( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Modernization Theory was invented by an ambitious academic at Harvard called Walt Whitman Rostow. He said that if you put the right technologies in place and educated key elites then the countries would inevitably develop into advanced capitalist societies. They would go through a series of logical stages (there were five) until you got what he modestly called “Rostovian Lift-off”.
Rostow laid out his theory in a book he called “The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto”.
Rostow’s theories obsessed the American development agencies and they came up with all sorts of ideas about how to turn countries like Afghanistan into modern democracies.
One of the oddest was the belief that it was possible to scientifically discover who the crucial “transitional personalities” were in the society. These were people who had underlying “capitalist personalities” that they were unaware of. A psychologist called David McClelland invented a way of discovering who had these traits – and techniques to then develop what he called “the need to achieve”. He was convinced you could use behavioural psychology to turn people throughout the world into model Americans.
McClelland worked tirelessly to prove his case. Here is one of his diagrams that shows that the frequency of achievement imagery in children’s books in the late 19th century leads inevitably to a rise in inventions in America as they grow up – as shown by the number of patented inventions.
From THE LOST HISTORY OF HELMAND, by Adam Curtis