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Here is the question as it appeared on the IELTS exam in Brazil:
Many old cities around the world are going through a major process of modernization. What are the advantages and disadvantages of modernization?
Here is my suggested response:
A new wave of industrialization has taken the developing world by storm. Among many of these countries, a policy of fast-tracking has been adopted, often producing mixed results. The advantages and disadvantages of the rapid modernizing of many old cities around the world will be analyzed in this essay.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of this process is the raising of living standards. For example, many second tier cities in India have seen a boom in the quality of life found there. Thus, the collective effort being made in India to modernize is also having a positive impact on the lives of Indian people. From this perspective, modernization can be seen as a positive thing.
However, despite this advantage, there are also notable disadvantages to fast-tracking development. For one, rapid modernization often involves the destruction of historical relics, buildings and roads. This has been unfortunately true in areas like Anhui, China, where the demolishing of many culturally significant buildings is occurring at a degree akin to that of the Cultural Revolution. Thus, it is clear that there are many disadvantages to this wave of modernization as well.
After analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of bringing the cities of the developing world up to speed with those of the developed world, it is felt modernization causes more good than harm. However, it is hoped that caution is employed in the efforts made to renew the old cities of the world.