A Scientific Approach to Development: Modernization Theory
The second novel feature of the post-World War II strategic environment confronting policy-makers was the collapse of the European colonial empires. Modernization theory sought to present a scientific approach for shaping economic and political development in the emerging societies. The Comparative Politics Committee of the Social Science Research Council and MIT’s Center for International Studies provided important support for modernization theory. The chapter provides a taxonomy of four different approaches to modernization theory and highlights the similarities and differences among representative examples of each. The chapter includes discussion of the ideas of Talcott Parsons, Marion Levy, David Apter, Gabriel Almond, Lucian Pye, Daniel Lerner, Alex Inkeles and Walt Rostow.