Industrialization and Development: A Comparative Analysis

By Ray Kiely | Go to book overview

Chapter Two

Debating industrialization

This chapter is concerned with debates around the relationship between industrialization and development. The case that industrialization is necessary for development is explored, mainly through a critical assessment of the work of one writer, Gavin Kitching. These arguments are then scrutinized by introducing some populist and anti-development objections to the claims of the pro-industry position. In assessing these debates some further consideration of the meaning of development is necessary.

I am not exclusively concerned with arguments of the “Kitching thesis”. Nevertheless, his work is paid considerable attention in this chapter for two reasons: first, it is the best defence of the old growth orthodoxy; second, some of Kitching's contentions, and indeed his omissions, are very useful as an introduction to the debates about industrialization that are taken up in the rest of the book.

These debates are outlined in two main sections. First, the case of the pro-industrializers, and Kitching in particular, is outlined. Second, the views of the critics are considered. Finally, I provide a preliminary summary of the debates, and an argument is made for a case study approach of “actually existing industrialization” (Sutcliffe 1992).


Arguments for industrialization

Gavin Kitching's book Development and underdevelopment in historical perspective (1982) must be situated in the context of specific disputes about development, and his concern to defend the view that “if you want to develop you must industrialize” (Kitching 1982:6). Such a view was commonplace amongst theorists and practioners of “development” in the 1950s and much of the 1960s. Perhaps the most famous advocate, Walt Rostow (1985:21), argued that the transition from a traditional to modern society “can be described legitimately as a rise in the rate of investment to a level which regularly, substantially and perceptibly outstrips population growth”.

However, from the late 1960s onwards such certainties were increasingly challenged on the grounds that industrialization and economic growth were not

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