Successful industrialization projects have often begun with great debates over the definition of a new development model. This panel brings together historical arguments with contemporary controversies over industrialization strategies to explore how old insights speak to today's challenges.
The attempt of countries to industrialize comprises the aim to change the organization of production, the material living conditions of the domestic population and the relation of the national economy to its regional and international counterparts. Successful cases of industrialization have typically begun by establishing a new economic model as target for the medium or long-term development. The formulation of such a target model is a politically highly contested process that has spurred great debates over the direction and feasibility of different approaches to development at critical junctures after a change of power. Examples of such great debates include the Soviet industrialization debate of the 1920s, the social market economy debate in post-WWII Western Germany, the great reform debate in China in the 1980s and the on-going debate over 'post-neoliberal' models in several South American countries. This panel invites contributions which investigate historical or contemporary cases in which countries facing the challenge of industrialization have engaged in fundamental debates over the direction, means and feasibility of industrial development. By bringing together research on these debates in different historical settings we hope to improve our understanding of the role of intellectual arguments in the political process of defining development paths. We intend to discuss recurring themes and ways of reasoning that reflect the position of these countries in relation to the global economy as well as their perception of policy space.