The spread of modern manufacturing to the poor periphery

I have a post at Vox describing a recently published book, co-edited with Jeff Williamson.

7 thoughts on “The spread of modern manufacturing to the poor periphery”

  1. “Context matters

    Modern manufacturing growth in the global periphery dates back to the interwar period, and in some regions much earlier.  It depended on a complex interaction between factor endowments, the global context, economic policies, and luck. The effectiveness of policies depended on the geographical and historical context. There was not one unique recipe leading to the development of modern manufacturing.”

    Yes. Time, context, the policies of power, and the vicariousness of chance always matter for us poor Earthlings.

    1. I think J K Galbraith might have been here (in a more general sense) before – ‘The New Industrial State’; 1967. He was describing the surging technology in the US and the rise and rise of the vertically interconnected mega-corporation and the likely changes in industrial manufacturing and labour policies and practices that would follow: the number of those multinational corporations would be small but their political influence would be very great. Seems he knew what he was writing about.

  2. Interesting historical Vox, although I would have thought there should have been some discussion of the future – of how historical factors will not necessarily continue to dictate the future of modern manufacturing.

    Looks as things are already reversing due to technology: one simple example

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-adidas-manufacturing-idUSKCN0YG0X6

    Plus the whole area of “big data” is the engine of the new tech. Control of data has become the central issue. Hardware and human capital have been relegated. As Michael Dell has alluded to many times recently, the ‘Fourth’ Industrial Period /Revolution is almost upon us

    On policy, a very interesting shareholders’ letter from Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan today. In particular, at section III (from page 38) highlights current policy thinking (or at least direction) in the US. Things are certainly changing rapidly (again!). Relevant to the discussion of policy on modern manufacturing. However, that subject is of course very interconnected with other policy debates e.g. international taxation policy, etc

    https://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/investor-relations/document/ar2016-ceolettershareholders.pdf

  3. @Brian Woods Snr,

    He also noted, following Hegel and Marx, that the cost of believing in equilibrium … is to be in an ineluctable march to obsolescence.

    As an adept of the study of slow learners (they haven’t gone away you know!) Blind Biddy suggested that I pass this one by you …

    1. Obliged! That man could surely put the words together: hydrofluoric acid coated in gelatine. His word craft is just lovely to read. Mind you, Thorstein Veblen was no shrinking violet either (more like a thorny briar). Just the acid – no coating. Thanks.

      This from JKG in the final paragraph of the Foreword to ‘American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power’; 1952. It might even be a suitable motto for this site: – “Accordingly, one of the most important and difficult of the responsibilities of the economist is to resist the authority of the accepted.”

  4. I suppose Kevin, academic work like this is a must in your world. However, what does it add to anyone’s understanding of the fundamental economic, social, etc. changes in the world at present? (so why buy the book?). There is a big gap between economics /economic theory and what’s happening on Mainstreet (probably a little less “lost” in the Wall Street context). How does this type of work help anyone understand what is being observed in the world right now – for instance:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/problem-business-usual-jason-clay?trk=v-feed&trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_detail_base%3B1btV692fy%2BTpFHsncKvovw%3D%3D

    Traditional economic thinking appears to be failing to explain much these days. Needs to disrupt itself or be disrupted.

    Apologies for the delay in my “afterthought”, but I am in a much different time zone.

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