A Since the fall of the dictatorship in 1974 and the acceleration of the procedures for the full integration of Greece into the European Economic Community, a dominant theme in the press and in political debates has been the country’s need for the rapid improvement of its economy and its political and cultural institutions, if it is eventually to reach the level of ‘democratic maturity’ and social welfare already enjoyed by the advanced social democracies of Western Europe today. This all-pervasive desire to ‘catch up’ with the West, and especially the step-by-step conception of the process, is strongly reminiscent of the sort of functionalist, neo-evolutionist theories developed by economists and sociologists in the fifties, theories which stated (see Chapter 2) that through the process of world-wide diffusion of capitalism, the economically backward countries will pass through the same states as did the Western industrialised societies, and eventually will achieve all the ‘marvels’ of Western civilisation. Of course, as we have argued, this naïve evolutionism began to fade out when it became obvious that, instead of the gap between rich and poor countries narrowing, it was becoming wider; also, when it was realised that third-world countries, having entered relatively late into the industrialisation race, and being forced to accept a dependent, peripheral role in the international division of labour, were following an economic trajectory both different from that of the West and less advantageous for the majority of their peoples. But although on the academic level these neo-evolutionist theories are now completely bankrupt, they still play a very effective role in political ideologies, where they exercise enormous influence and contribute considerably to the maintenance of the status quo.
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- Conclusion: Catching up with the West: Neo-Evolutionist Ideologies and Problems of Greek Development
Nicos P. Mouzelis
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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