The historical relationship between industrialisation and harm to the environment
Historically, both Capitalist and Socialist models of development have largely ignored the environmental impact of development for most of the last 200 years, with the environment only appearing on the International Development Agenda until the late 1980s (see later).
The industrial capitalist model of development favoured by Modernisation Theorists is based on achieving economic growth through industrialisation and exporting goods to other countries in order to increase income. Both of these processes have been historically dependent on consuming large amounts of natural resources and have tended to create large amounts of pollution. This is because the efficiencies of industrial production are achieved through mechanisation, which has historically been fuelled by polluting fossil fuels, mostly coal (which aren’t needed when people grow their own food and make their own clothes in subsistence systems), and the exporting of goods around the world also requires more energy for transportation compared to subsistence systems, which has increased the demand for oil.
The Modernisation Approach also aims to achieve the ‘high age of mass consumption’, implying that the ultimate aim of development is for everyone in the world to consume at the level of people in the western, developed world. Today this would mean the average person eating a lot more meat, owning a car, taking holidays abroad and having a higher turnover of material goods (mobile phones and clothes for example), and the more people who move towards this, then the greater the demand on the earth’s natural resources (land, water, fossil fuels, minerals) and the greater the pollution that is created in the manufacturing and distribution of these goods.
While it remains easy for people in the West today to ignore the environmental impacts of the industrial-capitalist mode of development there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that this path to development has resulted in significant harm to the environment. We have already seen this in case studies such as the coal mining fuelling industrialisation in Northern India, Deforestation in Haiti, and the toxic waste resulting from ship-breaking in Bangladesh.
A clear relationships between industrial development and increasing CO2 emissions…
CO2 emissions are effectively a measurement of how much oil and coal a country uses, the burning of which lead to global warming which is widely regarded as the major environmental problem of our time.
Based on the table to the chart above (taken from Our World in Data) ,there seems to be a clear relationship between Industrial Capitalist Development and environmental decline.
Increasing Awareness of Environmental Decline in Recent Decades…
Increasing awareness of the damage we are doing to the environment has led to the emergence of numerous conservation groups, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature who have successfully campaigned for the establishment of various nature reserves around the world, and also to well-known international environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace and the Friends of The Earth who campaign more broadly to get governments to introduce measures to slow the pace of environmental decline. These groups today have wide ranging support from the general public to the extent that Green Parties around Europe have gained steady support in the last three decades (not that you’d know this because the media under-reports it).
There are numerous ways of categorising the harms we are doing to the planet, and one way of doing so is to break down environmental challenges into the following categories…Global warming and sea level rise
Global Warming and Sea Levels Rising
Pollution and toxic waste
New ‘Risky’ Technologies
We will explore these challenges further in future posts!
During the early phases of its economic development, there were few vested interests In South Korea to oppose Import Substitution Industrialization: there was no landlord class (like in South America) and no foreign ownership of industry (like in much of Africa), so there were no vested ‘extractive’ interests to block the consumption of imports which was required to boost manufacturing.
During the 1980s South Korea also benefited from global political and economic trends: it gained an ally in America who wanted a stronghold in Asia to prove that a free-market economy was a viable alternative to communism; it was also able to benefit from the increasing global demand for cars and other industrial products – cheaper labour in South Korea meant it was eventually able to build a very successful automobile industry, spruing on the decline of manufacturing in places like Detroit.
The Hyundai factory in Ulsan is now the biggest automobile factory in the World, an honor which used to belong to the River Rouge Ford Factory in Detroit.
By the 1990s South Korea was being categorized as a Newly Industrialized Economy…however, the idea that this success was because of neoliberal policies is a myth. Rather, the strong economic growth post WW2 was because the authoritarian government (not beholden to either of the vested interests above) was able to protect industries, much in the same way as Britain and America did during their strong phases of economic growth.
In short, South Korea’s economic success is because the state played a highly interventionist role in steering, stimulating and constraining the market.
Korea was a Japanese Colony from 1910 to 1945, providing food and fuel for the ‘motherland’.
Following the fall of the Japanese Empire at the end of World War II, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into North and South Korea, North Korea controlled by communist Russia, and South Korea governed by the United States, pitching Communist and Capitalist modes of development against each other.
Following the brutal Korean War of 1950 to 1953 (which was the first war of the ‘cold war’ and was brutal enough to result in 4 million deaths) both North and South Korea lay decimated: plundered by 50 years of colonial rule and then a decade of fighting their infrastructures lay in ruins.
South Korea’s economy stagnated in the decade following the Korean war, but then grew rapidly, and today South Korea is one of the world’s leading economies, whereas North Korea stagnated under hard-line communist rule.
Given the fact that the two countries share common histories up until the end of WW2, and given that they share similar cultures and climates, these things cannot explain their divergent experiences in development since 1950 – and thus South Korea’s development (and North Korea’s lack of it) can only be explain by the social and economic development strategies (and their consequences) adopted by the South Korean government since the 1950s.
Following the war South Korea received some support for reconstruction from the US. As a percentage of gross national income South Korea received a very similar level of support to Kenya in the 1960s. But International Development Assistance was not the answer to Korean poverty. USAID reported that Korea was a ‘bottomless pit’ that could not be helped by development funding.
In 1961, when General Park Chung-Hee came to power in a military coup, South Korea’s yearly income was just $82 per person (for comparison Ghana’s was $179 at the time). In 1962 Park turned civilian and went on to win three elections before seizing the presidency for life. His rule was strict and South Korea was a highly disciplined society.
Park surrounded himself with able colleagues and made some astute political moves: During the Vietnam war, South Korea sent troops to support US efforts and was richly rewarded. In the mid 1960s, revenues from the Americans for Korean troops in Vietnam were the larges single source of foreign-exchange earnings.
Park was authoritarian and stifled liberties, but he put in place policies which effectively modernized South Korea.
Five year plans for economic development were at the heart of his strategy. Growth was steady during the 1960s as new factories producing basic goods were built, and in 1973 Park launched the ‘Heavy and Chemical industrialization programme’ which estalished the first steel mills and car manufacturing plants, which formed the backbone for industrial development and moved South Korea away from reliance on agricultural products.
As a result of Park’s economic policies, Per Capita income grew by more than 5 times between 1972 and 1979, reaching $1000 per capita by 1977, and all of this with very little reliance on aid.
Growth depended on Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), which mean reducing dependence on imports and replacing them with domestically produced products. In practice this meant protecting basic goods such as clothing, hand tools and processed food.
Citizens were also heavily disciplined: they were mobilized like soldiers into factories and consumption was also tightly controlled: for example, foreign cigarettes were band, and citizens were encouraged to report anyone smoking imported tobacco products.
Every spare cent of foreign exchange earned from exports was used to import new machine imports to further industrialization and over many years South Korea’s manufacturing processes evolved to become more and more technologically sophisticated and eventually the nation transitioned to producing manufactured goods for export to foreign markets.
The history of the Samsung Corporation illustrates the successful development of the South Korean economy.
Samsung began selling dried fish, fruit and vegetables to China in 1938, before moving into flour milling and confectionery manufacturing, then textile weaving. In the early 1970s it invested in heavy, chemical and petrochemical industries and produced the first black and white television for domestic sale in South Korea in 1972. In the second half the 1970s Samsung moved into producing home electronics for export, and today is one of the world’s leading technology companies.
The result of all of this is that South Korea has seen one of the fastest rates of economic growth since WW2 – it’s GDP was over $28 000 in 2016.
However, South Korea’s development did come at a cost: political freedoms were limited (although Korea is now a democracy) working hours were very long, and gender inequality high. Today, South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and widespread alcohol dependency.
Summarized from Brooks (2017) The End of Development.
Is it possible to perceive the making of modern America as a sort of colonial project? One in which the new American capitalist class colonizes the so called American wilderness for the benefit of Capitalism? This is the argument Andrew Brooks makes in his recent book – The End of Development:
On 4 July 1776 the newly independent United States of America consisted of 13 colonies that were formally ceded by Great Britain in 1783. The United States then expanded Westwards, and by the time of the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico in 1853, the modern boarders of the contiguous United States were established.
Formal territorial expansions were legally and politically essential. Annexation first provided new space for capitalism, then new Americans came, conquered and combined land, labour and capital to generate wealth. Fundamentally though it was the direct control and space and the westward advance of Europeans and their conflicts with other Americans that were the real means of making the nation.
The whole history of the United States is one of occupation and land seizure: rather than territorial colonialism abroad, there was unprecedented territorialism at home. Ironically, the American war of Independence (1775 – 1783), far from being a pure anti-colonial struggle, was rather a moment that enabled expanded imperialism led by the European Americans. Once the revolution had freed the settlers, they conquered the res of the North American continent and reorganized the space for capitalism. This meant removing the Native population to make room for an expanding immigrant population, as was advocated by Benjamin Franklin.
The popularization of the notion of ‘wilderness’ was a key ideological tool which promoted this expansion Westwards – the great interior of the new United States was portrayed as wild country which was the antithesis of civilization, full of wild savages, both of which needed to be overcome in order for progress to be made.
(Of course in reality, neither were true, many Native American Tribes had rich cultures which managed the land they had occupied for centuries in a sustainable manner).
In the 19th century, the American capitalist was a colonist at home, enjoying what the European capitalist had to travel to Africa or Asia to achieve: profits were accumulated through imported slaves, and later indentured Chinese labour on the Pacific Coast.
Profit was also accumulated via exploitation of Native Americans through trade. Indigenous peoples exchanged pelts for fish hooks, guns and knives, which benefited whites and forged a relationship of dependency.
Rifles changed the balance of power between tribes, causing warfare between native peoples, as well as intensifying hunting practices. Established cultures and ways of life that had existed for centuries were wiped out in a few short decades. For instance, muskets used by Metis hunters nearly wiped out buffalo in the Red River valley of North Dakota.
Fur trading was one of the first major economic activities, but American capitalism soon diversified and grew as it learnt the lessons of the industrial revolution in Britain, and it was a rapid industrialization as the USA was both unencumbered by old social relations such as Feudalism, and all the necessary resources to fuel industry were on home soil.
Ultimately, Brooks argues that any time Washington, Hamilton, Adams or Jefferson referred to the ‘Federal Union’ in their presidential address, they were really referring to the process of forging an American Empire – except they didn’t need ships to go and do it in far away places, they had plenty of ’empty’ territory right next door.
In order to understand what Modernisation Theory is, it’s useful to have an understanding of what the ‘Industrial Capitalist’ model of development is. The United Kingdom and America, the two leading super powers in the world up throughout the last two centuries, both followed an industrial-capitalist model of development,
There are obviously two bits to ‘industrial capitalism’:
INDUSTRIAL + CAPITALISM
The first requires more explanation….
Capitalism and Development
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production (land, raw materials, technology, factories and offices) and where production is carried out for a profit.
Under capitalism, any individual with sufficient capital (defined as resources which are available to be invested rather than saved for emergencies or simply consumed) is free to set up a business and produce a good or a service which can then be sold for a profit in the market.
In theory, Capitalism is the most efficient way of ensuring that people get the goods and services they want at the cheapest price. The reason for this is that if a Capitalist sees someone else making a profit (selling blue widgets for example), they will see an opportunity, and start producing blue widgets themselves, wanting to profit themselves.
This creates competition between the two producers, which should have three effects – competition should drive prices down, because consumers want the cheapest product, and/ or it should also push quality up, because consumers want the best quality for the cheapest price; it should also encourage innovation, as each capitalist receives a lower profit for blue widgets, they might try making fancier or different colored widgets, thus generating new demand.
In reality, what happens is all of the above – capitalist production creates new markets in varying qualities of widgets (different for different people with differing income levels) and innovation – as more producers come in seeking profit through production.
Crucial to the capitalist mode of production is labour power – capitalists buy labour power through paying wages (on the ‘job market’) – in Marxist theory, this is an exploitative relationship as the capitalist extracts surplus value from the workers by paying them less than the value of the goods they produce, but pro-Capitalists argue that it’s a win-win situation, as under free-market Capitalism, anyone is free to sell their labour elsewhere, or set up their own business themselves.
Communism – the ‘opposite of Capitalism’
The opposite of pure, free-market capitalism is Communism – where there is no private property and the state owns and controls the means of production. Under state-communism in Russia during most of the 20th century, the state decided what people and society needed and dictated to factories what was to be produced in five year phases. Thus there was no role for the profit motive or entrepreneurial innovation.
Goods were effectively rationed, and distributed according to need rather than by being sold on the market place.
It follows that in ‘pure communist systems’ people had much less economic freedom than under Capitalism.
NB – the above is a very rough account!
The role of the state in ‘free-market’ capitalist systems
In most European societies today, the state (governments) regulate the ‘free-market’ – so the ‘free’ in the ‘free-market’ is a very relative concept.
For example, there are lots of laws about health and safety, and environmental protection and worker rights (the minimum wage) which restrict the freedoms of capitalists; and there is also taxation which allows the state to provide some services for free to everyone (along Communist lines) – in the UK for example we have free state provided health and education, and security (the police) – so there is a very limited ‘free-market’ in these areas.
Industrialization and Development
Industrialization refers to the process of moving from an agricultural to a factory based economy, which in turn involved harnessing the power of coal, oil and gas to power machines in factories to produce goods rapidly and efficiently.
The best example of the industrial mode of production is Henry Ford’s Ford motor plant, in which he organised the production of cars along a conveyor belt system – where workers would stand in one ‘post’ and progressively add bits onto a car which came past them.
Industrialization went hand in hand with Capitalism, as organizing workers to work in a mechanized factory was the cheapest way to produce massive amounts of goods for sale and thus to maximize profits for individual capitalists.
Fast forward to the present day and many areas of production have been ‘industrialized’ – pretty much all forms of transport, clothing, computers, and even agriculture (thought tractors etc).
So what is the Industrial-Capitalist mode of development?
It basically refers to the past 200 years of economic development in Europe and America, which has since spread to many other parts of the world. The UK went through this phase in the 19th century, the USA in the 20th.
The industrial-capitalist mode of development consists of an economic system which allows (relatively) high amounts of freedom to capitalists to invest and make a profit – it was the Capitalist class (e.g. Henry Ford) who effectively industrialized the production of most goods for example.
This had the knock on effect of creating lots of jobs and secondary business, and eventually a surplus which the government could tax in order to provide a range of welfare benefits to populations for free.
It is this mode of development which Modernisation theory suggests developing countries should adopt in order to develop, thus following in the footsteps of the UK and the USA.
Disclaimer – I wrote this off the top of my head in 20 minutes!
The decline of Detroit was alos the decline of Fordism and Modernity.
The history of Detroit, USA from 1900 to the present day present offers an interesting case study in the benefits of industrial modernity in the early 20th century, and the problems caused by modernity’s decline from the 1960s.
Detroit underwent a rapid process of industrialisation in the early part of the 20th century, which led to enormous prosperity and wealth being generated which was, by and large, shared by the majority of the city’s population. Detroit is synonymous with Henry Ford, and the particular model of industrial-capitalism which he basically invented – mechanised production and decent wages and benefits for his workers.
However, the second half the century saw Detroit spiral into a decline of de-industrialisation, state-bankruptcy, inequality, and social unrest.
The Rise of Detroit: Industrialisation from the 1900s to the 1950s
In its hey day, Detroit represents one of the most successful case studies in Industrialization in world history. The case of Detroit helps us to understand why Modernization Theorists in the 1940s and 50s were so keen on exporting Capitalist-Industrialization as a model of development for other countries: basically industrialization brought about many positive developments and so it seemed logical to export it.
By the late 19th century Detroit’s industry included leading shipbuilding, pharmaceutical and railway businesses. Detroit was successful because it was strategically located near to natural resources and markets via railroads and steamboats, and from the mid 19th century there was no place that better represented American progress and power.
Detroit was the Motor city that helped drive the United States forward, and the most well-known company which was based there was the Ford Motor Company – in 1932, its Rouge River industrial complex was the largest integrated factory in the world, with its own docks, railway lines, power station and plant, and over 100 000 workers, and 120 miles of conveyor belt.
Raw materials including iron ore and coal arrived by barge and rail and completed for Model Bs rolled off the end of the vertically integrated production lines.
In 1932 Henry Ford’s son commissioned the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera to paint scenes of the nearby Ford factories, which can today be viewed in the Detroit Institute of Art. Rivera’s murals captured the heat, energy and dynamism of the factories, but also the political and social tensions of time. Rivera was a communist, while Ford was a staunch opponent of labour organisations, and Rivera’s murals show workers working in harmony with machines, but also hint at the struggles between management and employees, which would become much more marked in the following decades.
Through industrialisation, both the human bodies of the workers and the landscape came to serve the needs of industrial capital, and women and men experienced this in very different ways, with men working in the factories, and women, by and large, staying at home, restricted to the private sphere.
The Ford family grew incredibly wealthy through their mastery of technology and production lines and their extraction of surplus value from the labour of workers. Mass production was perfected by Ford – his famous Model T was launched in 1900, and by 1918, half of all cars in America were Model Ts.
Ford not only transformed the economic organisation of society, he also helped transformed its social organisation – he invested much of his profit into social welfare – by establishing an art institute and the Henry Ford Hospital, for example, while the relatively high wages he paid to his workers helped them to increase their consumption and enjoy new leisure opportunities, helping to forge a new consumer culture. This compromise between capital and labour is known as Fordism.
In the 20th century, Detroit became a booming metropolis. The Ford Factory was only the largest of 125 motor factories in the city in the early 20th century, and there were many other industries to. The population of Detroit soared from under 80 000 in 1870 to over 1.5 million in 1930, making it the fourth largest city in America at that time.
The assembly lines and the rhythms of work gave new arrivals a purpose and set in motion a relentless movement towards modernity and progress. Mass production would lead mass employment and in turn enable mass consumption. Detroit was the world’s greatest working-class city in the most prosperous nation on earth. The automotive industry and the giants such as Ford and General Motors and Chrysler that dominated Detroit were what California’s Silicon Valley and the tech monopolies of Apple, Google and Twitter are to today’s era of smartphones, software and social media.
The Great depression of the 1930s struck a devastating blow as automobile sales fell rapidly, but the city was revitalized by the Second World War as car factories were rebooted to produce tanks and planes for the US military and its allies. Detroit became the ‘arsenal of democracy’.
Following victory the whole American economy was booming and a second great period of Fordism surged forwards as mass automobile ownership spread across the United States. Great chrome Cadillacs and luxury Lincolns sailed off the production lines in the 1950s like polished ocean cruisers….
However, from the late 1960s onward, a combination of the growth of industrial competition from abroad and underlying social and ethnic tensions in Detroit would lead the city into a spiral of de-industrial decline…..
The Decline of Detroit
Beneath the gloss of mass consumption Detroit always hid inequalities.
On July 23 1967 police busted an illegal after-hours salon in a black neighbourhood. 85 people were arrested and tempers rose between the detainees and the officers. A five day riot ensued which was quashed by 17000 police, national guard and troops resulting in over 7000 arrests.
Black people were expressing their resentment over limited housing and economic opportunities and a history of racial discrimination and violence. Detroit increasingly became a black majority city as the white working classes moved to the suburbs (80 000 left in 1968 alone), leaving Detroit city in a decline of mass unemployment and rising crime.
A downward spiral continued into the 1970s as American manufacturers faced increasing competition from abroad and moved production to cheaper locations to cut cost, leaving further unemployment in their wake.
Detroit city further suffered because remaining managers and workers moved out to the suburbs or smaller towns just outside of the city – because tax revenue was heavily reliant on property taxes, Detroit city lost a considerable amount of its tax revenue, while the administrative centres around Detroit were well funded by the relatively well off workers who had moved to them. Detroit became a divided city – with wealthy, well funded suburbs and a declining, underfunded central city authority with massive social problems.
The 2007/08 financial crisis shook the auto industry to its core – but companies such as Chrysler and General Motors were bailed out by the Federal government, and have since recovered – Across metro Detroit half a million people still work in manufacturing, 130 000 in the auto industry, and they earn 75% above the state average salary.
Detroit city, on the other hand, did not fare so well during the financial crisis and in 2013 underwent the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
To emphasize the inequality in Detroit:
In Livingstone county, which is 96% white, the median household income is $73000
In Detroit City, which is 82.7% black, the median household income is $26, 000 and nearly 40% of people live in poverty.
Detroit south of the 8 Mile boundary – made famous by Eminem’s 8 Mile movie, is considered to have one of the highest murder rates in the country, and there are over 100 000 empty properties.
There are some positive development projects going on in Detroit, but the stark difference between rich and poor in the wider region is plain for any observer to see.
Lessons from Detroit
Detroit is important because it is a signal case for what is happening in many industrialized countries around the world – across the rust belt in America and mirrored in Southern European countries and northern England as well.
It reminds us that impoverishment is not just limited to the global south.
Signposting and Relevant to A-level Sociology
The decline of Detroit is a useful case study which indicates the decline of Modernity (for example with Fordism dyeing out) and the move to Postmodernity.
Detroit is very much a casualty in shift to postmodernisation.
In this TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson argues that our current educational systems are still based on a industrial paradigm of education – education is increasingly standardised and about conformity, and kids, who are living in the most stimulating age in history, fail to see the point of going to school, which is about ‘finding the right answers to pass the tests’ rather than about stimulating divergent thinking.
One of our major solutions to the plague of distracted kids (alienated by a system the don’t identify with) is to medicate them to get them through school, whereas what really needs to change is the system itself – we need a paradigm shift, rather than mere reform.
Current Education systems are not fit for the future
Every country on earth is in the process of reforming its education system. There are two reasons for this:
The first is economic – countries are trying to figure out how to prepare children for work when we simply don’t know what work will look like in the future.
The second is cultural – countries are trying to figure out how to pass on their ‘cultural genes’ while at the same time having to respond to globalisation.
The problem with current processes of educational reform is that we are trying to tackle the future by doing what we did in the past and we are alienating millions of kids in the process, who simply can’t see the point of going to school.
When generation X when to school, we were motivated by a particular story: that if we worked hard and got good grades, we could get to college, get a degree and get a good job. Today’s children do not believe this, and they are right not to: getting a degree means you will probably get a better job, but is no longer guaranteed to get you a decent job!
The education system is rooted in an industrial paradigm
The problem with the current education system is that it was conceived in the cultural context of the Enlightenment and the economic context of the industrial revolution. It emerged in the nineteenth century, which was the first time which compulsory public education, freely available to all and paid for by taxes was established.
The Modern education system was originally founded on an ‘us and them’ mentality as many thinkers in the 19th century seriously believed that ordinary street kids could not cope with it, and it is also founded on an Enlightenment concept of the mind – which favours a knowledge of the classics and deductive reasoning, what we might call ‘academic knowledge’.
The system thus divides people into ‘smart people’ (academics) and ‘non-smart people’ (non-academics) and while this has been great for some, most people have not benefited from this system, in fact Ken Robinson argues that the main effect is that it has caused chaos.
We medicate our kids to get them through education
Statistics on prescriptions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suggest that America is suffering from an ADHD epidemic – we are drugging our kids with Ritalin as a matter of routine. However, Robinson suggests that this cannot be an epidemic as the rates of prescription vary from West to East – they are much higher in the East of America, which suggests that this is a fictitious epidemic – it’s the system that’s choosing to medicate a ‘problem’ which is only a problem because the system has labelled it thus.
What’s really happening is that our kids are living through the most information rich age in history – they are bombarded with information from many sources through T.V. and the Internet – they are in a way, hyper-stimulated, and yet our response is to punish them for getting distracted from ‘boring stuff’ in school.
Robinson suggests that it is no coincidence that the incidents of prescriptions for ADHD corresponds closely to the rise in standardised testing.
The increasing use of drugs such as Ritalin to medicate kids means that we are effectively getting our kids through school by anaesthetising them.
The school system is run for the benefit of industry, and in many senses along industrial lines, mirroring a factory system of production in at least the following ways:
We still educate children by batches (‘as if the most important thing about them is the date of their manufacture’).
Increasingly education is about conformity, and you see is in the growth of standardised curricula and standardised testing. The current paradigm is mainly to do with standardisation, and we need to shift the paradigm and go in the other direction.
The education system kills creativity
There was a great study done recently on divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creative thinking – it is the ability to see lots of possible ways of interpreting and answering a question; to think laterally and to see many possible answers, not just one.
An example of this simply to give someone a paper clip and to get them to think of as many different uses for the paper clip as possible – someone whose good at this will be able to think of hundreds of uses for the paper clip by imagining that it can be all sorts of sizes and made out of all sorts of different materials.
Cites a Longitudinal study (taken from a book called ‘Break Point and Beyond) in which Kindergarten children were tested on their ability to think divergently, and 98% of them scored at ‘genius level’; the same children were retested at ages 8-10, but only 50% of them scored at genius level, and again at 13-15, where hardly any of them scored at genius level.
This study shows two things: firstly, we all have the inherent capacity for divergent thinking and secondly it deteriorates as children get older.
Now lots of things happen to these kids as they grow up, but the most important thing is that they have become educated – they’ve spent 10 years being told ‘that there’s one answer and it’s at the back, and don’t look and don’t copy’.
The problem we have is that the industrial-capitalist mode of education is deep in the gene-pool of the education system, it is an educational paradigm which will be hard to shift.
Shifting the Education Paradigm
We need to do the following to shift the industrial-capitalist education paradigm:
Firstly, destroy the myth that there is a divide between academic and non academic subjects, and between the abstract and the theoretical.
Secondly, recognize that most great learning takes place in groups – collaboration is the stuff of growth, rather than individualising people which separates them from their natural learning environment.
Finally, we need to change the habitual ways of thinking of those within the education system and the habitats which they occupy.
Relevance to A-Level Sociology
This can be used to criticise New Right approaches to education, as well as New Labour, The Coalition and the present Tory government – because all of them have kept in place the basic regime of testing introduced in 1988.
Robinson seems to be suggesting we have a more post-modern approach to education – freeing schools and teachers up so they can encourage more creativity in the classroom rather than being constrained by the tyranny of standardised testing.
Industrialisation is where a country moves from an economy dominated by agricultural output and employment to one dominated by manufacturing. This will usually involve the establishment of factories in which things are produced in a rationally organized (efficient) manner. Below we look at perspectives on ‘industrialisation’ as a means of development.
How can Industrialisation Promote Development?
Industrialisation should promote economic and social development in the following ways.
Industrialisation means a country can produce a wider range of higher value goods – both for sale at home and for export abroad….
Industrialisation encourages the emergence of other businesses to meet the needs of factories – coal mining to provide power for example.
Industrialisation eventually means a country will be less dependent on manufactured imports from abroad
Industrialisation requires workers – who will be paid wages – which gives them more money and stimulates demand in the economy and further economic and social development
Industrialisation requires an educated workforce (at least some workers – management – need to be educated) which encourages the government to invest in education.
Industrialisation leads to urbanisation – as workers flock to factories to find work….
Arguments for the view that industrialisation leads to development
Modernisation Theorists argue that Industrialisation lead to the West developing and this is what developing countries should do. In the 1950s and 60s, Modernisation Theorists suggested that the West should provide assistance in the form of Official Development Aid to developing countries – providing them with an initial injection of capital and expertise to enable them to build factories and power stations (hydro-electric dams were particularly favoured), and infrastructure to kick start industrialisation. Another form of ‘industrial development’ achieved with help from the west involved providing tractors and pesticides to ‘industrialise agriculture’ – which involved the setting up of large scale farms which could produce food more efficiently than numerous subsistence small holdings.
Supporting evidence for Modernisation Theory
There are a couple of examples of countries which have successfully (at least partially) industrialised with the support of Official Development Aid from the West – the most obvious examples being Indonesia, Botswana and to a lesser extent India.
Hans Rosling and the Magic Washing Machine
This presentation by Hans Rosling outlines the crucial role which the washing machine can play in development – the point being that you can’t really have washing machines without industrialisation!
Criticisms of the idea that industrialisation results in development
Dependency Theory and Industrialisation
Dependency Theorists (Classical Marxists) argue that Industrialisation is crucial for ‘independent development’ – but it is just as crucial that developing countries control the process of industrialisation, not the West.
Supporting evidence for Dependency Theory
This was the position adopted by Russia in the 1920s and 30s, China in the 1960s – where two communist governments controlled the industrialisation process. Even though tens of millions died during these respective periods of forced industrialisation, today these two countries make up 2/4 of the BRIC nations.
World Systems Theory and Industrialisation
Emmanuel Wallerstein argues that countries only industrialise if it benefits the West and that it isn’t in the interests of the West for every country to industrialise and grow economically. In short, not ever country and industrialise!
Wallerstein sees the World Economy as being is split into 3 main regions –
The Core – Who consume high tech ‘end products’ such as cars, computers, processed foods, holidays (planes) – these are also ‘post-industrial’ service economies – mainly Europe, America, some of Asia and parts of Latin America.
The Semi- Periphery – The ‘industrialising, sweat-shop manufacturing areas – who turn raw materials into the high end products that the ‘top billion consume’ – Most of Asia and Latin America.
The Periphery – These are the poorer countries and regions who export raw materials (most of Africa but also huge swathes of Asia and some of Latin America) to the semi-periphery, who then make the products that the Core consumes.
The last half century has witnessed much of Asia and Latin America industrialise because this has benefitted the core – we can afford cheap manufactured goods because of cheap labour. However, our present model of high-consumption also requires cheap raw materials – for example minerals for mobile phones and computers, cheap cotton for clothes, and cheap grains for meat – and these will only stay cheap if the countries in the periphery stay peripheral – i.e. we require them to stay stuck at the bottom as non- industrialised exporters of cheap raw materials.
Further to this most advanced western nations are now post-industrial – only about 10% of jobs in the UK are now in the industrial-manufacturing sector. As a result, we now have more jobs in the service sector and still massive unemployment and social problems in the de-industrialised north.
People Centred Development –
Countries don’t need Industrialisation to be socially developed!
People Centred Development theory argues that the whole idea of industrialization being essential to development is very Eurocentric – this is how most Europe developed and thus modernization theorists assume that every other underdeveloped country now needs to do the same.
The two case studies of Bhutan and Anuta both remind us that Industrialisation is not the only path to development. Both of these countries have not industrialized and both populations have very good standards of living when measured by the HDI and more subjective measures of happiness. Having said this, both of these countries make use of goods that have been produced by industrialized countries.