28 August 2019, 17:30 for 18:00-19:30
Venue: Council Chambers, Madibeng Building, Auckland Park, Kingsway Campus, Cnr Kingsway and University Road, Auckland Park
A Public Lecture to be presented by Professor Stefano Ponte, Professor of International Political Economy at the Copenhagen Business School. Professor Ponte is currently also a Distinguished Visiting Professor within the School of Economics of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg.
Disruptive technologies, sustainability management and the changing dynamics of global value chains
Technological and organizational changes have been crucial in transforming the way in which production is organized across time and space. The steam engine in the 19th century made transportation and manufacturing economic in ways that allowed the spatial separation of production from consumption, but for much of the 20th century, production was still organized mostly along vertically integrated firms. By the late 1970s, however, a more flexible and spatially dispersed mode of production had taken hold – based on slicing up production in specific tasks and moving some of these out of the boundary of the firm through external contracting. Information and communication technology in the latter part of the 20th century further facilitated the global outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing activities. This led to the organization of economic activity in ‘global value chains’ that are dispersed globally but governed centrally by ‘lead firms’.
Two main trends are re-shaping the dynamics of global value chains in the early 21stcentury: sustainability management; and disruptive technologies associated with the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. Sustainability management – the practices that corporations put in place to address environmental issues – is reshaping existing spatial, organizational and technological features of production. At the same time, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies are changing the world of work and may push large groups of people off employment. These transformations may entail new economic geographies of production, divisions of labour, and regionalization dynamics – but they may also consolidate existing patterns and power dynamics.
In his public lecture at the University of Johannesburg, Professor Stefano Ponte will explore the possible consequences of these radical changes for the future of business, society and the environment.
Dr Reena das Nair (Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development) will comment on the relevance of the key issues raised in the South African context. This will be done using the examples of technological changes in agricultural value chains and the role of supermarkets in the context of the recent Competition Commission preliminary retail inquiry findings.
Brief Profile of Speaker
Stefano Ponte is Professor of International Political Economy at Copenhagen Business School and director of the Centre for Business and Development Studies. His primary interest lies in transnational economic and environmental governance, with a focus on overlaps and tensions between private governance and public regulation. His work analyzes governance dynamics and economic and environmental upgrading trajectories in global value chains — especially in developing countries and in Africa. He is particularly interested in how sustainability management practices and new technologies shape value chains and with what distributional consequences. Professor Ponte is author or editor of ten books, most recently Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains (Zed Books, 2019) and Handbook on Global Value Chains (editor with Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert, Edward Elgar, 2019). For more information on his work, seewww.stefanoponte.com and/or follow his Twitter account @AfricaBusPol
DATE: Wednesday, 28 August 2019
TIME: 17:30 for 18:00
VENUE: Council Chambers, Madibeng Building, Auckland Park, Kingsway Campus, Cnr Kingsway and University Road, Auckland Park
RSVP: On or before Thursday, 22 August 2019
DRESS CODE: Business/Formal