Superpower theories

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Rostow - 'Take off' model - 1960

  • Liberal theory, where capitalism is believed essential in creating wealth.
  • Development occurs when preconditions are met - e.g. transport, infrastructure
  • Industrialisation follows, creating jobs
  • each country is in one of these five stages of development. With MDC’s in stage 4 or 5, whereas LDCs are in one of the three earlier stages
  • Criticism - many countries have borrowed heavily and invested money into projects to meet preconditions - failed to develop - ending up in debt

In Southeast Asia, a group of countries, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and the former British colony of Hong Kong came to be known as the “four dragons” after adopting the international trade approach. They were lacking in natural resources so they promoted development by concentrating on producing a handful of manufactured goods,especially clothing and electronics. Low labor costs enabled these countries to sell products inexpensively in MDCs.

The countries of the Arabian Peninsula, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, went from LDC’s to some of the wealthiest countries almost overnight due to increased petroleum prices during the 1970’s. Arabian Peninsula countries have used petroleum revenues to finance large-scale projects, such as housing, highways, airports, universities, and telecommunications networks.

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Asian Model - World Bank 1993

  • China, South Korea and Taiwan developed rapidly since 1970s
  • opened up to free trade and investment
  • invested in education and skills
  • During the cold war, USA provided Asia with aid and suport
  • Early in development, NICs had protectionist, not free trade policies
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Marxist dependency theory - AG Frank - 1967

Developed world (North hemisphere) keep south in a state of underdevelopment to exploit cheap resources

Since 1960s, NICs and RICs have broken out from  mould

 imperialism in general "has actively underdeveloped the peripheral societies" (Martinussen, 1997:86) they are living in. Critique on the Modernization School first arose in Latin America as a response to the bankruptcy of the program of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA). In short, the ECLA promoted protectionist policies together with industrialization through import subsidies, which resulted in a brief economic expansion in the 1950s followed by economic stagnation (unemployment, inflation, declining terms of trade, etc.)

lCritique of modernization theory. lModernization theory: 3rd world must emulate Western societies to develop. lProblem is bad traditions. lDevelopment = Westernization.

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World Systems - Wallerstein 1974

  • world divided into core, semi-periphery and periphery
  • Wealth and power are fluid

- description of the world, not an explaination - China's rise

- written during cold war

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