REMARC Seminar “World Development under Monopoly Capitalism”

World Development under Monopoly Capitalism: Reflections on the World Bank’s ‘Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains’.

The World Development Report 2020 asserts that global value chains (GVCs) raise productivity and incomes, create better jobs and reduce poverty.  In this talk Benjamin Selwyn uses the Report’s own evidence to show how GVCs concentrate wealth, exacerbate inequalities and create many bad jobs (characterised by low pay, dangerous working conditions, and high rates of labour exploitation). He argues that the mis-match between the Report’s claims about the benefits of GVC inclusion and its evidence stems from its use of comparative advantage trade theory to explain GVC relations. The theory’s core assumptions are based on notions of perfect competition, but are incompatible with the realities of GVCs. In GVCs mostly Northern oligopolistic lead firms capture value from mostly Southern suppliers and workers.  Heterodox conceptions of monopoly capital help explain how GVCs concentrate wealth, exacerbate inequalities, and exploit labour – with negative consequences for developing countries.

Biography of the presenter:

Benjamin Selwyn is full professor of International Development and International Relations in the department of International Relations, University of Sussex, UK. He conducted his PhD research in the early 2000s in North East Brazil, investigating the relations between global value chains, export agriculture and worker welfare. His main research interests are in the broad field of global development, with a special focus on questions of global value chains and development, labour and development, food, agriculture and sustainable development, and theories of development. He is the author of over 40 academic articles and book chapters, and three books: Workers, State and Development in Brazil (2012), The Global Development Crisis (2014) and The Struggle for Development (2017). He is currently working on his next book, a co-written venture, provisionally entitled World Development under Monopoly Capitalism.

To enter the seminar online room please use this link from your browser. There is no need for you to download MSTeams. If you experience problems in entering the room, please contact elisa.giuliani at Thank you.

Starting Time

15:00 CEST

October 28, 2021

Ending Time

16:00 CEST

October 28, 2021


Pisa (online)