The notion of modernization is not an idea that developed with the onset of the twentieth century, but one that slowly started to gain from the Industrial Revolution. With the Industrial Revolution, Britain and subsequently, Europe underwent an extensive economic change. The first change being the growth of a moneyed middle class that was well-educated. The middle class soon replaced the feudal aristocratic class. The Industrial Revolution led the way to global economic changes and enabled capitalism to spread worldwide. The idea of labor being a factor of production and being an asset for the economy became new and innovative concepts. Labor began to be perceived as an essential part of the production process, and this led to the laborers being persecuted by the capitalists. The stark difference between the moneyed capitalists and the poor wage earners became evident. Thus, it became essential for the neo-liberalists to rise, new trade laws to be written, Minimum Wage Acts to be passed, and a modern model of globalization to be established. This theory of modernization still holds even in this world of globalization and a free-market economy. Some of the reasons why the theory of modernization is essential even today are as follows:
To ensure that modernization thrives and prospers, the democratic thought process must be encouraged. The free play of market forces decides a country that has a free-market economy, and the price of goods and services is primarily on the path of socio-economic development. However, the exact relationship between modernization and democracy is still much researched. It has been found that most of the nations that are modern and advanced are democratic nations. However, there remain a few nations that have pseudo-modern economic policies but are not democratic. But on carefully studying the economies of these countries, it has been found that these nations are usually backward in various aspects. These nations are often found to be socially, communally, culturally, or politically backward. Hence, it would be wrong to call such a country modern. Thus, in a manner, modernization has become a part of democracy.
Another important part of modernization theory is the development of a new working class. With the growth of Industrialization and, subsequently, globalization, it became essential to protect the rights of the working class. With globalization, the working class has now become self-sustaining, who currently hold critical managerial positions. Unlike the working-class individuals that formed Union during the onset of Industrialization, the present managerial classes are shareholders themselves. Hence, they have a significant say in the workings of the company.
Moreover, with public holding companies, shareholders have vested interest in the growth and development of a modern capitalist form of economy, where the benefit of both the capitalist and the working class are protected. Additionally, both classes are dependent on each other. This mutual dependence has led to the diversification of the preceding working class into the modern bourgeoisie. Although this has not reduced the inequalities or disparities between the haves and have-nots, it has been identified and incorporated in dialogue. This incorporation is essential to bring forth the notion of a welfare state.
A welfare state is one that is concerned about the interests, comfort, and wellbeing of the citizens. Such a nation is genuinely modern because it is not only democratic; its primary objective is the happiness of the citizens. Such a country will have excellent infrastructural facilities. Good infrastructural facilities mean the smooth movement of goods and services within the borders of the country. Additionally, the country will also have unique healthcare facilities. The objective behind the development of a welfare state means that the government of the nation will have to invest heavily in helping the economy of the country progress. The construction of healthcare and educational facilities are two sectors that require extensive investment. Investing in the educational sector means the government of the nation is concerned about developing a skilled workforce. This can prove to be productive and beneficial in the future. Better healthcare facilities mean creating a workforce that is stronger and efficient.
Similarly, a welfare state will also be able to provide its citizens with food security. When all this is combined, the population of the nation turns into an asset, which is known as the labor force. The primary objective of modernization is to convert a potential asset into a productive one. This is possible only when the government of the nation proactively works towards establishing what is known as a welfare state.
It is not possible to modernize a nation without the help of science and technology. Digitalization is an essential part of that modernization. For a country to be genuinely modernized, it has to take into consideration the scientific advancements that have been made across the world. Even if a state is rooted in its traditions, it has to accept the scientific progress in fields of education, healthcare, banking, insurance, heavy industry, agriculture, and other similar sectors. For a nation to be a part of the global economy, it has to accept these technological and scientific advancements.
Moreover, it should ensure that it can incorporate these advancements within its economy. With globalization, a nation can't survive alone. Hence, it has to accept the scientific progress and move along with it.
Thus, modernization is a progressive economic notion that many aspects. It takes into consideration the changes brought about by globalization, digitalization, and the changes that have come in capitalism itself. The modern-day capitalism is no longer what it was initially where capitalists owned companies, and the labor force was reduced to mere wage earners. With modernization, this notion too changed with the emergence of the shareholding class, the managerial class, and people interested in the survival of the capitalist form of economy. Nevertheless, modernization is not possible without the active involvement of the government of the nation.
Jun 10, 2020