Study on a “Global Progressive Industrial Policy”

Call for papers

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung intends to start a new long term project on industrial policy in the Global South. Everywhere around the world national markets get more and more integrated into global value chains, however much too often creating structures of exploitation and valuation of local resources that remain enclaves or contribute little to a comprehensive economic development. As the Brussels office of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, we have been looking into this issue in Europe, so far. Large parts of Southern and Eastern Europe have been degraded to simple assembly lines of the “German-Central European Supply Chain” (IMF Country Report No. 13/263) with only little hope for climbing up the ladder.

European capital is pursing the same strategy inside and outside the EU: divide and rule – cutting down productions into ever smaller pieces which can get easily produced and assembled everywhere in the “neighborhood” of the EU. The same wage dumping and union crashing enterprises that work in the poorer parts of the EU also work in the parts of South-Eastern Europe that are not (yet) part of the EU and on the southern rim of the Mediterranean Sea. Other regions of the world have been largely reduced to providers of mineral and natural resources, creating and leaving behind social, economic and environmental disasters.

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Brussels office, is interested in working on industrial policy in favor of the masses in the EU and the Global South for two reasons:

For some years now we are working on free trade issues*. Most prominently on TTIP but also on the impact TTIP will have on the rest of the world. We perceive that one objective of TTIP for the EU and the US is to maintain a strategic advantage over the rising powers of the Global South.

We understand a progressive national industrial policy as a means of creating room to maneuvre for polities, people and national governments. While this is common understanding, we see the need for further discussion and analysis under the new circumstances created by global value chains, BRICS and volatile currency markets.

Japan and the “Tiger” states in (South) Eastern Asia, China and in parts the rest of the BRICS have proven that economic advancement has been possible. However, the capitalist world was different, when “Tiger” states rose in the 1960s-80s. Fordistic production was possible in a closed economy. Today, we assume this is not the case anymore. The most pressing question seems to be how a country can develop an own industry in times of FTAs and global value chains. Under these circumstances, finished products are not produced in one country and exported later on in more or less one piece. Today’s enterprises are rather integrated with their upstream-products in continuously shifting value generating networks.

In the past, rising economies used currency devaluation, based on land reforms and sufficient internal food supply, as one of their main strategic means. Is devaluation still a policy option for some countries?
In summary, the question is: How can a country or region develop its own industry (which in our understanding does not mean export orientation per se) being confronted with the structural challenges of 21st century oligopolistic global value chains oriented capitalism?

We would like to ask the author to concentrate on the following questions – understanding that not all can be answered in equal depth:

1. Content (to be made public by publication)
a. How can a country strengthen its internal value creation under the current free trade regime and value chain structure?
b. What strategic role can devaluing the currency play as a policy option to enable (re-)industrialisation?
c. Which industrial policy models seem to be successful to focus on climate and sustainability questions, so to reduce environmentally damaging processes to the minimum?
d. Which models of (re-)industrialisation are socially inclusive, allowing social movements and trade unions play a decisive moment in the development of planning and redistribution?
e. How can FDIs be controlled to assure that they develop forward and backward linkages in the respective economy?
f. Are cartels or sector boards helpful, and what role can regional blocks play (positively and negatively)? What role can international alliances play (like Global South with Southern EU)? Which changes should be advocated by lesser developed countries at the UNO?
g. The competition between BRICS and the catching up economies of the South often seems more intensive than the conflict between the old industrial economies and the Global South. How can nevertheless South-South trade and solidarity help the common people of the Global South
h. How far should the focus be on appropriate industrialisation, which focuses on labor intensive products, including handicrafts and handmade products?

2. Strategic knowledge for the project (this section will not be published)
a. What scholars, activist scholars and organisations (international like UNCTAD, national and from the civil society) may be cooperation partners for our project? Which international fora, meetings of civil society and international organisations would be relevant to attend and to support?
b. Where are overlapping discourses to other social movements and their concerns, like food sovereignty?
c. What are relevant research questions and what should a long term project by a leftist organisation focus and aim at?
d. What campaigns worldwide are potential allies for such a program?
e. What would be the relevant points of interventions in the international political system on different scales?

Technical information:

Language of the papers: English

Length of the study: ca. 90.000 characters, ca. 30 pages

Please state the remuneration proposed and if you are VAT exempt (only applicable for EU residents)

Please send applications by email to Claus-Dieter König (xbravt@ebfnyhk.qr) and Roland Kulke (, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Brussels.

Applications should include a CV and an abstract of not less than two pages.

The tender was published on 25th July 2016. The final deadline will be 21st August 2016 and the result will be announced on 26th August 2016.

A first draft should be send to us on 15th October 2016.

The text must be sent in its entirety by 15th November 1016.

* See our relevant publications: The expected impact of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement; The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). A charter for deregulation, an attack on jobs, an end to democracy; TTIP – Why the World Should Beware