The purpose of this research paper is to demonstrate analysis of the modernization processes of Afghanistan under the ruling of Amanullah Khan and that of France under the ruling of King Louis XIV; applying theories to compare and understand the accomplishments and failures resulting from the attempts of reformations to modernize these two nations. In 1919, when Amanullah Khan came to power and won independence of Afghanistan from the British, he was motivated by his accomplishments and inspired by the system the West to reform the country’s system government and social structure with the intention to create a modern and developed Afghanistan. The other great king, Louis XIV of France, brought many changes and created reforms while having a great ambition to make his nation the most powerful and influential in all Europe. By analyzing the two nations we can find similarities and differences in the process of modernization attempts taken by the two kings. Even though both of the rulers, similarly had great ambition to improve their countries state, they both faced shortcomings, obstacles and inaccuracy in their planning and application of reforms in different ways which at the end leads both to failure of some sort.This research paper will use relevant analytic approaches, through the use of the works from influential sociologist such as Charles Tilly, IbnKhaldun and Rostow to create a comparative analysis and comprehension of modernization and development processes demonstrated by great and aspiring kings in Afghanistan and France.
When Amanullah Khan became king in 1919, he went on war against the British starting the third Anglo-Afghan war and defeated them bringing independence for Afghanistan (Poullada). Motivated by his triumph and inspired by the modernized European nations, Amanullah decided to bring changes to take Afghanistan on the path to modernization. The processes of legal and executive strategies can be divided into three parts; first one mainly dealing with legal organization which included Afghanistan’s first constitution, second one consisting of military and executive reforms, and a third stage focusing on social and religious reforms (Poullada). Amanullah changed the tax system; ordering raised taxes on agriculture, land and livestock to be collected directly and in cash, as well as created a new currency, and eliminated tribal allowance to tribal elders and their power of authority (Rubin, 2002). Other reforms included prohibiting slavery, discouraging the practice of polygamy, encouraging women to become active members of the society, enhancing the education system by building more schools for boys and girls, and giving students the chance to study aboard for higher education (Rubin, 2002). Amanullah also planned new transportation system; creating network of roads, bridges to open a way for people in rural areas to get involved in the rest of the country and contribute in the trade and economy (Rubin, 2002).
King Louis XIV of France was one of the most influential figures not only in the French but the European political and cultural history. In 1661, Louis XIV decided that he would be ruling his nation as an absolute monarch, without any consultation or interference from the nobles or the rest of the Estates General (Muntone, 2012). Louis XIV contributed a great deal to the modernization of France. It was during his regime that France achieved high European and worldwide recognition. The French culture and social model became classical standard all over European among the wealthy and upper class; their art flourished and French developed into the main language in European courts (Muntone, 2012). Louis also busied himself in planning for numerous construction projects which included Versailles palace, as his biggest project and symbol of his power and triumph of French dominion in aspects of political power as well as cultural establishment in Europe (Muntone, 2012). In order to have control over the Estates General and prevent any plotting against him, the king ordered that the nobles spend much of their time at the Versailles; where they spent their money enjoying luxurious life style, while neglecting their roles in management of their land and people (Muntone, 2012). Louis XIV went on series of wars with the intention to heighten French power in Europe. Even though these wars brought success, such as expanding the French territory and increasing their influence in Europe, it also came with high price depleting the French treasury by investing to much in the war and military growth, which eventually caused great damage to the country’s economy (Muntone, 2012). Throughout the years, a way to help him with the cost of wars was raising the taxes which caused rebellion uprisings of the French known as the Fronde (Muntone, 2012). Louis XIV also abolished the Edict of Nantes which allowed the French Protestants to have freedom of worship and employment, with the intention that he wanted a state unity (Streichn.d.). As a result of the persecution, millions fled France resulting in the country’s loss of highly literate and skilled workers (Streich, n.d.).
Modernization Theories and Perspectives – Charles Tilly
In order to establish a modernized and developed a society, there are series of reform programs and institutionalized changes that must take place. According to Charles Tilly, there are four interdependent processes that contribute to the creation of a modernized society (Tilly, 1985). In order to analyze Afghanistan’s and France’s attempts in the path to modernization under the rulings of Amanullah Khan and Louis XIV, this research paper will present the components of Charles Tilly’s state building theory. Excretion is the way to achieve the means to carry out the other three processes of state-building; state-making, war-making and protection (Tilly, 1985). Amanullah Khan struggled to increase excretion of resources through adopting new raised taxation on agriculture, land and livestock, and creating trade policies. State-making, which is the suppression of internal rivals, gives the ruling party of a society, in this case Amanullah Khan, the ability to be successful in taking and maintaining control of the country in order to take it on the path to modernization (Tilly, 1985). King Amanullah’s efforts to state-building and modernization of Afghanistan were in vain due to the fact that he did not have enough resources to take control over the tribal elderly and religious leaders who became as oppositions. He had created these rivals for the state due the reforms in terms of taxation, customs revenue, changing religious and cultural aspects of the people’s lives, especially those concerning women. With limited resources available, the state may fails in its ability of state-making and eradication the rivals within the state (Tilly, 1985).
In the process of modernization of France under the ruling of King Louis XIV, war-making, which is the suppression and elimination of rivals outside the territory/country of control (Tilly, 1985), plays the most crucial aspect. Louis XIV went on series of wars with other European countries such as Spain and Netherlands, in order to increase his power and expand the French territory. As mentioned earlier, extraction not only has direct effect of a state’s ability of state-making to supress and rivals within the country but also the ability of war making (Tilly, 1985). Louis the XIV was very successful in terms of having under his control and influence the nobles who could potential be rivals to his state. For this purpose he created the Versailles palace and provided luxuries lifestyle and services for the nobles to stay there while he also deceived them; making them think they have power over the state’s decision makings, when in truth they absolutely did not. This was a very clever and effective way to keep an eye over the nobles to prevent any plotting against him. At one point, in an attempt to make the state more unified, Louis XIV abolished the Edict of Nantes, taking away the French Protestant’s rights, forcing them to either convert to Catholic or flee France. This was a negative impact not only in the countries state-making but also resulted in loss of extraction means by losing millions of skilled workers and highly literate men. Similar to King Amanullah, Louis XIV also tried raising the taxes to support his war-making and state-making efforts. However, he was spending too much money in both, in war-making with other countries as well as in his efforts of state=making by keep the internal rivals under his control. These actions would cost France very high price in the long term, as Louis XIV was draining the treasury of France which meant limited resources to support state building in the years to come after him causing the downturn of modernization of France. When common folk show powerful resistance towards state-making because of increased taxation and war-making depleting their countries treasury, the authority has no other choice but to compromise because the state lacks the resources to control them (Tilly, 1985).
Desert Civilization and Sedentary Civilization – Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khandun's concepts regarding the modernization of the two nations, Desert Civilization vs. Sedentary Civilizations, are important tools to help us explorer and understand Afghanistan under king Amanullah and France under Louis XIV. Desert civilizations which are built by subsistence agriculture and pastoralism with a low population density are communities where group feelings are very strong and they stand by each other through poverty and prosperity (Barfield, 2010). This concept can best describes the lifestyle of most Afghan people who lived under the ruling of King Amanullah, and developed their own kinship rules in small communities which did not experience an influence of government or city life at all but rather operate under the influence of tribal elderly and/or religious leaders. Khaldun explains that it is tough for any stranger or foreigner to dominate over such people (Barfield, 2010). This is exactly the case with Amanullah Khan trying to change the lives of tribal are people; they resisted and fought him to get their own autonomy back. Sedentary civilizations on the other hand, which are surplus agricultural largely populated areas, such as big cities, have a much more complicatedeconomic system (Barfield, 2010). The sedentary or city civilizations were centers of education, high culture, and markets for regional as well as international trade/business and controlled the region's productive capital, while making increased wealth (Barfield, 2010). We can very well apply the sedentary style of life to that of King Louis XIV, as he also had a center of great culture and luxuries and had power over the commerce. One of the major differences between deserted and sedentary life styles is the idea of class divisions. In the desert life people do not have any class divisions, whereas, the sedentary/city life consist of class and occupational structures divisions (Barfield, 2010). During the time of King Amanullah, in the rural areas of Afghanistan which was the vast majority of population, there were no divisions of class but rather tribal kinships. However, in the French society during King Louis XIV's time, France consisted of society divided into many classes such as the King, the Royals, the Nobels, people involved in business and trade, and the most misfortunate lower class who were neglected and ignored by the King. When people became wealthy in cities, they saved up their money in banks for future needs and business, whereas in desert civilization, when they had money they spent it displaying their wealth through their lifestyle and helping others which increased their power and honor among their people (Barfield, 2010). This meant that if people needed help they would turn to each other, most likely the tribal leaders for help and would not be denied because desert civilization everyone depends on each other as a group for financial, moral and even emotional support. On the other hand, in the city it was most likely the people's money which helped them through times of hardship because city life was much more about individualism with a weak group feeling.
Economic Growth Model - Rostow
To further examine the modernization process of Afghanistan and France we can apply the Rostow’s linear model of economic growth. The five stages of economic growth which include: traditional society, transitional stage, take off, drive to maturity and high mass consumption. According to Rostow, the traditional society is defined as a society dominated by subsistence activity where the goods are consumed by the producers or traded for other goods without the cash being involved (Rostow, 1960). Before King Amanullah Khan came to power in 1919, Afghanistan was a traditional society, where most of its people were involved in agriculture and farming, and they exchanged goods directly for other goods. Just as Rostow described in the traditional society, people in Afghanistan had very limited technology available; traditional methods were used for production which was also limited. When king Amanullah came to power, he had plans to make Afghanistan’s economy grow. He tried to create effective taxation and trading systems and build roads to open ways opportunities for people. However, if we look at Afghanistan’s economy during the time of Amanullah Khan through Rostow’s economic growth model, we can see that his efforts to move up the ladder of economic growth for Afghanistan failed. Due to the lack of thoughtfulness in his reforms planning, Amanullah was rejected by the people and driven away from Afghanistan, leaving most of the country in the subsistent state of economy. Even though he had great intentions for the future of Afghnistan, the social and cultural obstacles became the cause of his failure.
When Louis XIV became King of France in 1661, country was in a debt of 60 million livres. King Louis XIV’s minister of finance, Jean Baptiste Colbert,decided to solve the problem by creating policies to support the domestic industry through the creation of new tax collection system. He increased the percentage of taxes going into the royal treasury from ten percent of total taxes collected to eighty-five percent going into the royal treasury (World History at KLMA, 2001). Import Tariffs were increased to reduce foreign imports to the country, while new industries were designed to attract foreign workers, roads were improved and canals were built to advance domestic trade, and plantations were established in French colonies (World History at KLMA, 2001). At this time France had reached to Rostow’s fourth stage of the economic growth model. Just as Rostow describes the stage of “Drive to Maturity”, France was expanding into new areas producing wide range of goods which made the country less dependent on imports (Rostow, 1960). With the new roads and canals the urbanization of France under Louis XIV was increasing; technological improvements gave wide range opportunities for investment (Rostow, 1661). The population was growing and had proven itself as a great asset for the country’s great economy, bringing France’s debt down to 10 million levres (World History at KLMA, 2001). However, with the death of Colbert in 1683, the country’s financial state started declining with the king’s high revenues and costs of wars (World History at KLMA, 2001). In 1685, when Louis XIV abolished the Edict of Nantes, massive numbers of French Protestants, craftsmen and merchants, left the country causing great loss for the manufacturing industry of France (Streichn.d.). By the end of Louis XIV’s reign, the country was no longer in the stage of “Drive to Maturity” but rather ended with 3 billion livres debt and France left bankrupt (World History at KLMA, 2001).
In conjunction with the theories from great sociologists, Charles Tilley, IbnKhaldun and Rostow, applied to analyze the state of Afghanistan and France under the rules of Amanullah Khan and Louis XIV, this research paper will compare the modernization and development processes of both nations. Both, Amanullah Khan and King Louis XIV, were great kings who were very ambitious and hard working in their attempt to advance the state of their nation, and achieved great amount of success. However, both of them made mistakes that brought failure in their ruling. Amanullah Khan was preoccupied with making plans for reforms and trying to apply too many big hard to accept changes to the state and people’s lives rather than focusing on the possible consequences of the people’s reaction, economic growth or and strengthening his military. On the other hand, France’s king Louis was putting too much time and money into creating a big and powerful army which drained the royal treasury and earned the people’s anger instead of focusing on their needs. Both their success and shortcomings are playing a significant role in their country’s governmental and economical history.
© Copyright 2016 Muslimsaadat. All rights reserved.