Chapter 2: Modernization, Westernization, and Democratization
I. Does Modernization Entail Westernization?
The steady spread of modern technology and the rising tide of democratic regimes have brought in their wake a flood of literature on democratization and modernization in the non-western world. Yet one fundamental debate continues to stand at the center of democratization and modernization studies: are developing countries destined to follow similar paths of development as the advanced countries leading to a similar end state, or are there different roads and different end states to the process of modernization?
Although there are many variations on the theme, there are two basic schools of thought, which have been given many names, but which I will call convergence theories and cultural variation theories. Each school has many proponents, but for the sake of convenience, I will focus on the arguments of one prominent thinker from each school who has recently written a thoughtful, coherent, and widely read tract which states the major tenets of each school clearly and concisely.
The End of History?
Convergence theories argue that despite national and regional differences, the road to modernization is basically unilinear. Frances Fukuyama, in his widely read book, The End of History, extends the unilinear view of modernization to argue that not only are all modernizing societies going through basically the same process, but that an almost inevitable outcome of the process is political democratization. Fukuyama poses the question whether "it makes sense for us...to speak of a coherent and directional History of mankind that will eventually lead the greater part of humanity to liberal democracy" (xii). Fukuyama believes history is directional. He argues that "There is a fundamental process at work that dictates a common evolutionary pattern for all human societies--in short something like a Universal History of mankind in the direction of liberal democracy." (48) He argues that human history can be seen as a "coherent development of human societies from simple tribal ones based on slavery through various theocracies, monarchies, and feudal aristocracies, up through modern liberal democracy and technologically driven capitalism." (xii)
Fukuyama makes two separate arguments for the unilinear view of modernization, one quite familiar, one more idiosyncratic, which he calls the logic of natural science and the struggle for recognition. I will focus on Fukuyama's argument about the logic of natural science which states in bold and dramatic terms the presumptions of most scholars, political leaders, and politically aware citizens in the west.
Fukuyama argues "The unfolding of modern natural science has had a uniform effect on all societies that have experienced it...This process guarantees an increasing homogenization of all human societies, regardless of their historical origins or cultural inheritances. All countries undergoing economic modernization must increasingly resemble one another: they must unify nationally on the basis of a centralized state, urbanize, replace traditional forms of social organization like tribe, sect, and family with economically rational ones based on function and efficiency, and provide for the universal education of their citizens. Such societies have become increasingly linked with one another through global markets and the spread of universal consumer culture." (xiv-xv)
Fukuyama recognizes that nations and peoples can choose to resist these forces of history, but he argues that modernization confers decisive technological, economic, military, and political advantages to the nations which open up to this process. In a kind of Darwinian evolution, those who resist will eventually be swept away or at least overshadowed by those that evolve in the prescribed direction.
I focus on Fukuyama's argument, not because it is unique, but because it is one of the most straightforward statements of the assumptions underlying so much of western thinking and scholarship about modernization and democratization. The belief that modernization, westernization, and democratization are all part of a single, unilinear process that will end when other cultures become essentially similar to the West is rarely stated so openly and boldly as Fukuyama does. It is the kind of prevailing belief, the kind of background presumption, that rarely needs to be stated because it is taken for granted so widely throughout a society.
II. The Clash of Civilizations?
Of course, the unilinear view of modernization has often been challenged, particularly in the non-western world, but also by western scholars. In contrast to convergence theories like Fukuyama's are theories of cultural variation, which assert there are different roads to modernization and different end states to the modernization process. According to the cultural variation perspective, modernized societies are not all the same. One of the most straightforward and articulate spokesmen of the cultural variation school is Samuel Huntington. In a pair of widely read essays in Foreign Affairs and a subsequent book, Huntington argues that while all cultures experience certain similarities in the modernization process, cultures still retain their unique characteristics. Even after modernization, societies can be quite different from each other.
Huntington pointedly attacks the notion that modernization equals westernization. He notes that drinking Coca-Cola does not make a Russian any "more western than eating sushi makes an American Japanese." Instead, Huntington thinks of the West as one of several major civilizations around the world. By civilizations Huntington means something similar to cultures, but also something broader and deeper than the way culture is usually conceived. Civilizations are families of cultures have distinctive ways of thinking and living because they share the same basic philosophical heritage. American, French, German, and other European and North American cultures share a certain common tradition that make them part of Western civilization. Similarly, Egyptian, Persian, Turkish, and other cultures share a common heritage that make them part of Islamic civilization. Russians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and others are part of Orthodox civilization. All in all, Huntington identifies seven or eight major world civilizations: Western, Islamic, Orthodox, Latin American, Indic, Confucian, Japanese, and perhaps African.
Huntington maintains that differences between different civilizations around the world remain real and important despite the fact that societies are undergoing a common process of modernization.
Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history,
language, culture, tradition, and most important, religion.
The people of different civilizations have different views on
the relations between God and man, the individual and the group,
the citizen and the state, parents and children, husband and
wife, as well as differing views on the relative importance of
rights and responsibilities, liberty and authority, equality
and hierarchy. (Clash, 25)
Huntington asserts that modernization consists of "industrialization; urbanization; increasing levels of literacy, education, wealth, and social mobilization; and more complex and diverse occupational structures." (Unique, p 29) To that list could be added 1) technically rational modes of thought, 2) economic structures consistent with producing high technology goods, and 3) socio-political institutions that allow a society to participate in the global economy and modern technological development.
Huntington contends that (Unique, p 30)
Modern societies have much in common, but they do not necessarily merge into homogeneity. The argument that they do rests on the
assumption that modern society must approximate a single type, the Western type; that modern civilization is Western civilization, and Western civilization is modern civilization.
This however is a false identification. Virtually all scholars
of civilizations agree that Western civilization emerged in the
eighth and ninth centuries and developed its distinctive
characteristics in the centuries that followed. It did not
begin to modernize until the eighteenth century. The West,
in short, was Western long before it was modern.
Huntington holds that western history and thus the western cultural heritage is unique in many ways. Western civilization is based on Greek philosophy and rationalism, Roman law, the concept of natural law, the Latin language, the community of Christendom, and the wrenching rift between Protestant and Catholic Christianity. More than any other civilization in the world, western society has manifested social pluralism. From the monastic orders, through the occupational guilds, and through the conflicts between the aristocracy, peasants, and urban middle classes, western society has been centered on diverse, autonomous groups not based on blood or marriage. According to Huntington, this vigorous western civil society contrasts sharply with the centralized bureaucracy and absolutism of China, Russia, the Islamic world, and other empires around the world.
From this unique cultural heritage come a set of western social and political values that are not duplicated anywhere else in the world: individualism, liberty, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, free markets, separation of church and state, representative bodies, the idea of a universal civilization, the rule of law, and most significantly for this study, democracy. Huntington recognizes that these values are often honored in the breach, and that many other civilizations exhibit certain similar tendencies. All the concepts that make western civilization unqiue exist in some form in other societies. But he argues that the combination of values, the relative emphasis on particular values, and the ways of interrelating these values are completely unique to the West.
Huntington does not deny the influence of the West on other civilizations, especially in the modern era. Some national leaders have even consciously set out to westernize their societies, such as Peter the Great and Attaturk. But much more common and more successful have been campaigns to modernize but reject westernization. This spirit is captured in the Chinese slogan ti-yong, roughly translated as Chinese learning for fundamental principles, western learning for practical use, and the Japanese slogan of woken, yosei, roughly translated as Japanese spirit, western technique. Huntington argues that the pattern of borrowing without assimilating is much more common throughout history than complete cultural transformation. Buddhism was absorbed into Chinese society without transforming Chinese culture, the Greeks were incorporated into Islamic scholarhsip without transforming essential beliefs, Chinese writing and culture were borrowed by the Japanese without erasing the uniqueness of Japanese culture.
In fact, Huntington sees western cultural influence slipping. Even as English is triumphing as the language of international business, because of demography and politics, the percentage of the world's population speaking English as a first language has shrunk dramatically. Islam is rising as Christianity is receding as a cultural force. The sheer number of Muslims around the world will soon surpass the number of nominal Christians, and the numbers only hint at the differences between the two religions in the intensity of belief and direct influence over their societies. In recent decades in many parts of the world, especially in East Asia and the Islamic world there has been a resurgence of traditional societies. Huntington notes the phenomenon of "second generation indigenization" in which elites who have been educated in the West and taken their cues from western values see their children returning to their roots and consciously rejecting excessive western cultural influence.
One ironic measure of the resistance to westernization is what Huntington calls the "democracy paradox." Given a chance to choose in free elections (in part as a result of western influence), peoples like the Algerians, the Turks, the Bosnians, the Indians, the Sri Lankans, Israelis, and other have chosen political parties that assert indigenous identities and reject westernization. Huntington also notes the growing tendency in international relations for non-western countries to invoke western values to justify opposition to western positions. For example, the values of national self determination and cultural pluralism have been used to oppose western attempts to impose international standards of human rights as "human rights imperialism."
Huntington cites many divergences between western principles and western practice in international relations. The West preaches democracy, but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power; the West calls for non-proliferation for Iraq and Iran, but not for Israel; the West demands free trade, but not in markets that are politically sensitive domestically; the West demands human rights in China, but not in Saudi Arabia, etc. These inconsistencies between western values and western practices further undermine western cultural influence.
Huntington argues that the illusion that western values are universal values and that all modernizing nations are converging into a global, western monoculture is not only foolish, but costly and immoral. The historic influence of the West was built on European imperialism and then U.S. hegemony which required colonization, militarization, and at times brutal coercion. Any serious attempt to maintain the West as a global cultural standard will require similar interventionism, coercion, and killing. The West no longer has either the will or the power to pay the price of imposing its values on a resistant world. More important, such power and coercion are inconsistent with basic western values.
Huntington warns the West about the dangers of equating westernizaton and modernization by inviting westerners to consider the implications of a statement of Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia, one of the leading opponents of western cultural imperialism at a European summit. Reversing the common assumption of the West, Mahathir asserted, "European values are European values; Asian values are universal values." The very strangeness and repulsiveness of the idea that westerners and other non-Asians would be required by history or coerced by force into accepting Asian values serves as a warning to westerners who blithely assume that the rest of the world could or would accept all western values as universal.
III. Separating Modernization and Westernization
Who has the better of this debate, Huntington or Fukuyama? The truth lies somewhere in between. Clearly globalization is erasing historical differences between cultures and civilizations, but just as clearly huge differences remain. At first, it might look like this debate is like an argument over whether a glass is half full or half empty. In fact, it is more like a debate over whether the glass is 80% full or 80% empty. It is also a debate on whether the glass is filling up or emptying out. The central question is whether all modernizing societies are approaching the same end state, including political democracy, or whether the distinct legacies and traditions of different civilizations mean that they will remain separate and unique.
No one doubts that modernization demands that the historical differences between civilization narrow. But the gulf remains wide.
21st century societies will be more alike than they have been in other periods of history. For example, 21st century Europe will be more similar to 21st century China than 11th century Europe was to 11th century China. 21st century societies may even have more in common with each other than any of them will have with pre-modern societies. For example, 21st century Europe may be more like 21st century China than it will be like 11th century Europe, and 21st century China may be more like 21st century Europe than it will be like 11th century China.
But that does not mean all societies will merge into one homogenous, modern, global monoculture. Real and important differences will remain between different modern civilizations. Liberal democracy, fascism, and communism were all expressions of modernization, but they were significantly different types of political and social systems. The 20th century is littered with the dead and damaged from the conflicts between these different forms of modernization. The failure of fascism and communism do not mean the historical alternatives to liberal democracy have been exhausted. In this sense Fukuyama is wrong and Huntington is right. In the 21st century the wars between western based ideologies will give way not to global homogenization but to differences between western and non-western civilizations.
Fukuyama mistakes surface similarities for identical processes. One can point to parallel developments in human history which indicated certain similarities in social development but hardly erased differences between separate civilizations. In the first millenium B.C., with the advent of the written word, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese civilizations all saw the emergence of written ethical codes and great ethical teachers. Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus each appeard within a few hundred years of each other and expounded an ethical doctrine that lives on till today. But few would argue that their teachings were identical or that societies influenced by their ethical doctrines were following a unilinear path of development. In the same way divine kings have appeared in the Middle Eastern, European, Indian, and Chinese history, and in many other polities as well. Yet few would argue that the societies that divine kings ruled were essentially homogeneous. Chinese emperors ruled over a quite different society than Roman emperors or French kings. In the same way, the mere existence of modern economic enterprises, or political elections, or even global communications does not necessarily entail convergence of different civilizations.
The convergence school tends to mistake outward form for inner experience. All societies have parents and children, but that does not mean that the family and kinship structures of all societies are similar. The simple existence of parents and children does not mean people throughout history and around the world have experienced family relationships in a similar manner. Similarly, the American company, the Japanese company, and the Russian company have comparable outward appearances. But that does not mean that either Japanese or Russian enterprises function in the same way as an American company or that workers, owners, and executives have the same human relationships or experience the same feelings about their companies. In the same way, as more and more nations adopt the outward form of elections, it does not mean that their political systems will operate in a western manner, their states will have the same structure as western states, or that their citizens will have the same feelings about themselves that westerners do.
There are some basic questions that must be asked about convergence theories. Are societies across the globe really becoming pretty much the same? Is life in East Asia or other modernizing nations becoming pretty much the same as life in Western societies? Are the political systems becoming essentially the same? My personal experience from living almost a decade in Japan and Korea is that the answer is basically no. Of course, as they modernize, East Asian societies are becoming somewhat more similar to Western societies.
Yet the core experiences of people's lives are still significantly different. Modernized East Asian peoples have remarkably different conceptions of family, work, social obligations, and even the meaning of life than do Westerners. (They also differ significantly from each other.) There are some obvious similarities. Both Westerners and East Asians love their families, work to earn money, feel obligations to others, etc. But there are fundamental differences between East Asians and Westerners about who they marry and why, how the generations interact, who works and who doesn't, how careers evolve, what workers feel about their companies, what obligations people feel toward each other, etc. Similarly, East Asians have different ideas about themselves as a people, their relationships to their leaders, their obligations to the state, and the role of the state in society than do Westerners.
It is crucial to keep in mind the distinction between modernization and westernization that Huntington, like others, has emphasized. Fukuyama and others of the convergence school are correct in pointing out that there is a kind of modernization imperative in the world today. Nations and peoples must modernize to some degree or they will fall behind in military and economic competition and eventually be relegated to the margins of history. The military and economic competition that drives modernization is more intense now than in previous periods of history because of the emergence of global economic systems, instantaneous world wide communications, and military powers like the US that can deploy forces on a global scale. To participate in the global economy, to defend themselves from international military powers, and even to maintain their cultural identity, nations and peoples must modernize. Even Huntington acknowledges this fact.
But modernization is not westernization.
Many societies around the world are modernizing, some very dramatically and rapidly, But not all are westernizing to the same degree. As examples, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Honduras are all modernizing. But Honduras and Turkey are much more westernized than China or Saudi Arabia. The empirical basis for making such judgments about westernization are not entirely transparent, yet such differences in the degree of westernization can be recognized.
Drawing clear distinctions between two interrelated processes like modernization and westernization is difficult and somewhat arbitrary. Perhaps a line can be drawn between the minimal changes in economic and social organization that are necessary for modernization and the social values and political institutions that are more typically western and not a necessary concomitant of modernization.
The minimal requirements of modernization might be characterized as: industrialization; urbanization; complex and diverse occupational structures; economic enterprises based on rationality and efficiency; technically rational modes of thought; mass eduction; mass communications; a centralized nation-state; and institutions that participate in global economic, social, and political systems. More specially western values and institutions would include such things as individualism, liberty, equality, constitutionalism, human rights, free markets, secularization, and perhaps democracy itself.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MODERNIZATION AND WESTERNIZATION
The Minimal Requirements of Modernization
Complex and diverse occupational structures
Economic enterprises based on rationality and efficiency
Technically rational modes of thought
A centralized nation state
Institutions that participate in global systems
Western Values and Institutions (and Examples of Antitheses)
IV. Modernization or Westernization: Is There a Choice?
Why is there so much conceptual conflation of modernization and westernization? What accounts for the illusion that modernization is westernization? There are at least three important reasons for this conceptual confusion: 1) the West was the first to modernize, 2) the West continues to define the international organizations of the modern world, and 3) ethnocentric belief in western superiority.
get outrageous quote from media/quote from academia
Of course, the West was first to modernize, so there is bound to be some conflation of the western experience with the general process of modernization. But particularly in the second half of the 20th century many non-western societies have undegone rapid modernization, so there are now ample cases to help separate the two processes. Yet the conceptual confusion continues, especially in they West.
The West continues to largely define the global institutions of the modern world, such as the WTO, the IMF, arms control regimes, and even most of the time the UN. The ubiquitous transnational corporations are mostly based in the West and international corporate law and practices generally follow western patterns. So many contemporary international institutions are not only modern but western in origin, design, and practices. Western power has allowed the West to shape many of the current global institutions in its image, although there is no logical or sociological necessity to this. The period in the 70s and 80s when the UN slipped partially out of western control shows that international institutions do not necessarily need to fit western concepts or agendas. But western power, both institutional and ideological, has helped encourage the illusion that participation in the modern world requires westernization.
But most important, at least in the case of American thought, is the arrogant belief that the United States is the paradigmatic case of a modern society and that all rational peoples around the world aspire to become like the United States. It is not hard to see how a country with the missionary zeal of the United States might cast itself as the total and complete model of modernization. What is harder to explain is how the rest of the world has so often accepted this misconception.
If modernization is an imperative if a nation or people want to have any significant influence on the shaping of the contemporary world, perhaps westernization is a similar imperative. There certainly are reasons to adopt western-style political institutions and values. There are strong economic incentives to participate in global markets and therefore in global economic institutions like the WTO. Access to western markets and full participation in global economic institutions often requires not only modernization but western-style economic liberalization and sometimes even political liberalization. The heavy handed tactics of the IMF, which attempts to dictate not only short term economic policy, but also long run economic restructuring, to debtor nations seeking its help, is only the more obvious tip of the iceberg.
The pressures to westernize can be much more subtle. Often non-western peoples, and especially non-western elites, crave acceptance by the rich and powerful West, to feel that they are "members of the club." A combination of economic and psychological factors which push toward not only modernization but also westernization can be seen in South Korea's entry into the OECD and the direct and indirect pressures to modify her political structures and economic policies. Historically an isolated and relatively weak country, South Korea has modernized rapidly and grown into an international economic force largely by adopting a political economic structure that contravenes western neoclassical economic prescriptions. South Korea's strong Confucian heritage, combined with the dangerous security situation of an artificially divided nation, has made South Korean political culture decidedly authoritarian and anti-liberal.
Yet, driven in part by the competition with North Korea, but more importantly, by an historical sense of inferiority, South Korea increasingly craves recognition as a major player in the international community. One of the major milestones in this campaign was acceptance into the OECD. In order to gain admission to the OECD, South Korea had to promise to further open its largely closed markets and to further liberalize its political system. In the immediate aftermath of its OECD victory, the South Korean government began a stern crackdown on trade unions, a common practice in the past. But several western leaders and international institutions voiced their concerns that repression of organized labor was inconsistent with commitments made by the South Korean government as an OECD member to follow international, i.e. western, standards of labor organization. The Korean government was forced to back down. Of course, domestic political forces played an important role in this policy reversal, but what tipped the balance was international pressure. Entry into the OECD had been such an important psychological boost and the Korean government did not want to dissipate the prestige it had gained by an ugly fight with its new chums.
However there are also countervailing tendencies for rapidly modernizing non-western countries to reject complete westernization. Complete economic liberalization in many cases can mean the erosion or even elimination of domestic industries. Fledgling national industries often cannot play with the big boys on the international scene. Even as South Korea pledged continuing economic liberalization in its OECD entry, its auto market remained tightly closed, with imports accounting for less than 1% of the market, even as Korea has become the number 5? exporter in the world. In the past, it was widely known that any Korean who bought a foreign car also bought himself a tax audit. While such crude tactics have been officially abandoned in deference to international pressure, no one with eyes believes that the Korean market is truly open to auto imports.
Just as important in the rejection of complete adoption of western practices as economics is psycho-cultural identification with kin and tradition. The 20th century has shown the persistent power of ethnicity and nationalism even in the face of global economic, political, and cultural forces. Ethnic and national rivalries fueled the world wars, the destruction of the European empires, and a host of regional conflicts that have only grown in prominence and fervor with the end of the Cold War. Blood and soil have proven powerful attachments even in the era of global economics and communications.
In East Asia Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans had formed ethnic and national identities centuries before modern European nation states emerged. Many of the nations of Southeast Asia are artificial constructs maintaining the arbitrary boundaries of the European empires after decolonization, but decades of fierce campaigns to construct national identities have significantly shaped perceptions of identity.
In East Asia there are philosophical traditions that not only predate western influence but have been revived as a conscious response to western cultural intrusion. Confucianism was a widely followed philosophical tradition before the time of Jesus Christ. Its legacies remain strong in Korea and Japan. Although Maoism sought to eradicate Confucian influence, the current Chinese leadership is reviving Confucianism and the memories of the former "middle kingdom" as a new ideological source of unity as the power of socialist ideology fades. Similarly, Islam entered Southeast Asia as a major force hundreds of years before Christianity and is still the dominant source of cultural identity in most of Indonesia and Malaysia and among many important cultural minorities throughout East Asia.
While modernization is an imperative if a nation is to be a force in the global system, westernization is to some degree a choice, whether conscious or unconscious. There is a tendency for modernizing nations to adopt western institutions and values in the modernization process, but there are also counterveiling tendencies to resist equating western institutions and values with modernity. Later modernizers have knowledge of the path the West has taken and thus some choice about what to emulate and what not to emulate, or at least what to try to emulate and what to try not to emulate.
The institutions and values of democracy fall largely into this zone of choice which modernizing nations have. Numerous empirical studies have shown that there is a correlation between modernization and democratization, that more economically developed countries with higher education and income are more likely to become democratic. But this correlation is far from perfect. There are numerous exceptions to the rule. Historically there have many many relatively modernized countries that have rejected democracy. In the recent global wave of democratization there are many less developed countries that have adopted at least some democratic forms.
V. Problems with the End of History and Clash of Civilizations Theses
The convergence school suffers not only from conceptual confusion but also from an ideological hubris, which leads to cultural imperialism. If the West is truly the end state of human evolution, then other social and political forms are clearly inferior. The western political agenda comes to be identified with the good of mankind and all opposition to western hegemonism can be characterized as sand in the gears of progress. Attempts of non-western nations to protect their way of life from western influence can be portrayed as atavistic and futile attempts to resist the inevitable and highly desirable future. Economic, political, and even military intervention in the non-western world becomes not a violation of national self-determination, but simply right reason in the face of irrational resistance to the good and true.
This is not to say that Huntington's view is entirely correct. Huntington overstates the degree of differences between modernizing societies, overdramatizes the potential for militarization of these differences, and understates the degree of conflict within civilizations. Huntington's concept of civilizations helps illuminate many conflicts around the world, particularly those in the post-communist world and those between western and Islamic nations. It also helps explain certain forms of cooperation, particularly among overseas Chinese and the Chinese nation and among Islamic nations when faced with western cultural penetration. However Huntington's view of civilizations is less useful for explaining the economic and political integration of East Asia, which emcompasses the intersection of at least 4 civilizations Huntington views as incompatible. It is also not convincing in its explanation of zigs and zags in the attitude of various civilizations in their desire for integration with the West, particularly Latin America and Russia.
Huntington also understates the level of conflict within civilizations, particularly among Islamic states. examples
However, the greatest weakness of Huntington's view is the excessive emphasis it puts on militarization of cultural differences. Huntington exaggerates the political and military threat posed to the West by non-western civilizations, and the need for military integration of the West in response. Huntington's admirable consciousness of the real cultural differences between the West and other civilizations unfortunately tends to be couched in cold war-like rhetoric about threat and response.
If the West is so different from the rest, and the West is truly unique and special, the difference can shade into demonization. If other cultures and civilizations do not share western values like freedom or individualism, and if western adherence to these values makes it culturally superior, then the West is locked in a long term conflict with a world hostile to what is good and true. Huntington warns of an ominous potential alliance between Confucian and Muslim cultures hostile to western values. In the wake of all the post-cold war speculation about a new world order and "the end of history," Huntington was clearly sounding an alarm that deadly conflict over basic values was far from over. While in his book Huntington has balanced the "clash" thesis with discussion of potential world order, he continues to call for political and military integration of the West against a world populated with other civilizations fundamentally hostile to western values and interests. If Fukuyama is too quick to declare international ideological conflict over, Huntington is too wedded to the cold war psychology of threat, hostility, demonization of the other, and militarization of international relations.
Huntington's analysis provides a means of visualizing the alternatives to liberal demo in East Asia that Fuku largely discounts
VI. Is Democracy Simply a Western Concept?
Modernization Theory and the Correlates of Democracy
Libertarianism, Classical Social Democracy, and the Welfare State are essentially western political economic theories, born out of the experiences of western societies. Despite their fierce differences, they all assume an existing capitalist system. But what about non-western societies, nations who are struggling with the problems of creating a modern economy and a functioning polity? What does democracy mean in a traditional society jolted by the eruption of an alien global system into their lives?
Post-World War II social science research into democratization in the non-western world focused on the economic, social, and cultural prerequisites of democracy, the so-called correlates of democracy (Lispet, Almond, Jackman). It was thought that modernization was a complex process that involved evolution of economic and social as well as political systems, with economic development usually preceding political democracy. Large cross-national quantitative studies showed that at any one point in time the probability that a polity had a democratic government was highly correlated with levels of industrialization, income, education, etc.
The correlates of democracy thesis put special emphasis on the middle class as an agent of democratization. In a striking parallel to Marx's theory that the economic emergence of the wage worker inevitably led to the political formation of working class consciousness and eventually to socialist revolution, many modernization theorists argued that industrialization caused the formation of a middle class and a vocal pluralistic civil society which inevitably led to demands for political liberty and democratic rights which eventually triumphed over traditional autocracy.
The global wave of democratization in the 80s and 90s, which spanned a wide range of societies in vastly different stages of economic development called into question the correlates of democracy thesis. If societies as diverse as Thailand, Bangaldesh, South Africa, and Haiti, many of them quite poor and with small middle classes, could democratize, how could economic development be seen as a prerequisite for democratization?
The correlates of democracy theory has also been criticized for its unilinear, ethnocentric, pro-western bias. It tends to assume that there is only one path to the modern world and to democracy, the path that western nations took. Implicitly, it measures the development of other societies by the degree to which their social, cultural, economic, and political conform to the patterns of the so-called advanced western nations.