Historians link modernization to the processes of urbanization and industrialization and the spread of education. Oxford Research Encyclopedias International Studies. The gauntlet that empirical discoveries of irregularities and fifty years of research on social, economic, and political development has laid down is a significant challenge for constructing a contemporary endogenous modernization theory, but it is a task worth pursuing and, as this essay hints, not entirely insurmountable. Links to Digital Materials. Protests subsided in the aftermath of Tiananmen, and many Chinese did not react to the CCP’s decision to restore economic stability by entrenching its control of the economy to control inflation. A New Modernization Theory through a Credible Polity and a Weightless Economy We can now turn to a review of how a new modernization theory might be constructed addressing the problems with the classical version discussed above as well as being able to tractably study the role of embedded social institutions as well as instrumental rational action.

For instance, still at a high level of embeddedness, a researcher may study institutional or regime transitions at the level of the country or polity, where he or she may concentrate on debating and evaluating the relevance of the various factors germane to regime change. In , Lipset was named among the top American intellectuals, as measured by academic citations, in Richard Posner ‘s book, Public Intellectuals: White —44 John Gaus —45 Walter F. Geddes , summarizing the state of the literature in , highlighted the point that the most significant established contribution of the literature has been in suggesting a nonlinear relationship between the probability of democratization and economic development. Moore Charles P.

Johns Hopkins University Press. It began with urbanization that led to a growing need for education and technology, which in turn created the demand for mass communication and a more efficacious media sector.

lipset modernization thesis

Japan is cited as an example by both sides. Assume that such infiltrations happen in discrete time and at regular intervals.

Modernization Theory

Journal of Economic Literature 38 3— Definitionally, however, it encompasses an uncomfortably large swathe of ideas ranging from more esoteric ideas such as trust and respect to somewhat less contentious ones such as group cohesion and cooperation. Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel contend that the realization of democracy is not based solely on an expressed desire for that form of government, but democracies are born as a result of the admixture of certain social and cultural factors.

In fact, the weightless economy is closely connected to a weightless political concept we can call the credible polity. A New Modernization Theory through a Credible Polity and a Weightless Economy We can now turn to a review of how a new modernization theory might be constructed addressing the problems with the classical version discussed above as well as being able to tractably study the role of embedded social institutions as well as instrumental rational action.


The economies of countries might, on the contrary, be forming two distinct clubs of convergence, a club of high-income countries and a club of low-income countries, with any middle-income groups disappearing over time as the global system approached a steady state. Weber’s approach provided the basis for the modernization paradigm as popularized by Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons —who translated Weber’s works into English in the s and provided his own interpretation.

In doing so, we will also take a necessary detour to study the crucial role of information and knowledge since social modernization is, now more than ever before, characterized by more informed societies. And it does so without simply ordering existing regime classifications and providing an argument with deterministic step functional form. While Goorha is certainly not a definitive characterization of the ergodic global distribution of political regimes, the message of twin clubs of convergence in political regimes it provides is quite clear.

In this setup, it is possible to define two concepts. Base erosion and profit shifting Brain drain reverse Climate change Climate justice Development aid Economic inequality Endangered languages Fair trade Forced migration Human rights Illicit financial flows Invasive species Investor-state disputes New international division of labour North—South divide Offshoring Race to the bottom pollution havens Transnational crime McDonaldization Westernization American imperialism British Empire World war.

lipset modernization thesis

It is closely connected to a weightless political concept called the credible polity, which is a government that creates institutions that credibly protect property rights and are also transparent in their functioning to all members of its society. America’s Cold War economic diplomacy pp Consider now how things might play out over time. Credibility in a fully imperfect credible polity is an liipset.

Media related to Modernization theory at Wikimedia Commons.

Seymour Martin Lipset – Wikipedia

Cell phones, for example, have changed the lives of millions throughout the world. In the s, some critics argued that the link between modernization and democracy was based too much on the example of European history and neglected the Third World. First, it is a resource that paradoxically grows when exploited and therefore features the comedy of the commons rather than the traditional tragedy of the commons we are familiar with.


The contributions of social choice theory are of fundamental importance owing to their concentration on how the regime structure specifically affects the first principles of political competition itself. We can approach the issue by juxtaposing the weightless economy with a similarly unadorned concept that can perhaps provide a more systematic answer to studying the role of political and social institutions in contemporary modernization processes: Second, it requires a credible regulatory structure that allows demand aggregation, and therefore a society that has experience in creating social institutions that do this more effectively is more likely to be able to exploit the benefits of knowledge more rapidly.

Modernization of the health sector of developing nations recognizes that transitioning from ‘ traditional ‘ to ‘modern’ is not merely the advancement in technology and the introduction of Western practices; implementing modern healthcare requires the reorganization of political agenda and, in turn, an increase in funding by feeders and resources towards public health.

lipset modernization thesis

First, an understanding of the role of social capital in modernization is very relevant to any contemporary effort on studying modernization as a general theory. I agree wholeheartedly with the first part of that statement but would argue that the conclusion it arrives at sets the bar too low.

There are two levels of analysis in classical modernization theory: The prospects of China democratizing have garnered much interest and assessment. It is a central contention of dependency theorists such as Andre Gunder Frank that poor states are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor states are integrated into the ” world system “. The preceding discussion has emphasized the benefit of a social modernization theory while simultaneously acknowledging the problematic elements of classical modernization theory.

At his death inThe Guardian called him “the leading theorist of democracy and American exceptionalism”; The New York Times said he was “a pre-eminent sociologist, political scientist and incisive theorist of American uniqueness”; and the Washington Post said he was “one of the most influential social scientists of the past half century.