BDSWG aims to bring together researchers who use Marxist and heterodox political economy to examine the causes, consequences, incidence and dynamics of state intervention in and across the developed and developing world.
By the late 1980s growing acknowledgement of state intervention in promoting economic development in East Asia encouraged a proliferation of research into what differentiated the more successful variants of East Asian state intervention from other developing countries’ less positive experiences of the role of the state. These approaches represented useful attempts to investigate the economic processes of, and political preconditions for, successful state intervention and spawned the concept of the ‘developmental state’. This notion has subsequently dominated the discourse in favour of state intervention. However, the developmental state literature has tended to proceed in parallel with Marxist perspectives, which have in part focused on the systemic reasons for less successful state intervention in other countries. There is also the issue of whether the state can be ‘autonomous’ as a pre-condition for being developmental, even given that this notion can itself be satisfactorily specified.
BDSWG aims to bring critical yet constructive analyses of the dynamics of state intervention across countries and sectors from Marxist and heterodox perspectives and apply them in relation to the developmental state literature. By doing so it is hoped to bridge the empirical divide across case studies of state intervention and strengthen the theoretical understanding of the nature of the state and the factors behind the interventions it undertakes. It is intended to strengthen an awareness that state intervention of a successful nature can take place outside of the political preconditions often prescribed and/or presumed by the developmental state school – namely state autonomy and authoritarianism.
BDSWG was initiated in July 2008 and, following a number of small meetings amongst those interested, it was agreed to focus initially on six core themes in which BDSWG seeks to establish itself as a leading research forum. This selection of themes is based on addressing the major weaknesses in current research and, by extension, is aimed at opening up new areas for debate and discussion. In the first instance, activity will primarily be informal through internet discussion and sharing of papers. The core research themes are noted below.
Researchers interested in contributing to these areas, via articles, working papers, comments and analysis are invited to contact Jyoti Saraswati at firstname.lastname@example.org
Founding members of the BDSWG presented a panel at the Historical Materialism Annual Conference 2007 titled Development and Systems of Accumulation. Papers included Jyoti Saraswati’s The Indian Software Industry and Neo-Liberalism: The Irony of a Mythology, Vanessa Ushie’s Peculiarities of Accumulation in the Petro-States: The Case of Nigeria and Hajime Sato’s Steel Industry in Asia: Political Economy and Industrial Policy. Papers were also presented at each of the IIPPE International Research Workshops in Crete, 2007, and Naples, 2008.