The Export Boom as Modernity

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I have always found the concept of “modernity” to be one to investigate. This drive for modernity came during the core period of the Second Industrial Revolution. Contextually, improvements in the transport industry and technology propelled states into untouchable power. Paired with the scramble for Africa, this desire for “modernization” is by no means unorthodox.

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But who do we give the power to choose what “modernization” is, and how many times it can be seemingly replaced for the word normal? Is modernization the harbouring of technology or a certain kind of dress, is it consuming a product because it is popular in a seemingly more powerful state. Maybe it is all of these things, but it does show how cognizant states in Latin America were of those around them.


I find it particularly striking that despite the fact that politically the Latin America ran so differently to the west. Ultimately, it competed with the major powers.

5 thoughts on “The Export Boom as Modernity

  1. I think your question of “who do we give the power to choose what modernization is” is a very thought provoking question. It seems to me like governments and the elites want to push everyone in the country to be more modern, but what about the people that aren’t ready to move on out of the more traditional ways? And what about the conflicting ideals of what different people want from their country? Perhaps some people feel that we can modernize our technologies, but our buildings and architecture should not be “modernized”, and other people feel very differently about that.

  2. Replacing ‘modernity’ with the word ‘normal’ brings up a lot of questions about how globalization operates. Modernization could easily be seen as an attempt to eventually advance all nations to the same level of technology and social sphere. Does being a modern nation entail a certain level of technology, values, or economic systems? And as you asked as well, who decides these things? There are infinite different world opinions on what it means to be a modern nation today, and what it meant in history.

  3. I agree that your question is a very thoughtful question. I always enjoy the idea of what makes something “modern” because there are so many different interpretations of modernity. My favourite is still old people resisting modernity, publishing studies about how cell phones are rotting our brains. For how long is it possible to resist changes, especially changes in technology, before you have to give into new technologies?

  4. I really like your interpretation of what modernity is- as it could mean so many things in the eyes of people. Does it mean progress in technology, luxury consumerism- like with what is happening in and around the world today. What exactly does it mean and who makes those kinds of judgements to decide what and what is not modern? I completely agree with you- very often people think that anything close to “America” is what modernity is- so if a country is similar to America in regard to fashion/technology other aspects , then it is considered modern. But- what if there is modernity in other aspects but vary greatly to what is considered the norm.

  5. So true! Who really decides what modern or not? It seems like whatever the US or the west is then that is considered modernization. So dictates these standards? Extremely thoughtful questions!!

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