The Unevenness of Modernity

Modernity is a social existence condition that contradicts to the traditional forms of human experiences. On the other hand, modernization to the evolutionary process where society is transforming from the old and primitive way to modern society. Modernity was experienced at different times across the world. Most historians have suggested that modernity began in Europe in the 18th and 19th century towards the end of the colonial era. It was further exemplified by the emergence of modern warfare’s which were the two world wars. During the 20th century, modernity in the West was conceived as the ability to embrace new thoughts, the emergence of new forms of art, development of new technologies and advanced products, new fields of inquiry, incorporation of women in the male-dominated professions and division of labor . In general, modernity is associated to the various societal aspects such as capitalism, optimism, free market, development, power superiority, science and technology, democracy, urbanization and industrialization, search for knowledge and growth. Since the ability to embrace modernity across the places is dependent on certain factors, some countries have struggled with the unevenness of modernity.
The spreading wave of modernization promoted the isolation countries which had not yet embraced modernity. Some form of traditional authorities isolated their societies from the rest of the world; this was to protect their lands from any foreign influence that could interfere with their control or cultural values. In such societies, all the citizens were impeded from any form of foreign engagement. As a result of such practices, the countries remained isolated and therefore they could not exchange ideas with the outside societies. By 1853 before Japan had refused to establish any diplomatic relations with the United States or any of the developed Western country. The country was excluded from the rest of the world where people were beginning to experience changes in nearly all aspects of society. Only a small portion of the Nagasaki was open for trade, but just for a few groups, the Chinese, Korea, and Dutch traders were secluded from trading in Japan through strict restrictions. During this time, Japan was ruled by Tokugawa Shogunate which comprised of 270 feudal lords . This kind of governance was attributed to the backwardness of Japanese society in the early part of the 19th century. Tokugawa rulership did not promote any form of development; instead, it widened the societal disparities in Japanese society. Under Tokugawa governance, the Japanese society was divided into four social classes with the majority comprising of the poor. This way, the unevenness of modern is demonstrated through the isolation of Japan from other countries which were transforming.
Modernity encouraged the exploitation of poor people in society. Following the conception of the modernization concept, society began to anticipate much of the economic aspects. Many industries were established to help in the processing of raw materials into finished products. Trading activities became very common in most societies as people began exchanging products across the continents and this eventually resulted in the formation of currencies. In Japan, people started anticipating land as a significant asset and of high economic value among the farmers. During the Tokugawa era in Japan, the land was owned by the shogun, all the peasants who practiced farming on the land were given small portions to cultivate rice and other crops. Even though peasant farmers were not entitled to buy or sell the lands, some peasants were registered by the authorities, and therefore they had rights over the lands. Over the period, certain individuals who sought for means of taking away the lands from the poor peasants who fell in their debts. The peasant farmers were expected to give 70% of their farm produce to the wealthy landowners and the ruling class. For this reason, most of the peasant farmers remained poor, and many of them died during droughts as they were not able to keep some of their produce for future use . The wake modernity, therefore, propagated unevenness through oppression as the ruling class and the wealthy used the poor to satisfy their economic needs.
The introduction of modern government systems led to the development of new resentments in societies. As a result of the growing influence of modernity across the world. Most countries abandoned their traditional forms of governance and adopted the central government system. However, the adoption of the centralized governmental system led to the rise of new complains as they did not promote equality among the citizens. Some individuals seek to make themselves more powerful, while others took advantage of the situation to amass more wealth at the expense of the less fortunate in society. After the abolishment of the Tokugawa rule in Japan, a centralized form of government called Meiji was instituted. The Meiji government determined to bring about radical modernization in Japan, and this was to start from the existing agrarian sector in the country . The government took control of the woodlands and meadows, and the villagers were denied free access. The government also introduced a policy that expected all the youths to offer military service and this drew a negative reaction from the peasants. A group of individuals who were not happy with the new system used the opportunity to invite people against the new system and organized for resistance. The villagers then attacked the police stations, schools, and other public facilities. This act led to the arrest of many individuals after the opposition was brought down. The entire resistance was founded on misconception and ignorance. The implication of modernity through the new governance system, therefore, promoted unevenness as some people did not contend with the new changes especially in the form of governance.
The emergence of modernity contributed to the widening of the existing social gaps in society. Through the promotion of capitalism in society, most of the industrious and influential individuals in society were encouraged to acquire more wealth in society. The people in authority were able to amass more wealth from society through corruption, and other unjust means and they became wealthy. On the other hand, there was another category of individuals who engaged in very active trading activities, and they became successful through businesses. On the contrary, the more extensive section of the society worked as peasant farmers while the wealthy individuals employed others for low wages. Following the introduction of military service for all the men aged twenty and above, most Japanese parents were not willing to send their children to the army, and therefore they came up with different tactics of evading the draft. The government also allowed the citizens to avoid being drafted by 270 yen and later 400 in 1889. Since no peasant was able to raise this amount only the rich people were able to get an exemption, thus, promoting social inequality . Later on, the government also introduced universal education where the parents were expected to pay the tuition fee, and therefore the schools were only meant for the rich who could afford to pay the price. Such actions widened the gap between the poor and the rich people in Japanese society. As a consequence, modernity has therefore promoted unevenness in the society by extending the existing social gaps as the rich get wealthier while the poor are getting less fortunate.
Modernity has promoted unequal growth of towns and cities. As a result of the full effect of modernity, individual towns and centers have been transformed to become some of the world greatest cities which are characterized by increased infrastructural growth and economic power. Initially, there are specific locations which were used by the traders as the meeting points where they conducted all their business transactions. With time, the traders began establishing settlements into the areas to secure their goods. Later on, factories were set up in such areas, and more people began migrating from the rural areas into these centers to work in the industries and also take part in the trading activities. With the continued growth of these towns, the authorities established more infrastructures in and hence transforming them into larger urban centers with better facilities as compared to the other regions. In contrast, as the towns grew into larger cities, the rural areas which were occupied majorly by the poor peasant farmers remained underdeveloped with poor infrastructural facilities. The rural areas grew at a slower pace, and this made the living conditions of the people who inhabited those areas to remain lower and characterized by high levels of poverty. After sealing the diplomatic relationship between Japan and the United States, some urban centers began to grow in the Tokugawa Empire . Tokyo became the Headquarter of the Shogunate, and therefore many governmental and business operations were centered. The other areas which were mostly occupied by the peasant farmers mainly were filled with the farms, and they were entirely underdeveloped. This way, modernity promoted unevenness as some areas were able to develop faster to become more essential cities with better infrastructural facilities while some regions have largely remained to be underdeveloped.
Even though modernity is attributed to numerous benefits to society, it is the reason why some countries have struggled with the unevenness in their societies. This is because it has promoted the existence of certain conditions which are not favorable to all people. Some of the ways that modernity has to encourage unevenness to include unequal growth of towns and cities, it has widened the social gap in the society, it promoted the exploitation and oppression of the poor, it encouraged isolation and the growth of new resentment. To reduce the level of unevenness which is attributed to modernization, countries must find better ways of controlling the extreme impacts of modernization to promote equality in the country.

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