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Dr Ha-Joon Chang delivers the 20th Bradford Development Lecture

Published: Tue 11 Mar 2014

Taking production seriously: Dr Ha-Joon Chang gave the 20th Bradford Development Lecture, calling for a new development discourse.

Dr Chang. The Bradford Development Lectures are a series of lectures given by key practitioners and academics working in the International Development field since 1992. Over the years the lecture has become a prestigious event where prominent figures in the international community present an address on current issues relating to development and human welfare.

‌To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this lecture it was our extraordinary pleasure to present Dr Ha-Joon Chang, from the University of Cambridge. Dr Chang needs no introduction to students and researchers of economic development, or even readers of the Financial Times where his comments have become a regular feature since the onset of the financial crisis.

As we in the Western Europe are obsessed with 'green shoots' of recovery to emerge out of the most recent financial crisis, bigger questions remain on the received wisdom or orthodoxy of development and whether we need a new discourse. In this context, it is appropriate that Dr Ha-Joon Chang chose the topic of 'taking production seriously' for the 20th Bradford Development Lecture on Wednesday 26th February. It is appropriate globally with regard to the nature of development discourse we have and we must be having and it is also appropriate locally given Bradford's heritage of industrial revolution and also its current economic strategy to attract manufacturing employment in the district. The lecture was chaired by the Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor and was attended by over 120 individuals including academic and administrative staff, students, and guests from the Bradford Council and also Bradford Chamber of Commerce. Dr Chang used a number of anecdotes from history to highlight how we tend to ignore or disregard industrial sector be it in the way we think about countries such as Switzerland or Singapore or in thinking about promoting enterprises in developing countries. Using the data on self-employment as a proxy for enterprise Dr Chang suggested that in many developing countries entrepreneurship is already a dynamic fact of economic life.

Dr Changs lecture.

In the Q and A session a number of students asked questions including on the role of new economic thinkers who are bringing heterodox perspectives, on the trade-off between spending on defence versus education, and on the issue of different forms of corruption and its impact on development.

The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offered at special price several of Dr Chang's books and those who got them were thrilled to get the signature of Dr Chang.

The staff and students of the Bradford Centre for International Development were delighted and relieved that the event went well. However, some of them have already begun to worry as to how we can match this as we start planning the 21st Development Lecture in about a year's time. If you have suggestions of a potential speaker do please get in touch with Dr PB Anand.

For more details, including a full video of the lecture, see the 20th Bradford Development Lecture page.

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