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Consequences of modernization

The layman’s definition of modernization is the changing of something so that it is suitable for modern needs or habits. Technically, modernity simply refers to the present and any society still in existence is therefore modern. Sociologists and other scholars have attempted to give a more comprehensive definition of modernization. They ended up defining modernization as a standard evolutionary pattern described in the social evolutionism theories.

According to these theories, each society would evolve inexorably from barbarism to ever greater levels of civilization. This definition has however faced sharp criticism from other scholars which will be looked at in this essay. In this essay, the manifestation of modernization in the US, its continuity and its consequences will be tackled. Modernization will also be looked at as a world trend. How does modernization manifest itself in the US society?

Modernization has manifested itself in the United States in many ways; communities are becoming smaller in the US for example the Native American population has reduced, the aging are becoming more aware of the future, made possible by improved communication systems, people are more aware of their rights and personal choices are becoming more abundant. The United States has greatly moved from a period of barbarism to a more civilized state. The society has become more diverse than ever before. People in the US make their own personal choices and hold their own opinions towards different issues.

(Snyder, P. 2004). They have learnt to accept other people’s views in an open minded manner. A good example of acceptance of diverse views is seen in the different positions taken before and during the war. Different people held and still hold different positions on the war. Whether it was right or not, is totally up to one’s own view. Manifestation of modernization in the US is also seen in the presidential elections held in November. For the first time in the US history, a black man and a woman were in the presidential trail. Barrack Obama is the first black president of the US.

Were the situation to be reversed, and have a woman as the president, it would also be a first one. Manifestation of modernization in the US would not be complete without a look at technological advancements in the country. New technology is a major source of social change. Since modernization deals with social change from agrarian societies to industrial ones, it is important to look at the technological viewpoint of modernization when it comes to the US. The US is one of the most developed countries in the world technologically.

With technology, people in the society are always coming up with new ideas and better ways of making life easier and more enjoyable, (Inkeles, 1974). In the US, a great majority of this has been achieved. Is modernization likely to continue in the US? It is not easy to give a conclusive answer as to whether modernization is likely to continue in the US or not. The situation as it is presently and statistical figures however suggest that modernization is likely to continue for a while. What is not possible is telling when modernization will come to a stand still.

Levels of modernization may never be optimized. Though it is possible to compare the modernization levels of two countries, it is not possible to declare that a country has reached it’s optimal level of modernization. With that, it is possible to conclude that modernization is likely to continue in the US. Areas to watch are; technological advancements, social developments, economic and political developments. Technological developments will come about by the invention of new products that will make work easier for people and will enable better communication systems.

Social developments will be seen by an increase in the social interaction between different people and a wider space of expression by the people. Economic and political developments will mainly be witnessed by the country’s foreign relationship with other countries. Is modernization a world trend? Modernization is indeed a world trend. However, when it comes to the spreading of modernization across the world, it takes a different name. Globalization is the integration of economic, political and social cultures and is related to the spreading of modernization throughout the world.

It theorizes the development of the global economy in the sense that a world is moving in the direction of one cultural society, (Knowles, 1994). Many factors have made modernization a world trend; communication, being the major factor, played this role by enabling capitalism to spread throughout the world. Telephone calls, television broadcasts, news services and online service providers have become more profitable throughout the world. Development in communication systems have led to development in other areas. Trade has improved across the world, between different countries.

People in different countries are now able to make trade deals without necessarily traveling to the different parts of the world. Transport has also improved across the world with improvements being made on existing transportation means. This has made it easier to move from one place to another. Modernization is definitely a world trend. Although not all countries will be modernized at the same rate, it is a fact that development is taking place all over the world. (Peter, C. 2006) What are the consequences of modernization?

Modernization has its impacts on the society. Much as modernization seems to have many positive impacts, it also has negative impacts which unfortunately seem to outweigh the positives. As mentioned earlier, modernization is the changing of something so that it is suitable for modern needs and habits. By changing things to meet the modern needs and habits, developments take occur in a society leading to better ways of life. In the sociologist definition given in the introduction, we mentioned that it was sharply criticized by other scholars.

This was because it conflated modernization with westernization. In this model, the modernization of a society required the destruction of indigenous culture and its replacement by a more westernized one. This happens to be one of the impacts of modernization. Around the world over the past generation, the basic principles and beliefs of modern culture (equality, personal freedom, self fulfillment, and so on have been eroding the domains of traditional cultures which value authority, family obedience and self respect.

The main impact of cultural modernization is declining fertility, (Snyder; 2004). As the world’s developing nations have become better educated, more urbanized and more institutionalized over the past two decades; birth rates have gone down. In 1988, the United Nations Organization forecasted that the world’s population would double in 2100 to 12 billion people. But in 1992, the estimate was dropped to 10 billion and is currently at 9. 1 billion people. Cultural modernization is the linchpin of human sustainability on planet earth, (Snyder, 2004).

Another consequence of modernization is economic globalization. Much as it poses a long- term potential to raise living standards, economic globalization threatens people’s enterprises I both developed and developing nations with potentially insurmountable competition. As a result, the disparity between the rich and the poor has widened over the years. Disparity has brought about an increase in crime rates. The poor now look for alternative ways to sustain themselves and their families.

Due to low employment levels in many countries, they result to crime. Modernization has also had its impacts on the environment. With the industrial and technological advancements in the world today, it is bound that the environmental conditions will be affected. Basic material conditions, such as population, economic production, urbanization and geographical factors all affect the environment and explains the vast majority of cross-national variation in environmental impact.

Modernization has however had its share of positive consequences. In some nations, the health care systems have improved. This has led to increased mortality rates and an increase in population. Communication systems have improved leading to better and faster information passage from one place to another in the world. Many nations have also developed as a result of modernization. Which theorist best reflects your perception of modernization? French philosopher, Emile Durkheim best reflects my perception of modernization.

He developed the concept of functionalism, which stresses the interdependence of the institution of a society and their interaction in maintaining cultural and social unity. He stressed that the major transition from a primitive social order to a more advanced industrial society could bring about crisis and disorder. (Michael and Latham, 2000). By carefully looking at the above essay, one is able to note that modernization has brought more harm than good to the society.

Just as Durkheim predicted, the major transition has brought with it crisis (as seen in the negative consequences) and disorder. References Inkeles, W. (1974). the modern world system. London:London Press Knowles, C. ( 1994). modernization today. Washington:Printers press Michael and Latham. (2000). Modernization as an ideology. Carlifonia: Havard press Peter, C. (2006). Modernism. New York: Published by Routledge Snyder, P. (2004). Five meta-trends that are changing our world. Vol. 3. (21):48-70

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