Development theories geography: overview |

The generic term development theories includes a large number of theories, all of which deal with the development of countries, whereby different causes and solutions are always described.

This summary provides an overview of the topic of development theories. The development of states, the dependency theory, the modernization theory or the theory of fragmented development are explained in more detail in separate articles. Have a look there!

What is a development theory?

Not every country in the world is developed in the same way. Some countries are at a higher level of development than others. So-called development theories can offer an explanation for this.

A development theory is a theory that seeks explanations as to why some regions or states are less developed.

The development theories are from the development policy to distinguish. The latter deals with various programswhich are intended to improve the economic, social or political situation in a developing country.

Development theories, on the other hand, deal with the analysis of the situation in different regions or countries. Rather, they try to define the specific reasons or causes for the state of development.

Development – ​​simply explained

What does development mean in the context of different country types and theories?

countries are regarding their development differently advanced. Depending on the level of development, they are categorized and titled differently.

There are various characteristics that influence the development of a country and illustrate the state of development:

  • economic characteristics,
  • ecological characteristics,
  • demographic characteristics,
  • health characteristics,
  • sociocultural characteristics,
  • political features.

Endogenous and Exogenous Theories

The development theories can be divided into endogenous and exogenous theories. A distinction is made here as to whether the main reason for the backward development of a country lies within or outside the country.

endogenous theories

The endogenous theories see the Cause in the country itself. For example, one of them is modernization theory.

Other theories dealing with the endogenous causes are:

  • Theory about low savings and investment activity
  • Theory about the population explosion
  • Theories about social change as a cyclical process
  • geodeterminism theory
  • resource curse theory

exogenous theories

The exogenous theories justify the underdevelopment with circumstances that outside of developing countries lie. The general point of view of these theories is that the industrialized countries are mostly to blame for the poor development in the country. These refer mainly to the dependence of underdeveloped countries on the industrialized nations. The problems and causes in the developing countries themselves are consequences of this.

Theories dealing with the exogenous causes are for example:

  • The theory of the long-term deterioration of the terms of trade
  • dependency theories

development of states

Both the level of development and the speed of development differ by state and region.

Nations that lag behind the industrialized countries in economic and social development are the so-called developing countries already mentioned.

Depending on how far developed a country is, it can be assigned to a specific country type. You probably already know some of these terms:

  • Developing countries
  • emerging markets
  • transition countries
  • industrialized countries

These countries differ on an economic, social and also political level.

tiger states

Another category of countries are the tiger states. However, they do not indicate the level of development of a country, but only describe a group of nations.

According to the definition, the countries South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are summarized under the term tiger states.

However, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines were included later in the definition of the term.

But why are these countries called tiger states?

The term «Tiger States» became popular in the 1980s and refers to those that were emerging at the time emerging markets. At that time, these were in rapid development and were compared to the strength and speed of a tiger.

The designation «Tiger States» was intended to depict a powerful tiger preparing to pounce.

The tiger states experienced an economic upswing as a result of a targeted economic policy and the beginning process of globalization.

This happened, for example, by relocating production sites to countries with low manufacturing and labor costs.

The development of these countries can be divided into the phases of upswing, depression and the Asian crisis.

What exactly happens in these phases, what risks and problems exist for the tiger states and what demographic trends these countries are struggling with, you can read in the corresponding articles!

development strategies

A development strategy is a blueprint for a country’s future and long-term course of action, with the aim of making up for a country’s deficits and arrears.

The strategies are used to promote development in developing countries. They are mainly used in the context of development policy, as they define various measures intended to support a backward country economically.

Possible development strategies are:

  • Decoupling strategy – demands a separation of developing countries and the world market (deglobalization)
  • Basic needs strategy – economic interests are in the background here
  • Polarization strategy – individual areas are given increased support, with this support intended to boost the economy in the area as well
  • Balanced growth strategy – here all investments are coordinated and are intended to promote balanced economic growth

In addition to these more well-known strategies, there are a number of other development strategies that each focus on different approaches.

What development theories are there?

Some theories deal specifically with the stages of development of each country. There are different approaches:

The dependency theory

The dependency theory is closely related to the development theories and summarizes several hypotheses. These try to explain the blockade of economic and social development, for example in Latin America.

Dependency theory is a generic term for a variety of assumptions that want to emphasize the existence of hierarchical dependencies between industrialized and developing countries.

One of the gist of this theory is that the dependence of developing countries on industrialized countries is the main cause of underdevelopment.

On this point, both variants of the theory agree:

  • The Marxist variant
  • The structuralist variant.

This approach emerged in the mid-1960s and is the counterpart to modernization theory. Here, the underdevelopment of Latin American countries is triggered by exogenous factors, such as the consequences of colonialism.

You can find out exactly what the causes of this dependency and the resulting underdevelopment are and what solutions various theorists propose in the separate article on dependency theory.

The Modernization Theory

This type of theory explains the state of development of a country mainly in terms of endogenous causes.

In general, a modernization theory is a theory that seeks to explain processes of modernization and causes of modernity.

The modernization theory is the opposite of the dependency theory: the latter tries to explain the underdevelopment of some states with exogenous factors, whereas the modernization theory bases the cause on endogenous factors.

This means that underdevelopment is rooted in that country’s own characteristics. One can therefore say that, according to the theory, underdevelopment results from one’s own existence and actions and not from that of other countries.

There are various theorems within modernization theory. These are, for example, the differentiation theorem, the mobilization theorem, the participation theorem, the secularization theorem and the theorem of conflict institutionalization.

You can find out exactly what these theorems are all about or what steps need to be taken to modernize a state in the separate article on modernization theory.

The theory of fragmented development

The theory of fragmented development is based on the basic assumption that globalization makes comprehensive development of backward countries difficult or even impossible.

Because the failure of other development theories, such as dependency and modernization theory, and the steadily advancing globalization has prompted a fundamental rethinking of previous theories and connections.

Time has shown that the practical measures of development policy could not help the developing countries in their further development.

Fragmented development means that entire countries and their entire populations can never participate in global competition and its positive effects, but only certain locations.

A change in values ​​is presented as the only solution.

You can find out exactly what is meant by value change and why previous development policy measures have failed in the article on the theory of fragmented development.

Sustainable development

Sustainable development describes the development of countries, states or regions that serves the needs of current generations without endangering the opportunities and resources of future generations.

This sustainable development is needed because every human being makes more or less use of the earth’s limited resources. That is why the concept of sustainability affects everyone and all areas of our lives, and sustainable economic activity becomes the task of an entire society.

An example of the implementation of sustainable development is the 2030 Agenda, which comprises a total of 17 political goals.

In the article on sustainable development, we explain what these goals are specifically or how they are implemented, what problem dimensions there are with this form of development or how the concept came about historically in the first place.

Agenda 2030

Sustainable development is an international topic, which is why a total of 7 goals were set for this in 2015 as part of the United Nations Agenda 2030. You also will be «Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called. The 2030 Agenda came into effect on January 1, 2016.

The goals of Agenda 2030 should serve to enable a decent life worldwide while at the same time preserving the natural basis of life…