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The Yanamamo, are a tribal people who live within the tropical forests that envelope the banks of South America's Orinoco River. Macionis avowed that the Yanamamo are "one of the most technologically simple societies on Earth" (2006, p. 39). The Yanamamo do not bear or use common utilities and mechanisms, and even in today's technologically advanced world, hunt with unsophisticated gear, chiefly bows and arrows. To date, the Yanamamo culture has not been affected by modernization. Modernization "is the process of social change begun by industrialization" (Macionis, 2006, p. 455). Modernized regions, like China and the United States of America, must continue to acknowledge the realization that although modernization often generates improvement, on occasion modernization does not and contains adversity.
American and Western European societies experienced social change from the Industrial Revolution and Agricultural Revolutions. French sociologist, Emile Durkheim, stated, "modernization was marked by an increasing division of labor, or specialized economic activity" (Macionis, 2006, p. 457). An example of modernization and its manifestation, automobile entrepreneur Henry Ford was able to reduce the assembly costs by dividing the car building process into several tasks performed by different workers. As a result, his company became more profitable, his employees had higher wages, and the consumers ended up paying cheaper prices (Macionis, 2006).
In the case of Henry Ford, social change and modernization flaunted positive consequence. According to "the father of sociology", Emile Durkheim, modern societies such as
France and the United States of America may fold into anomy, "a condition in which society
provides little moral guidance to individuals" (Macionis, 2006, p. 458), and anomie (anomy)
defined as "a condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from
a lack of purpose or ideals" by Encyclopædia Britannica (2010). Progressively, people may
become egocentric, live under little moral laws, and be incapable of self-pride. The suicide rates,
which increased during the twentieth century in the United States, are good indexes of anomie
that support Durkheim's idea on how modernization manifests (Macionis, 2006).
The United States and other prosperous countries are moving from a modernization era to an era of postmodernity. Macionis (2006, p. 467) terms postmodernity as "social patterns characteristic of postindustrial societies." Whilst modernization is most often noted as having been initiated by the Industrial Revolutions and the Agricultural Revolution, postmodernization is a consequence of the information revolution. The term postmodern is founded on five premises: Modernization has failed. In fact, modernization has not solved several social issues, e.g. poverty, mortal diseases, or many people still without financial security. Second, progress is waning. As a whole, postmodern society holds less confidence in the ideals that the future will improve communal life. Cultural debate and controversy are intensifying. The invariable truth is that issues pertaining to animal rights, social justice, and our planetary environment are attracting added public attention within postmodern societies. Additionally, science is slow to manifest the answer. Postmodern society argues that science created novel troubles, for example, pollutants, and has done so without solving the former. Last, social institutions are shifting. Macionis indicates, "just as industrialization brought sweeping transformation to social institutions, the rise of a postindustrial society is remarking society all over again" (Macionis, 2006, p. 469).
Modernization "enhanced human productivity and raised living standards in many nations" (Macionis, 2006, p. 470). However, modernization had not become a global trend. Sociologists have declared that rich nations were able to achieve modernization at the expense of poorer nations - exploiting the weaker nation's human capital and resources. Today's opulent countries are even promoting modernization in such poor countries through technological exportation. Unfortunately, for those poorer regions a consequential price is paid - "losing their traditional identity and values as they are drawn into a global McCulture based on Western materialism, pop music, trendy clothes, and fast food" (Macionis, 2006, p. 470). Global modernization remains difficult to achieve, as preindustrial people likely tend to resist to changes.
Modernization may be the proponent of rapid social change, which can be noted within the term of one generation. Modern societies have heterogeneous values, norms, orientation, and technology, rather than traditional societies (Macionis, 2006). Other consequences of modernization are evident within the economic and health areas. In fact, modern societies have economy based on mass production; factories become center of production. Death and birth rates are lower. Modern people have longer life expectancy because of more sophisticated medical technologies (Macionis, 2006).
In her journal, "Changes and Inequality in Latin American Families", Irma Arriagada discusses the effects of modernization on families. In particular, Latin American families have been increasing their access to consumption of goods and services; family sizes have shrunk because of the change on population age and family structure; families have been experiencing a transition from rural to urban work. Finally, families have access to goods and services, which involve "expanded service coverage, but also a greater social fragmentation resulting from variable service quality" (Arriagada, 2006, p. 515).
Palmore, Branch, and Harris analyzed the consequences of modernization on elders and ageism. In particular, they stated that modernization "cause declines in the status of elders and the development of ageism" (Palmore, et al., 2005, p.231). In particular, technologies (e.g. robotics) decrease the demand for older worker, increase competitions between generations and unemployment. Furthermore, new technologies make obsolete the skills of older workers. Such trends, lend to the level of retired individuals and decline in the income and status of elders. Finally, the phenomenon of modernization, e.g. urbanization "leave old people behind in rural areas and deteriorating parts of the city, leading to their isolation and loss of status" (Palmore et al., 2005, p. 231).
Modern countries should realize that modernization improves life in some ways, but in others, it does not, as with environmental degradation. In fact, computers, automobiles, utilities such as electricity, etcetera are all products of modernization that make lives more enjoyable; however, modernization also has provided products that contributed to make the populous' lives in less enjoyable fashion. German sociologist, Ferdinand Tonnies best echoes my personal slant of modernization. In effect, Tonnies observed modernization as the transition from the "progressive loss of community amid growing individualism" (Macionis, 2006, p. 471). Tonnies visioned and affirmed that people live among strangers, do not trust each other, and tend to put their personal needs ahead.
By example, the planetary environment is a victim of modernization and of stout individualism. For example, urbanization, which today is cohesively fused with deforestation, has been a dominant issue within modern societies. Indeed, "human control of the natural environment increased dramatically with the Industrial Revolution" (Macionis, 2006, p. 435). Since the advent of agriculture, roughly 40% of Earth's forest cover has been lost (Bryant, et al, 1997). Worldwide deforestation accelerates flooding, decreases the natural contribution of life-giving oxygen into the atmosphere, reduces biodiversity, and is a catalyst of global warming.
Moreover, if humanity stays true to its selfish course by encroaching upon "the isolated" - remote aboriginal societies reminiscent of the Yanamamo, will undoubtedly experience the effects of modernization and social change.