Monday, 11 July 2011

The Rostow Model of Development

The Rostow Model of Development was created in 1960 by an American, W.W.Rostow. He based the Model, which represents economic development, on 15 countries - most of which were European - and suggested that it was possible for all countries to break  the viscious cycle of poverty and develop through the 5 linear stages that construct his model.
- A subsistence economy based on basic agriculture. The outputs are consumed by the producers instead of being exchanged and the only trade that exists is the barter/exchange of items required for living (not done for profit). Agriculture is crucial to daily life and the only industry that exists. The work is very labour intensive as there is very limited technology. Other than the land for food production there is very limited exploitation of raw materials and so the development of other industries and services is also restricted.
- Agriculture starts to become more commercialised as mechanization occurs. Other industries start to emerge, although one will take dominance (this is usually textiles), and resources start to be exploited.  TNC's start to invest and this further provokes the development of industries. This investment is known as FDI = Foreign Direct Investment.
Stage 3: TAKE-OFF
- This stage is characterised by the dominating presence of the multiplier effect - also known as the Model of Cumulative Causation. Industrialisation increases and workers switch from working the land to working in factories thereby kick-starting the process of urbanisation. Political and social reforms and improvements occur in conjunction with the industrialization. Infrastructure continues to be developed but growth often remains only in a few regions in the country = growth poles.
- Growth becomes self-sustaining as it is now supported by technological innovation. The population continues to grow and rapid urbanisation starts to occur. Earlier industries start to decline as manufacturing takes dominance and a wider range of industries develop. Economic growth becomes more evenly distributed throughout the country due to a process of filter through - this occurs via Cumulative Causation .
- The initially exploitative industries move elsewhere and any remaining industries shift production to durable consumer goods. A rapid expansion of tertiary industry occurs.

One of the main shifts that occur as a country moves through the 5 stages of the Rostow Model of Development is within the employment sector and the changes that occur here reflect those that happen within industry.

- The model is quite old (created in 1960) and, perhaps, oversimplified. Its age prevents it from taking into account new technologic and scientific advances that have accelerated developement.
- It is very Eurocentric and so perhaps reflects Westernisation more than it does development as all countries development differently and at different rates.
- The model makes the presumption that all countries start with the same foundations i.e have the same climate, amount of natural resources and same population size/structure and this is not in fact that case.
- Money is clearly needed for a country to move beyond stage 1 and often, knowadys, this money is provided via international aid. However, debt repayments often restrict further advancements - something which is not taken into account in the model.
- This model is based on the development of countries like the UK. Our development was, agruably, at the expense of others, through colonialism. This model underestimates the importance of colonialism in the early development of many of the nations it is based on.

- It provides a general path for development and splits this path into 5 stages. This enables countries to use it as a rough guide to development.
- To some extent all countries can be compared to it.
- It is easy to understand.
- In conjunction with the Demographic Transition Model, it can be used to generate population policies.

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