Theories Explaining Growth of Superpowers

Modernisation Theory

  • A theory proposed to explain the dominance of the British Empire and the USA according to their history of industrial modernization. It relates to five different stages of economic development.

  • Assumes all countries follow the same development pathway.
  • Socialist and communist countries could not develop unless they adopted model.
  • Gave industrialized countries advantage.


Dependency Theory

  • Theory views the world as having an economically developed core and an underdeveloped periphery.
  • Model views the periphery as being kept dependent on the core, thus continuing its state of underdevelopment.
  • Capitalist core keeps the periphery in a state of underdevelopment by exploiting cheap resources and taking its most skilled workers such as TNCs in Taiwan.
  • Superpowers are developed. Underdeveloped have no chance.


World Systems Theory

  • A three-tier world with a core, semi periphery and a periphery.
  • More realistic such as USA in top tier, using workers from periphery.