European Industrial Policy: The Twentieth-Century Experience

By James Foreman-Peck; Giovanni Federico | Go to book overview

1
Industrial Policies in Europe: Introduction

GIOVANNI FEDERICO AND JAMES FOREMAN-PECK

Universita di Pisa, University of Oxford

At the end of the twentieth century, Europe confronts a range of industrial challenges. The integration of Eastern Europe with the West, indeed the very definition of 'European' and the boundaries of Europe, are perhaps the most fundamental in the long run. But more immediate are the potential consequences of a core group of states linked by a common currency, while industry in other Union states gains competitive advantages from exchange-rate depreciation. Divergences between 'regional' European economies within or outside such a currency area could be equally problematic. Moreover slow industrial growth coupled with real wage rigidity has allowed unemployment in all Member States to reach levels not experienced since the 1930s.

Policy responses at the European level can be distinguished as either concerned with 'widening' or with 'deepening'. 'Deepening' is advancing legal and regulatory changes to create a genuine domestic market for European companies and workers. 'Widening' the European market entails spreading the benefits of economic integration to cover new applicants to the Union and the reform countries of Central Europe. Global economic cooperation--avoiding trade wars-- must also find a place on the agenda of 'widening'.

Among 'deepeners', interventionist industrial policies are often presented as remedies; under the Maastricht Treaty for the first time the European Union was granted industrial policy powers. Yet for others concerned with policy, they are part of the problem. In particular, the recent drive for a European Single Market has exacerbated concerns about the fairness of competition between firms in participating states. Long-standing differences in national industrial policies have made for conflict in the past and make agreement difficult today. Businesses question why competitors should be supported by subsidies, by national standards to which products and services must conform, or by a depreciated exchange rate, merely because they are located in a particular region of the European market. They contend that the 'playing field' should be levelled either upwards, by giving the same support to all competing European companies, or downward, by removing the props from them all. Simultaneously the European growth miracle has faded, amid concerns of techological backwardness, labour costs above even those in the United States and de-motivatingly high tax rates.

Ironically Europe, broadly interpreted to include the East and Russia, is now returning to the market economies that were the rule until 1917. A century ago we see a substantially integrated European market, in which passports were not

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European Industrial Policy: The Twentieth-Century Experience
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • List of Tables xiii
  • List of Figures xvi
  • 1: Industrial Policies in Europe: Introduction 1
  • References 15
  • 2: Britain: From Economic Liberalism to Socialism--And Back? 18
  • References 53
  • 3: France: The Idiosyncrasies of Volontarisme 58
  • References 94
  • 4: Germany: The Invention of Interventionism 98
  • References 118
  • 5: Italy: Stalling and Surpassing 124
  • References 146
  • 6: Sweden: The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model 152
  • References 174
  • 7: The Netherlands: The History of an Empty Box? 177
  • References 192
  • 8: Belgium: Liberalism by Default 194
  • 9: Ireland: From Inward to Outward Policies 215
  • References 231
  • 10: Spain: Industrial Policy under Authoritarian Politics 233
  • References 263
  • 11: Portugal: Industrialization and Backwardness 268
  • References 292
  • 12: Greece: From Rent-Seeking Protectionism to Direct Intervention 295
  • References 316
  • 13: Russia: A Comparative Economic Systems Interpretation 319
  • Appendix 372
  • References 387
  • 14: A Cultural Theory of Industrial Policy 398
  • References 424
  • 15: European Industrial Policy: An Overview 426
  • References 458
  • Index 461
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