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Assignment: Obstacles to Development

Assignment: Obstacles to Development

Assignment: Obstacles to Development

NOW FOR AN ORIGINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT:Assignment: Obstacles to Development

Obstacles to Development

The steeplechase is a challenging track-and-field event, of course, a race over fences and ditches and hurdles—in a word, an obstacle course. As such, it’s an apt metaphor for the problems facing developing nations. They, too, are in a race—against the clock and the competition. And they, too, face all sorts of obstacles.

Self Identity: Who Am I? Where Do I Belong?

When modernization occurs, traditional ties are undermined, people are uprooted, and beliefs are challenged. Villagers tend not to trust strangers; social interaction is generally confined to family, clan, or village members. Fear of the unfamiliar, fatalism in the face of nature’s accidents, and a low sense of individual efficacy combine to make traditional peasants and villagers averse to risk taking. Modernization often forces villagers to move to cities in search of work; to interact with strangers; and to redefine themselves. Traditional people are less time-conscious than modern urbanites. Punching a clock is alien. Personal success and the spirit of free enterprise associated with entrepreneurship and competition are also alien to people accustomed to thinking in group terms (family, clan, or tribe).

Status in traditional societies is ascriptive; that is, it is ascribed by society on the basis of religion, age, and the like. In contrast, modern societies are (or claim to be) merit based. The Indian caste system is an extreme example of ascriptive status.

Gender is another key status factor. Male dominance is prevalent in most traditional societies, where a low level of technology, ranging from the lack of modern machines to absence of birth control, combines with high infant mortality rates to reinforce traditional gender roles and attitudes. Thus, in developing nations, the communal nature of traditional life precedes, and often precludes, individualism, entrepreneurship, and self-expression.