industrialization, several western economies were able to develop. Doing business became easy and the general living condition of the people improved. Countries that have embraced the western culture appreciate the role of women. Women are thus allowed to work. This also has increased the number of people who are available for work. This has therefore made labor affordable. The more labor is available the more work can be done and an economy gets to grow faster.

With modernization there is a change in lifestyle, industrialization picks up, both social and political changes emerge and bring about development. A modern society is a growing society.

Modernization helps to open up countries for business. A country that is closed to other countries has no trading partners and cannot sell its products in the market. Through modernization, such barriers are eliminated.

Modernization is a constant activity. Through modernization, countries have more open discussions that yield better results as compared to less modern societies. The more modern a society is the more it gets exposure and competes with other nations of the world.

Modern societies are free from domination by traditional practices. Modernization sets people free and gives liberty of conscience and movement. Through liberty, nations get to develop as people’s creativity is revealed and helps in bringing about innovation. Several innovations were discovered in the Western nations due to the freedom of thought.

The Impact of Multinational Companies on Economic Development

The essence of this theory is that it helps in providing some level of understanding that can help in effectively analyzing a set of factors within the economy. Development is key to the success of a nation. Each nation must find a successful plan by which it can launch its agenda. This can be done through modernization theory.

The modernization seeks to understand and explain why there is variation when it comes to development. This theory seeks to do away with traditional structures both political, social and economic. It stresses the need for different locations to urbanize. The aim is to shift the attention of nations from their traditional practices to modernism.

Through modernization, countries have adopted new technologies. These technologies have brought about a speedy and accurate production of goods and proper service delivery both locally and internationally. Global trade has also increased as a result of modernization

This can be seen in most of the developed countries as well as those that are coming up.

Through modernization, natural resources are now being processed in the most modern way possible. This is helping minimize waste and enhances the production of quality goods fit for the international market. Through modernizations, countries have also managed to discover oil which is helping drive several economies of the world.

The development of an individual depends wholly on the development of a nation. If a nation chooses to accept modernization then it helps its individual citizens to grow. Individuals who have better and enhanced lives are productive and bring more into the country through quality service delivery and quality goods production.


In conclusion, it is evident that after the Second World War, different nations were at different levels with regard to development. One sure way of harmonizing economic development is through modernization theory. This is the only theory which easily eliminates economic and cultural barriers (Klinger, 2017).  It is clear from the above argument that different nations have different cultures, and this led to the emergence of Third World concept. This concept changed the course of developmental discussions globally. The United Nations failed to come up with the proper formula for dealing with the slow pace of development in these developing nations Barton (2012).

The development of modernization theory helped developing nations to realize some of the mistakes that they were doing that hindered development. By being in a position to see their own faults, these nations were able to start on the right path to development through investment in education and training of the citizenry. 

According to Jones, (2013), the best way to help spur development was through the elimination of western domination. This domination could only end by understanding the culture and traditions of the developed nations. The lack of development could only be done achieved with the help of education, training, and culture change. The best way to help in changing the mindset is the beginning of economic development. In this regard, modernization theory stands out as one of the best means by which a nation can grow.


Klinger, J. (2017). A sympathetic appraisal of Cold War modernization theory. The International History Review, management, 691-712.

Fields, D. More on The Sociology of Development: Towards A Re-articulation of Dependency Theory.


Deb, A. (2015). Discourses of Development Communication: A Critical Review. Pragyan: Journal of Mass Communication, 39.


Fägerlind, I., & Saha, L. J. (2016). Education and national development: A comparative perspective. Elsevier.

Komlos, J. (2014). Nutrition and economic development in the eighteenth-century Habsburg monarchy: an anthropometric history. Princeton University Press.

Sayigh, Y. A. (2014). The Determinants of Arab Economic Development (RLE Economy of Middle East) (Vol. 8). Routledge.

Willis, K. (2014). Development: geographical perspectives on a contested concept. Geography, 99, 60.

Barton, G. A. (2012). The British world model of world history.


Machado, J. A., & Mata, M. E. (2013). A Multidimensional scaling perspective of Rostow's forecasts with the Track-record (1960s-2011) of" pioneers" and" latecomers". In 12th Conference on'Dynamical Systems-Theory and Applications' (pp. 361-378).

Jones, J. (2013). Decreased Poverty and Unemployment: An Examination through the Lens of Rostow's Model of Economic Growth. Indian Journal of Economics and Business, 12(1).

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