Over the last hundred years many events and situations have occurred throughout the world which have affected not only the areas that they took place, but because of industrialization, media relations, politics, and economic factors, have affected the world as a whole. Some of these occurrences have been negative and some have been positive. Events that take place in very influential countries, such as the United States, also have a tendency to make a larger impact on other countries because more relationships are tied through them. This makes countries like the United States able to purposely sway decisions in a beneficial direction, which is why the way the United States conducts its business is criticized so thoroughly. There are some people who believe that this effect (globalization) is a good thing and that " social and cultural change could take place in all societies through industrial capitalism." These are the people who believe in the modernization theory. There are also some people that believe this is not a good thing and that it leads to " global inequality as resulting from historical exploitation of the poor, underdeveloped societies by rich, developed societies." The people who follow this are considered dependency theorist.
Modernization theory involves five steps, as stated by one of the most influential American modernization theorist ever, in our course reader, W.W. Rostow. These five steps are classifications of societies that show the natural progression they go through to reach modernization. The first of these stages is the "Traditional Stage." The traditional stage is a level at which the people are following their traditional values that have been passed down to them. In order to move themselves forward in modernization, Rostow says that they must abandon these traditional values such as family and community and begin to focus on individual achievement to instill initiative.