Long Waves and Techno-economic Paradigms: Assessing the Future of Work in the Indian Automotive Industry

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2019)


There has been much discussion on the dynamics of Kondratieff cycles or long waves under capitalism in understanding the socio-institutional transformative dimensions of radical innovations. Such widespread changes have been argued to consolidate as a new techno-economic paradigm, which gradually replaces the previous one. The first question this presentation raises is whether the contemporary changes in the wider automotive industry will lead to transformations that could collectively and cumulatively constitute a new techno-economic paradigm. The second more relevant question for this presentation is what are the forces that facilitate or constrain diffusion of such socio-technical changes in late industrializing countries such as India. Analytically, late industrialization is distinguished from early industrialization not just temporally but also contextually whereby the world economy is different for late industrializers compared to that experienced by early industrializers. These differences suggest that the diffusion process of innovations will be different even as some convergence in technologies take place. But what is central to this presentation is assessing the anticipated nature of employment in the Indian automotive industry under the new techno-economic paradigm. Given that it has somewhat narrowed the gap in automotive production capabilities through substantial investment, I argue that the diffusion of the new techno-economic paradigm will be highly uneven and disruptive and thus the diffusion process piece-meal.

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