Radical Perspectives on Industrial Policy

Ashman, Sam; Newman, Susan and Tregenna, Fiona (2020). Radical Perspectives on Industrial Policy. In: Oqubay, Arkebe; Cramer, Christopher and Chang, Ha-Joon eds. The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


This chapter surveys, evaluates, and develops radical perspectives on industrial policy. We examine the differences between mainstream and heterodox approaches to economic and industrial development, and we look at the similarities and differences between structuralist and Marxist approaches. We argue that Marx’s concern is not with sectors but with value and the overall circuit of capital. Radical industrial policy foregrounds class and capitalism, and integrates a distinctive conception of the state. We argue further that radical industrial policy operates at two levels, the analytical and the prescriptive, and we use the climate crisis to illustrate our argument. Radical industrial policy has broad objectives, including fundamentally altering productive structures and dynamics towards labour-centred development. Finally, we briefly survey some experiences of radical industrial policy, loosely dividing them between statist, co-operative, and participatory planning approaches. We also reflect on the limits of industrial policy, especially under globalized and financialized capitalism.

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