Conversion Survey, 1998: Global Disarmament, Defense Industry Consolidation and Conversion

By Bonn International Center For Conversion | Go to book overview

What experience tells us
While variations between regions make it difficult to successfully apply one region's lessons to another's problems, experience to date provides for some steadfast generalizations:
Pure defense dependence does not tell the whole story. A region's economic make-up, its ability to retain skilled labor, and the initiative of local authorities can all factor into a positive and effective response.
It is better to act earlier than later--no region has benefited from 'waiting it out.'
Many successful programs have effectively combined a range of resources--from local initiative to central government or even extra-governmental support--to maximize their reach and potential for success.
Clarity in national government policy can prompt regional actors to take proactive roles in smoothing adjustment.
Labor market flexibility in a time of sectoral decline is an important ingredient of successful transition, though can also drain a region of valuable workers and skills.
Job creation or retention is an important objective of regional adjustment initiatives. However, in some regions this has meant the acceptance of lower-skill, lower-wage and often part-time jobs. The downstream effects of this are still unclear.
In some communities, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, the nascent authority of regional actors and the newness of NGO and labor activity is hindering the regional response. More assistance should be directed at building the capacity of local actors in these regions.
External support has been a crucial lifeline in several cases of regional adjustment. However, it should be structured in such a way as to build local capacity rather than reinforce patterns of dependence.

References
ACEC. See: Arizona Council for Economic Conversion.
Arizona Council for Economic Conversion. 1997. Mission statement and description of work program. Tucson, Arizona.
Baker, Gerard. 1997. "Regions Ride the US Economic Upswing." Financial Times, 18 September, p. 7.
BICC. See: Bonn International Center for Conversion.
Bischak, Greg. 1997. US Conversion After the Cold War, 1990-1997: Lessons for Forging a New Conversion Policy. Brief 9. Bonn: BICC, July.
Bonn International Center for Conversion. 1996. Conversion Survey 1996: Global Disarmament, Demilitarization and Demobilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Braddon, Derek and Paul Dowdall. 1996. "Flexible Networks and the Restructuring of the Regional Defence Industrial Base: The Case of South West England." Defence and Peace Economics, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 47-59.
Brömmelhörster, Jörn. 1994. Ökonomie der Konversion: Wirkungen, Barrieren und Erfordernisse für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Frankfurt/ New York: Campus Verlag.
_____. 1997. KONVER II. Konversionsförderung durch die Europäische Union. Fostering of Conversion by the European Union. Report 9. Bonn: BICC, March.
Butterwege, Christoph. 1995. "Rüstungskonversion als regionalpolitische Strategie." WSI Mitteilungen. No. 11, pp. 12-39.
Commission of the European Communities. 1992. The Economic and Social Impact of Reductions in Defence Spending and Military Forces on the Regions of the Community. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
De Roland Penanros. 1997a. "Crisis and Conversion in the French Arms Industry: National and Regional Aspects." In R. F. Dundervill Jr. et al., eds. Defense Conversion Strategies. NATO ASI Series 1, Vol. 9. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 431-438.
_____. 1997b. "Restructuring and Conversion of the French Arms Industry in Early-1997: A Work that is Finally Underway!" Paper prepared for the Conference on Conversion of Defense Industries and Regional Economic Interests. Bonn, 6-7 March.

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