Intelligent Manufacturing and Socio-Economic Rebalancing in China – Changing Production Networks, Work and Industrial Relations

Lecture by Boy Lüthje at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung

The lecture will explore the transformation of the Chinese model of capitalism in the context of the accelerated introduction of advanced digitalized manufacturing, proposed by the Chinese Government in its report “Made in China 2025” and in various documents related to China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. Based on current field studies in the Pearl-River Delta, we examine prospective pathways of industrial transformation related to the predominant regimes of production in core manufacturing industries. We can assume that a distinctive Chinese pathway into intelligent manufacturing is emerging from this context, which is different from concepts and strategies in advanced industrial economies, such as Germany’s “Industry 4.0” or the “Advanced Manufacturing Initiative” in the U.S. The Chinese trajectory seems to be based on a specific combination of automation of vast manufacturing infrastructures with mostly low- to medium-tech products and processes with relatively low wages on the one hand, and a rapidly evolving, highly innovative sector of Internet-based business-to-business and business-to-consumer services and platforms on the other. The talk will explore research perspectives and public policy issues with regard to relevant theories in the field of global production networks, regulation, production politics.

Boy Lüthje holds the Volkswagen Endowed Chair for Industrial Relations and Social Development at the School of Government of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China. His recent publications include From Silicon Valley to Shenzhen: Global production and work in the IT industry (Rowman & Littlefield 2013, with Stephanie Hürtgen, Peter Pawlicki and Martina Sproll) and Beyond the iron rice bowl. Regimes of production and industrial relations in China (Campus 2013, with Siqi Luo and Zhang Hao).

Comment by Kristin Shi-Kupfer, head of MERICS’ research on politics, society and the media. She is an expert on media policy, civil society, religious policy and ideology in China. From 2007 to 2011 she was the China correspondent for various German-language media in Beijing, P.R. China.

Moderation: Martin Krzywdzinski, head of the Project Group “Globalization, Work and Production” at the WZB.

This event is part of the WZB lecture series Great Crisis of Capitalism - A Second Great Transformation?

To register, please reply by November 16, 2016 to Marion Obermaier/Stefanie Roth: buero.usp(at)wzb(dot)eu

The WZB provides child care during the lecture. If you are interested, please respond by November 10, indicating the number of children and their age, to Friederike Theilen-Kosch: friederike.theilen-kosch(at)wzb(dot)eu