Modernization is usually associated with urban and industrial development. Until the 20th century, farming meant that many families lived in rural areas. With modernization came a gradual move into urban cities that has continued. During the 20th century, cities have grown as economic and cultural centers, and new technologies have transformed almost every aspect of life. Although modernization has many advantages, some are concerned about the long term effects it has on countries and people.
On the one hand, modernization has encouraged the development of new forms of creative expression, such as film and television. These forms can be easily exported and viewed all over the world. However, a loss of culture may result from modernization. The spread of the Western culture has caused young people in non-Western countries to abandon traditional customs and values. Even languages begin to disappear as urbanization encourages people to learn a country's dominant language. This assimilation of languages and cultures created by modernization means that some cultural aspects are being lost like dialects, religious and family traditions.
New technology has revolutionized the speed and accuracy of production. Furthermore, increased global trade allows businesses to sell their products anywhere. But increased global production may hurt domestic business when international companies can offer products at cheaper prices. The production of goods in foreign countries, where labor laws are more relaxed, amounts to exploitation in some people's view.
Natural resources such as wood, water and oil are often processed in modernized society, and skyscrapers and factories begin to transform the landscape. Environmental problems, such as climate change, are believed to be the result of industrial development and production. Refineries and other plants related to industrial processes contribute to air pollution. However, in many poorer countries, the discovery of oil and the adoption of new technologies is welcomed for the financial opportunities it presents. The cost of living in other countries also translates into lower wages. As new technologies are introduced to developing countries, processes can be streamlined and made less expensive and more accessible to the mass populations.
Communication and Travel
New inventions such as phones, televisions and computers allow people to communicate instantly anywhere on the globe. Increased global travel allows people to visit foreign cultures for business or leisure. Contact with foreign cultures fosters international cooperation, but can also result in further loss of culture as people begin to adopt the foreign cultures and languages they are exposed to.