Post War Modernization Of Developing Countries Cultural Studies Essay

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In 1960, the American Economic Historian, W. W. Rostow, in his book, The stages of Economic Growth: A Non Communist Manifesto pioneered the theory of economic takeoff and through his high government positions in the United States, greatly influenced US Policy towards developing countries (Simon 2006). Rostow was committed to development and saw economic growth and the modernization of society as avenues to prevent the growth of communism. (Simon 2006) adds that Rostow's stages theory was influential because of its simplicity in which he suggested that countries passed through five stages of economic development.

Rostow argued that it was possible to identify all societies, in their economic dimensions, as lying within one of five categories: the traditional society, the preconditions for take-off, the take-off, the drive to maturity, and the age of high mass-consumption. He said stages 2-4 were the most important because they marked the transition from traditional to modern society (Rostow 1960). Rostow stated that countries went through these stages linearly under certain conditions such as investments, consumption and social trends (Simon 2006). He emphasized that not all conditions had to be met by a country to move from one stage to another and that the time taken in each stage also differed from one country to another.

Traditional society stage is dominated by subsistence activity where output is consumed by producers and agriculture is the primary industry. There are limited production functions, based on pre-Newtonian science and technology, and on pre-Newtonian attitudes towards the physical world (Rostow 1960). The preconditions for takeoff stage, has increased specialization and the emergence of transport infrastructure. There is an influx of entrepreneurs and the emergence of trade concentrating on primary products. In the take off stage, industrialization increases and growth is concentrated in a few regions of the country concentrating in one or two manufacturing industries. The level of investment reaches over 10% of Gross National Product building compound interest into institutions (Rostow 1960). This growth is self-sustaining as investment leads to increasing incomes that generates savings to finance further investment. Rostow says that during the Drive to Maturity stage, an economy moves beyond the original industries developing the capacity to absorb and to apply its resources more efficiently. Some countries at this stage may lack raw materials necessary for economically producing outputs but this dependence is often a matter of economic choice or political priority (Rostow 1960). The last stage is that of High Mass Consumption where the economy is geared towards mass consumption with the growth of consumer industries leading to the increasing dominance of the service sector.

Critical discussion of Shiva's view on western science as a patriarchal project

Vandana Shiva, an Indian philosopher and ecofeminist argues in her book Staying Alive, that the violence to nature, which seems intrinsic to the dominant development model, is also associated with violence to women. In describing western science as a patriarchal project, Shiva portrays development as a colonial project that is viewed as a model for progress without the realization of the subjugation and the exploitation that it brings (Shiva 1988). She notes that "the act of living and of celebrating and conserving life seems to have been sacrificed to progress, and the sanctity of life been substituted by the sanctity of science and development" (Shiva 1988). She equates nature with the feminine principle and its ultimate destruction as the outcome of a modern western patriarchy, noting that "modern science and development are projects of male, western origin, both historically and ideologically and are an expression of a patriarchal ideology which is threatening to annihilate nature and the entire human species" (Shiva 1988).

Shiva claims that development is a continuation of the process of colonization to create wealth that makes use of patriarchal tools to exploit other cultures especially women and degrade the nature in the Third World. She says that development leads to capital accumulation, which not only creates wealth for westerners and local elites but also leads to poverty and dispossession amongst the poor and subjugated (Shiva 1988). She traces Bacon's experimental science, where he dichotomized between male and female as mind and matter, subjective and objective, rational and emotional as central to development of masculinities science (Shiva 1988). Here, Shiva notes an association of women with the weaker of these characters and so thinks that science should be viewed as a sexist metaphor, "the masculine mode of aggregation against nature and domination over women" (Shiva 1988). Shiva thus describes science as the form of patriarchal violence against nature and women.

She equates development to maldevelopment, a development bereft of the feminine arguing that western science does not for example consider as productive labour the sharing of a river by women to satisfy the society's need until this is substituted by a dam and the engineering man. She says that mechanical invention developed by science can not only severely impact on nature but also change the course of nature. "…they have a power to capture and subdue her to shake her foundations" (Shiva 1988). She criticizes technologies such as the Green Revolution and scientific agriculture for favouring men and machines noting that women's traditional roles are overlooked.

I agree with Shiva's charge that western development projects tend to have a male bias and most of these projects have been empirically found to be harmful to nature. With economic growth and profit maximisation as the bottom line of development projects, everything else including the welfare of citizens (especially women, indigenous people, etc) is often secondary. That both the historical industrial origins of the tools used to propagate development to the concept of development itself being a project of males are also irrefutable.

My first disagreement is her illusion that science is inherently western. By describing development as a continuation of the colonisation process with economic growth becoming a new colonialism, and then invoking science as western stirs negative emotions on citizens of these Third World countries. However, some recent works including Bernal's Black Athena have questioned the long held views that science was created by western man noting that although the renaissance and enlightenment ushered in the tradition of scientific inquiry, the ancient Greek civilization viewed as a cradle of western philosophy "had its roots in the East Mediterranean cultures of Egypt and Phoenicia and that Egypt in turn had a profound connection with Africa and Phoenicia" (Bernal 1987) calling it a myth of Eurocentric history.

Shiva identifies feminity with nature (prakriti), equating forces that degrade nature as bound to destroy women. Nonetheless, equating all women with the nurturing, life-sustaining feminine principle, which forms the basis of her patriarchy thesis, I find weak and disagree with. Women in developing countries bear the brunt of the ecological destruction of development projects with their vulnerability being their poverty levels and roles as primary sustainers of the society rather than as a direct target of the patriarchy nature of the projects.

3. Gramsci's concept of hegemony and counter-hegemony in the context of globalisation

The concept of hegemony with its revolutionary Marxist heritage (Anderson 1976), was given currency by Antonio Gramsci a Marxist philosopher and thinker in his Prison Notebooks, written in a fascist prison cell in the late 1920s and early 1930's. According to Gramsci, the term hegemony refers to political leadership and its differing forms in which it is exercised in diverse societies (Thomas 2009). Gramsci states that in hegemony, a particular way of life and thought is dominant, and is diffused throughout society to inform norms, values and tastes, political practices, and social relations (Katz 2006). (Carroll 2009) says that it is based on consent that has an economic base resulting in a combination of coercion and consent.

Gramsci viewed hegemony as one side of the process through which a particular group rules and the other side consisting of the domination" of antagonistic groups which tended to subjugate sometimes even by armed force (Silver & Arrighi 2003). (Anderson 1976) notes an extended transformation of the concept of hegemony by Gramsci occurring in three stages with first referring to "the class alliance of the proletariat with other exploited groups, above all the peasantry, in a common struggle against the oppression of capital (pp 19). Next, Gramsci differentiated the hegemonic role of the proletariat in relation to its class allies from the dictatorship it needed to exercise over and against its class enemies and lastly he stated that it was modeled around a differential analysis of the structures of bourgeois power in the West.

(Archer et al., 2007) refers globalization as a force of international integration pressuring local and regional cultural agents to adopt, in specific ways via specific means, to imposed exigencies, resulting in a pressing process that must be either accommodated or resisted. This imposed international integration has created a global hegemony of neoliberalism linked to capital accumulation (Carroll 2009), whose conditions have to be always socially secured, in turn leading to counter-hegemonic struggles that question the values of this dominant class. He adds that globalization introduced with it elements such as the structural adjustments programs and free markets especially in the south aimed at restoring favourable conditions for the expanded reproduction of capital by removing or neutralizing the effectiveness of social protections, which have impacted on the global market forces on workers, shifting the balance of class power towards capital. (Carroll 2009) provides as an example of globalization, the project of global governance that emerged in the 1990s that elevates protective democracy to the global level and acts to neutralize normalize and legitimize forms of capitalist restructuring and expansion ultimately deepening and broadening neoliberal domination.

(Holloway 2005 cited in Carroll 2009), has written of counter-hegemony as the struggle to liberate power-to from power-over as "the struggle for the reassertion of social flow of doing, against its fragmentation and denial." Carroll adds that most counter-hegemonic struggle occurs in direct opposition of capitalist hegemony- in the rejection of social and semiotic fragmentation, of neoliberal insulation and dispossession, of globalization from above which he argues that has led to the emergence of a global justice movement since the mid-1990s. An example of a counter-hegemonic globalization force is the World Social Forum that believes that another world is possible and offers an effort to develop an alternative future to that advocated by its capitalist rival, the World Economic Forum. Another successful counter-hegemonic force in the era of globalization has been the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Led by the current President Hugo Chavez, this revolution is focused on anti-capitalist policies through the process of devolvement by empowering local governments to act democratically.

According to (Thomas 2009), Gramsci provides four elements useful for the organization of different types of movements that are needed to counter the hegemonic force of globalisation.

The Centrality of Politics

Hegemony is political and involves taking up clear political positions that are aware of the responsibilities involved in providing leadership for all spectrums of the society.

Necessity for a Leadership of the Worker's Movement

He argues that it is only through the organisation of workers that we will be able to organize any genuine transformation of the society.

Necessity for a Clear Political Programme

This refers to ideas in organizing forms of resistance reacting to attacks against the working class but in addition, a positive economic programme in which workers clearly demonstrate genuinely feasible alternative programmes that enable them to contest for positions of leadership in the society.

Necessity of building Concrete Institutions

Gramsci argues that it is important to build institutions that are able to expand the capacities available to members of the working class for democratic participation in the movement thus involved in their own self emancipation.

(Thomas 2009) asserts that in the light of the attacks by the hegemonic forces, there is a need for a theory that reconnects to all the strong points of Marxist critique of political economy, to a Marxist analysis of the causes of the crisis and some of its consequences that connects this to a theory of political organisation. He says that Gramsci provides a theory of the way in which politics is always about the coordination of different interest groups and drawing some of them together in order to form blocks that are powerful enough to oppose other blocks through democratic participation of its members.

Everyday resistance of less powerful groups and the potential for liberation through 'everyday resistance'.

Everyday resistance are forms of resistance by subordinate groups through acts such as false compliance, sabotage, desertion and so on that are often prosaic and a means of class struggle. These activities are often unorganised, unsystematic, individual, opportunistic and self indulgent. They also lack revolutionary consequences and may imply in their intention an accommodation with the protagonists (Scott 1989). Groups resort to everyday resistance as a first resort often in circumstances where it is not possible or it is dangerous to show open dissent. (Scott 1989) notes that "such resistance is virtually always a stratagem deployed by a weaker party in thwarting the claims of an institutional or class opponent who dominates the public exercise of power".Examples of everyday resistance acts include the squatters encroaching on plantations or forests, cascading military desertion and the pilfering of public and private grain stores. Those who employ everyday forms of resistance avoid drawing attention to themselves thus are relatively safe and also require little or no formal coordination.

Everyday resistance actions are of small scale and are designed to be beneath notice. However, as (Scott 1989) notes, these small events may collectively add up to a large event for example where tracts of government land are fully occupied by squatters. The passive resistance is often a matter of tactical wisdom as squatters choose to squat to avoid armed force and bloodshed. Scott suggests that the fatal results of slave uprisings in the ante-bellum US South suggest that that the slave preference for flight, pilfering, foot dragging and false compliance was a matter of tactical wisdom.

There are many practices that represent everyday resistance. (Scott 1989) notes that "their variety is nothing more than a mirror image of the variety forms of appropriation". What unites these techniques are that they are quiet, disguised, anonymous and often undeclared so as to resist authority that have access to force and public power. In Kenya, squatting is a popular form of everyday resistance. Many landless citizens often invade the unused parts of the huge ranches owned by elite Kenyans or government forests in order to settle and practise subsistence farming. Another example of everyday resistance in Kenya is poaching by communities that live in vicinity of areas that have been designated as national parks. These communities had for a long time depended on hunting of animals from forest and the savannah as part of traditional subsistence routine. However, the government changed the law in property relations to make it a crime, suddenly transforming routine activities into everyday resistance. Lastly, everyday resistance is also presented by the urban subaltern made up of the unemployed, casual labourers, subsistence workers living in informal settlements in cities in Kenya. This group of people is continuously involved in acts of everyday resistance in order to acquire the basic necessities of life. Individuals disrupt piped water and destroy electric transformers thus disrupting the flow of these utilities to other citizens. In order to appease them, the utility companies tolerate their tapping of water and electricity which they do not pay for.

Examples abound on the potential of everyday resistance leading to liberation. In Kenya for example, the action of hunger strike by two political prisoners in the end of 1990s led to the change of the entire Kenyan law on political incarcerations as well as to a repeal of the section of the Constitution that banned political multi partism. Likewise, the action of squatters who had settled in unused tracts of private ranches eventually led to their being permanently granted deeds to the said tracts of land and likewise to changes in property laws on unused lands, possession through having appropriated the land for more than 5 years etc. These were liberating acts, not only to the subordinate groups that were directly involved in the forms of everyday resistance but also to other in the same situation.

By their nature of being quiet and undeclared, everyday resistance seldom make the headlines but once liberation is achieved, attention is often directed to the liberation itself and not the aggregation of acts that made it possible. This therefore makes it difficult to attribute liberation directly to acts of everyday resistance. (Scott 1989) notes that the success of any resistance is contingent on relationships of power suggesting that the nature of the acts and the self interested silence of the protagonists often conspire to expunge liberation through everyday resistance from the record books.

Karl Polanyi's "double movement" and its relevance for the struggles of the neoliberal world

Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation argued that the developments in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s such as First World War, rise of fascism and the great depression were as a consequence of the disruption of social units embedded in the market economy (Dale 2012). He located that these happenings were a symptom of a civilisation breakdown attributable to the advent of the free-market economy. He argued that this market's functioning depended on the commoditisation of land, labour and money which he termed as fictitious commodities that resulted in the subjugation of the substance of the society to laws of the market (Dale 2012). Polanyi said that the economy is normally embedded in the society and that trying to disembedd market economy from the society led to a double movement. He described double movement as a situation where different classes of people acted to protect the interests of the society against the market.

Polanyi argued that the conversion of land, labour and money into fictitious commodities threatened the nature, humans and businesses alike, and this inevitably led to complaints and resistance. He added that a self regulating marketing in fundamentally flawed in that it disregarded the fact that leaving the fate of soil and people to the market would be tantamount to annihilating them (Dale 2012). This therefore led to the development of a counter movement which he termed as "double movement" that pressed for the checking of the self destructive effects of the free market. He predicted a resistance arising against the bearers of the fictitious commodities because in part it implied the overturning of established social compacts on the right to livelihood (Silver & Arrighi 2003). Polanyi viewed the notion of self regulating market as utopian and not sustainable thus the development of the countermovement agencies to protect the society.

The concept of double movement is very relevant today as different subordinated groups struggle to free themselves from the shackles of worldwide competition capital and markets otherwise known as globalisation. Breakdown of social order is becoming a more normal phenomenon even more than Polanyi seemed to have allowed in his concept of "double movement" (Silver & Arrighi 2003). The market fundamentalist climate in the 2000s coupled with the global financial crisis in 2008 is witnessing the world standing at the brink of a great transformation. (Dale 2012) notes that immediately after the financial crisis, readers of The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, "were recommended The Great Transformation as the most important text of understanding how the world got itself into the crisis and what to do to ensure that this does not occur again".

The biggest struggle has been against the US hegemony and its liberal policies especially by developing countries in the south. As a result of the policies advocated by the Washington Consensus, the US enjoyed unprecedented monopoly of global military power, integration of capitalist powers in mostly its transnational corporations and collusion with its western allies to share each other's resources for the reproduction of their privileged status in the global political economy (Silver & Arrighi 2003). In spite of the promotion of liberal policies, hegemonic US has been engaged in highly protecting its markets for example through tax breaks for US exports, imposition of tariffs on imports and providing agricultural subsidies to its farmers thus undermining its crusade for open and free markets.

(Mason 2009) states that "double movement" is reaching a turning point with the end of neoliberalism as an ideology and economic model. In Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, (the so called PIIGS) where despite having been hit hard by the crisis, the neoliberalism project is continuing through a set of austerity measures imposed through the European Union as conditionality for financial bailout, there is a push back in the form of protests which resonate firmly with Polanyi's description of the concept of "double movement". In Ireland, David Begg the General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions hailed Polanyi as its Patron Saint, emphasising his importance and that of his concept in the struggles in the neoliberal world.