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Industrialization and Development Strategies in the 21st Century: Towards Sustainable Innovation Systems

Khan, Haider (2013): Industrialization and Development Strategies in the 21st Century: Towards Sustainable Innovation Systems.


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The main purpose of this paper is to explore the possibilities of industrialization and development in the 21st century. With an ongoing global financial and economic crisis with only a tepid recovery at the time of this writing(August 2013) as well as the still unfolding ecological crisis, the 21st century presents an even greater challenge for industrialization in the developing world than the post-WWII period. The changed global economic and ecological environment will shape the emergence of new technological and industrial paradigms and trajectories in significant ways (Dosi 2000, Khan 2004a). However, while the main thesis of this paper argues for a radical rethinking of development and industrialization within an ecological political economy framework in the 21st century, there are still many relevant lessons---positive and negative--- from the post-WWII development and industrialization experiences and discourses. Therefore, the next section focuses on the development and industrialization experiences of the post-WWII period. This section also focuses in particular on the successful Asian economies in order to bring out a number of still relevant insights. Section 3 discusses the problems of industrialization and innovation in the particular 21st century context for China. The problems revealed through this case study can highlight many of the challenges of development, industrialization and innovation in the 21st century. However, it must be pointed out that China is also a special case in many respects and poses some problems for itself and for the smaller developing countries by the strategy of development it has followed so far. The research strategy here is to both avoid the danger of falling into overgeneralization and to emphasize the need for a radical change in both the global economic environment and specific development and industrialization strategies. This is highlighted in section 4 of this paper where the outlines of an alternative development strategy are given.

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