GHANA ARMED FORCES COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF GOVERNANCE, LEADERSHIP AND PUBLIC MANAGEMENT
AN ANALYSIS OF ROSTOW’S THEORY OF GROWTH
INDEX NUMBER: 12022095
LECTURER: DR NAPOLEON KURANTIN
JAN 13 Teshie
AN ANALYSIS OF ROSTOW’S THEORY OF GROWTH
Geographers often seek to categorize places using a scale of development, frequently dividing nations into the "developed" and "developing," "first world" and "third world," or "core" and "periphery." These labels are used to judge a country’s level of development though the concept itself is variously defined. The evolution of human societies from primitive hunting communities to the complex modern societies of the 21st century has led to several developmental theorists/scholars offering varied explanations as to how this phenomenon occurred. The uneven nature of this growth amongst the countries in the world has added to the debate and generated a lot of explanations. What explains the disparity in development? What accounts for the advancement and development of some countries to the extent that they are exploring other planets whilst the majority of African countries are wallowing in abject poverty and still struggling to acquire the basic essentials of life?
One of the key thinkers in twentieth century Development Studies is WW Rostow, an American economic historian and a vigorous advocate of free market capitalism, argued that economies must grow through a number of developmental stages towards economic growth. He argued that these stages followed a logical sequence and that each stage could only be reached through the completion of the previous stage (Binns, Tony, et al. 2008). The Rostovian take-off model (also called "Rostow's Stages of Growth") is one of the major historical models of economic growth. The model postulates that economic modernization of societies and development occurs in five basic stages as follows: a. Traditional society
b. Preconditions for take-off
d. Drive to maturity
e. Age of High mass consumption
Rostow asserts that countries go through each of these stages fairly linearly, and set out a number of conditions that were likely to occur in investment, consumption and social trends at each state. Not all of the conditions were certain to occur at each stage, albeit he adds that the stages and transitions periods may occur at varying lengths from country to country, and even from region to region. 3.
Beyond the structured picture of growth itself, another important part of the model is that economic take-off must initially be led by a few individual sectors. It is important to note that this belief is similar to David Ricardo's comparative advantage thesis but criticizes the Marxist revolutionaries push for economic self-reliance in that it pushes for the 'initial' development of only one or two sectors over the development of all sectors equally. This became one of the important concepts in the theory of modernization in the social evolutionism. 4.
Having explained the structural picture of Rostow theory, it would be worthwhile to put it in theoretical framework. Rostow's model is a descendent from the liberal school of economics, which emphasizes the efficacy of modern concepts of free trade and the ideas of Adam Smith. As a theory it denies Friedrich List's argument that countries reliant on exporting raw materials may get "locked in", and be unable to diversify, in that Rostow's model states that countries may need to depend on a few raw material exports to finance the development of manufacturing sectors which are not yet of superior competitiveness in the early stages of take-off. In that way, Rostow's model does not deny John Maynard Keynes in that it allows for a degree of...
References: 1. Binns, Tony, et al,(2008). Geography of Development: An Introduction to Development Harlow: Pearson Education
2. Comte, A (1875). The Positive Philosophy of August Comte, Vol 1 New York: Burt Franklin
3. CIA World Factbook, 2012. Central Intelligence Agency. 21 August 2012.
4. Koranteng, N (2012) Lecture on Globalization, Ankrah Hall, Ghana Armed Forces Command & Staff College.
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