Kerron Benn May 03, 2007 Economic In Class Final “Brifely explain and describe each of Rostow’s Five Stages of economic growth in as much detail as you can. Evaluate and critique Rostow’s theories using examples that are taken from Atack & Passell. You can agree or disagree with Rostow’s theories so long as your arguments are supported by examples that are taken from Atack & Passell. Show me that you have read both books”. Rostow's Stages of Growth, also known as The Rostovian Take-Off Model) is one of the major historical models of economic growth in the world today. In this theory, Father and founder, Walt Whitman Rostow, who worked as political adviser to the president of the United States of America, argues that economic modernization occurs in five basic stages. These stages are: 1.) Traditional society, 2.) Preconditions for take-off 3.) Take-off 4.) Drive to maturity and 5.) Age of high mass consumption. Rostow believes that countries go through each of these stages in a fairly respective order of sequence. In the following chapters I will explore these changes, set a number of conditions that bring fought these steps to modernization and give examples of countries at certain stages for better comprehension. First I will take a look into the world of a traditional society. Traditional societies are marked with their inability and lack of understandings of gadgets and technology while at the same time being plagued with political corruption and feminine. Common misconceptions with this the first phase of the take-off model is that at this point there is no growth or advance in technology. Productivity usually rises with, the improvement of irrigation or the introduction of animal (horse) power, and or the discovery and diffusion of a new crop. I will use Bangladesh as an example. After the Bangladesh Liberation War, Bangladesh has been marked by political turmoil. Bangladesh remains an underdeveloped and overpopulated nation with obstacles to growth including frequent cyclones (windstorms) and floods, as Bangladesh’s population are currently one third farmers this is reason for chaos. The underlined point is that there is a ceiling of progress that is brought about by a lack of modern scientific advances. After this phase, the next step for a society on its way to mass consumption and a stable economy is the need for skilled worker and this is where education plays its part. In this the post take-off era, standards are put into place for a transition from a traditional society to a modern marvel. This stage is characterized by the raise of universities and trade school, which gives former farmers the ability to become professional at a given field. Britain, during the late seventeenth century early eighteenth century is a prime example of the take off era. Favored by geography, natural resources, trading possibilities, social and political structure, Britain became the first to develop fully the preconditions for take-off. With schools such as Oxford and Cambridge, the education now available to the public now broadened and changed the view of citizens to suit the needs for modern economic activity, which helps bring fought new types of enterprising men whom are more willing to mobilize savings and to take greater risk in an effort to gain further wealth and or modernization. Banks and other institutions for mobilizing capital open up as investments increase. The take-off era is the point on our mission to economic superiority where traditional economies become developed enough to be called a modern society. Here is where growth and the ability to sustain a economy without starvation becomes a norm. Even though growth to a modern society is due largely to scientific advances, without a governing body that can seriously take a look at modernization as a political issue this stage would be impossible to undergo. During the take off period, the rate of return on investments increases, making it wiser to save capital in banks and bonds which in turn banks usually loan to companies with litigate wishes of expanding. Now that we have jumped our highest hurdle we are cruising, in the drive to maturity. With approximately 10-20% of the national income steadily being invested back into the economy, outputs and overseas trade expands giving rise and pride to local culture. Maturity is reached approximately sixty years after take-off begins and is characterized by a transition form coal and iron to electrical power. Last but not least we come to the age of high mass consumption, a reality for our capitalistic society but a mere dream of a communist world. The drive to maturity refers to the need for the economy itself to diversify in areas of investment. Maturity is characterized by a decrease or near to nonexistent unemployment percentage, increased gross income and a mastering of the art of mass production. It is a time when a society moves from concentrating on economic growth and focuses on cultural uprisings. For the United States, the turning point into maturity was most likely regarded to be Henry Ford's invention of the moving assembly line; we were adored for this invention as every industrializing nation adapted this method of mass production. According to Rostow, the takeoff period occurred in 1843 with railroads as the main stimulator, while up coming economist such as myself and truly well known economist such as J. Atack and P. Passell disagree with this idea. In “A new Economic View of American History” by Jeremy Atack and Peter Passell; these recognized and well respected economist argue that in order for the takeoff period to occur there has to be a widening of the market (Increase population) and also there was a lot more economic development before the steam engines of the eighteenth century. Therefore the takeoff period had to have occurred before 1843 as stated in “The Stages of Economic Growth. Rostow left out of his observations the fact that water powered everything long before giving way to steam. Another factor that contributed to the take-off, were waterways which were at the time the most reliable mode of transport. Before steam power was even though about people would use lakes and rivers to power boats to transport goods from one river bank to the other. Seeing how easy it had been to use the rivers as we would a car canals became a requirement to any uprising city. Atack and Passel believed that the building of canals provided a fast and inexpensive trade route for markets, giving easy access to the transportation of goods. Creating canals brought both private and community value as well, which made them well come by all and demanded by many. Atack and Passell also question the sequential character given to the model by Rostow. They bring up a very strong argument that nation like outside of the United States have used different methods and reaped the same outcome. IN countries such as Sweden, there were no railroads but yet still they have managed to be at that point of economical stability to be considered a modern country. This brings about a questioning as to the importance the railroads really played in the 1800s. The invention of steam engines was a much bigger factor in the takeoff period than railroads as argued by Rostow. Steam boats were made possible by the invention of steam engines. But way before sources of energy became a factor urbanization played a major role in the time before the take-off era, which lead to the great demand for iron and also the building of steam boats and railroads to help migrating individuals and people who work in cities away from the towns they lived. There is significance evidence that shows that population growth and migration had began before the take-off period especially in non urban areas. This indicates that steam powered were more likely to be the cause of urban population growth rather than in less populated areas. Therefore I agree with Atak and Passell’s views that the steam engine therefore cannot be the lone starting cause of the Rostovian Theory, there are way to many things that brought about a movement into modernization to give that much credit to Railroads.
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