Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification

Global stratification is a social stratification where people or nations are separated and ranked in a hierarchy on a global scale. The global stratification is viewed in three different segments or theatrical perspectives such as modernization, dependency and globalization theory. Modernization theory is the process of transformation by the nation and its citizens from underdeveloped societies to more developed ones. It is the process of changes in social, economic and political structure and adopting those that have been put in place by the western nations. The aid from the western nations to less developed nations in the form of education and training and direct investments is a great trigger to modernization in less developed nations. Dependency theory on the other hand is an economic concept that is concerned with financial dependency between rich and poor nations. The theory suggests that richer nations continue to amass wealth at the expense of poor nations due to the relationships that exist between economic and other factors of development. On the contrary, globalization is the interconnection and linkage of people and nations across the globe (Lenski, 2013). It is the growth and enactment of the world culture through business, education and socialization. Much as there is need for economic development and modernization in every nation of the world, it is imperative that this is done with a lot of courteousness because other nations take advantage and stratify others on the basis of their level of development. This paper discusses the theoretical perspectives of global stratification basing on three theories (modernization, dependency and globalization).

The theory of modernization attempts to explain why poor countries fail to develop and focuses on what could be the main barrier to their effective development. The theory argues that there are a number of cultural and economic barriers that chock the development dream of the underdeveloped nations. Traditional values are an obstacle to economic change and development .On the other hand, modern values inspire general economic growth and development. In adequate infrastructure, political instability, poor technology and lack of skills do not attract investors. These are the major economic inhibitors to the development of any nation. In order for countries to develop, development ought to be seen as an evolutionary process that is necessary to undertake. However this theory has faced with a myriad of contrasting situations (Duffield, 2014).  A combination of traditional culture and Eurocentric culture by the Asians has shown rapid economic development in the resent past. Equally important, the theory ignores the crisis of modernization in both developed and underdeveloped nations. There are monumental inequalities in developed countries leading to emergence of other problems (high crime rate and health care issues). The theory is largely based on the adoption of the western culture (Eurocentric). This means other traditional set ups have to be abandoned. Run-away corruption in governments inherited from the western nations by the officials is a detriment in itself to development of any nation.

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 Dependency theory suggests that economic conditions in under developed counties have forced them to remain dependent on the developed nations of the west. The dependency rates inhibit developing nations from putting in place infrastructure and mechanisms that are necessary for transition into developed countries. Under developed countries are impoverished by the economic giants of the west as suggested by the theory. This makes them unable to govern themselves properly and eventually incline to the giants, who in exchange take a command of their resources. These resources are mined and flown out of the affected country and their proceeds come back as donation. Dependency theory has its fair share of critics. It fails to tell why there is so much poverty in the world and why there is also poverty in the developed countries. The theory is over deterministic in nature (Cullen, Johnson & Parboteeah, 2014).. It fails to explore the interpretation of the people in the less developed countries. It also fails to acknowledge that people of the less developed countries can choose to either be capitalists or cling to their culture.

  Globalization theory on the other hand entails the expansion of capitalism to include all the nations of the world into a globally integrated economic community. This theory is criticized on the grounds that it fails to consider the fact that globalization can only be driven by people with technological know how and power (Thompson, Hickey & Thompson, 2016). Globalization can also ruin local economies because everybody goes for international business and ignore local ventures.

All the three theories are biased because they favor the economies of the developed nations at the expense of the developing nations.

In comparison, all the three theories are Eurocentric because the underlying motive is to confuse the developing countries with financial aid. The ultimate aim is to promote their euphemism idea which is exploitation of the developing nations. In addition, all the theories aim at explaining the relationship that exists between developed and developing nations.

Conversely, the three theories differ in some ways. Modernization theory advocates for a continuous structural differentiation and changes where as globalization theory is a mindset that aims at transforming economic ideas from all nations into one global economic village. On the other hand dependency theory explains how a society amasses wealth by exploiting others.

The most useful theory of explaining global inequality is dependency theory. This theory opens up the world to reality on how developed nations exploit the less developed countries. It is clear that financial aid to developing nations has a motive of promoting euphemism at the expense of others (The United States and Sub-Saharan Africa)

In conclusion, global stratification is explained by the help of theories like modernization, globalization and dependency theories. Modernization theory aims at promoting development in all countries. Globalization theory promotes the enactment of a global culture. Dependency theory explains how some countries enrich themselves by exploiting others. The best theory in explaining inequalities is the dependence theory.


Lenski, G. E. (2013). Power and privilege: A theory of social stratification. UNC Press Books.

Duffield, M. (2014). Global governance and the new wars: The merging of development and security. Zed Books Ltd..

Cullen, J. B., Johnson, J. L., & Parboteeah, K. P. (2014). National rates of opportunity entrepreneurship activity: Insights from institutional anomie theory. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice38(4), 775-806.

Thompson, W. E., Hickey, J. V., & Thompson, M. L. (2016). Society in focus: An introduction to sociology. Rowman & Littlefield.

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