Is Industrialization still possible in the 21st century?

Inaugural lecture by Professor Lindsay Whitfield, MSC

Fredag, 29 april, 2022 - 14:00 to 16:00
Venue: DH.V.1.89 in Dalgas Have. Registration here (deadline: 27 April).

Lindsay Whitfield


On 29 April, Professor Lindsay Whitfield will give her inaugural lecture at MSC with the title 'Is Industrialization still possible in the 21st century?'



14.00 - 14.05 - Welcome by Head of Department Dorte Salskov-Iversen

14.05 - 14.10 - Welcome by Dean of Research Søren Hvidkjær

14.10 - 15.00 - Inaugural lecture by Lindsay Whitfield

15.00 - 16.00 - MSC hosts a reception in the Faculty Club (ground floor)

Is Industrialization still possible in the 21st century?

It is likely that most, if not all, of the clothes that you put on everyday were produced in the Global South. Fabric, buttons, zippers, and other accessories are fabricated and assembled into clothing, largely in Asian countries, and shipped to global brands and retailers in the US, Europe and Japan for you to purchase. It is commonly known that textile was at the forefront of the industrial revolution in England and that all countries that have industrialized started with the clothing industry.


Today, low-income countries that are still in the process of industrializing are encouraged to start apparel industries through foreign direct investment and export through global production networks. But global production networks fragment the industrial processes that historically underpinned industrialization and resulted in wealth and a higher standard of living, and the proliferation of countries producing clothing has saturated global markets. My inaugural lecture asks whether the clothing industry can still drive industrialization in the 21st century. The argument is no, not in its current form, which leads to a second question: is industrialization still possible then?


Lindsay Whitfield is Professor of Business and Development in the Department of Management, Society and Communication at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. She is a political economist whose research focuses on contemporary challenges to economic development. Her research combines theories within development economics with political science and economic history and emphasizes how processes of economic development take place within, and cannot be understood separate from, the global economy.


She joined CBS after ten years at Roskilde University and worked previously at the Danish Institute for International Studies and the University of Oxford. Currently, she leads the research project Decent Work and Global Value Chain-based Industrialization in Ethiopia (2020-2025), funded by the Danish Development Research Council (FFU), which continues research pioneered in her previous project African-owned Firms Building Capabilities in Global Value Chains (2016-2019), funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (FSE). Her books include Economies after Colonialism: Ghana and the Struggle for Power (2018), The Politics of African Industrial Policy: A Comparative Perspective (2015), and The Politics of Aid: African Strategies for Dealing with Donors (2009).


Organised by the Department of Management, Society and Communication, Dalgas Have 15, 2000 Frederiksberg,, +45 3815 3288.