The industrialisation of everything
in Imperialism and the development myth
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Historically, industrialisation has been seen as a virtual definition of development in both bourgeois and Marxist literature. During the neoliberal period, China and other Third World states rapidly expanded the local presence of certain industries and aspects of industries that had historically been central to imperialist monopoly – such as coal, steel and autos – leading many Marxists to believe that China is dislodging imperialist economic power. However, it is necessary, with Marx, to distinguish first between manufacturing and assembly, on the one hand, and from true industrial production, on the other. Further, industrialisation in the modern era is no longer limited to the production process alone – something long anticipated by Marx. Today ‘services’, logistics, data analysis, the organisation of work and all manner of professional labour are increasingly subject to both mechanisation and scientific organisation. That is to say, these too are being industrialised. In this context, even if it were the case that certain historical industries, such as certain standard manufacturing, came to be dominated by the poor countries, this would not signal imperial decline any more than it is signified by the shift of the centre of textile manufacture from Manchester to Bangladesh and China.

Imperialism and the development myth

How rich countries dominate in the twenty-first century

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