Impacts of Modernization On Democratization

Modernization is the creation of systems that exposes the society to civilization. Democratization is the change from authoritarian or monarchy system of governance to the full practice of civil rights especially in the election, or to half-realization of civil voting rights. Therefore, any change towards the development of a more inclusive people suffrage is considered an improvement in democratization. Democracies arise when value systems and social systems changes to address the needs of the society. This paper looks into the development of democracies through modernization.

Modernization can facilitate the development of democracy in a society when it initiates the development of conditions that can lead to improved awareness of the society (Valenzuela, 1990). If modernization leads to increased level of education, it can lead to the development of democracy. Education makes the people have the ability to be more informed and to make a more accurate choice in suffrage. This has been the case of modernity created through the colonization of African countries that exposed them to western education, hence the ability to make correct voting choices. Countries initially colonized by British like Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa have become very democratic following the development of formal education. The same is replicated in the French, Portuguese and German colonies like Gambia, Zambia, and Cameroon.

Also, if modernization leads to higher access to information, it can also further the development of agitation for civil rights.  Access to information through modernity especially in Costa Rica, Chile and Brazil have seen the electorate get to know their rights and privileges, thus increased affinity to adopt democratic systems in the Latin America countries (Filgueira et al., 2011). The same is attributed to the development of democracies in southern Europe countries like Spain and Italy.

Finally, if modernization leads to the exploitation of the natural resources that were once idle, it leads to increased access to social amenities, quality of life and civil rights, thus leading to the development of democratic systems (Hassan, 2003). The exploitation of resources like oil has seen the rise of democracies in countries like Russia and United Arabs Emirates. The economic activities increase the income level of the people hence they all become role players in the development of their governance systems, as a way of safeguarding their individual private property, and the national public property.

Democracy may arise when the people are more empowered economically, academically and with access to information. When people are more economically endowed, they develop democracy to protect their wealth. Likewise, when people share relevant political information, they challenge one another, leading to more democratic space.




Filgueira, F., Reygadas, L., Luna, J. P., & Alegre, P. (2011). Shallow states, deep inequalities and the limits of conservative modernization: the politics and policies of incorporation in Latin America. The Great Gap: Inequality and the Politics of Redistribution in Latin America, 245-77.

Hassan, P., & Azfar, A. (2003). Securing environmental rights through public interest litigation in South Asia. Va. Envtl. LJ22, 215.

Valenzuela, J. S. (1990). Democratic consolidation in post-transitional settings: notion, process, and facilitating conditions (Vol. 150). Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame.


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