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There should be no danger of tendencies towards standardizations and homogenization of the previous pattern, as long as further steps in the process of European integration would be such as to reproduce, within Europe, the same environments, from the institutional and regulatory points of view, that presently prevail within the national states.

The second main conclusion is that, although differences in modes of production and consumption and the processes through which new differences emerge have, beyond any doubt, to do with the emerging, and sometimes with the diffusion of innovative and dynamic patterns, it has not been possible to establish a clear cut causal correlation between those phenomena. The correlation appears to be more stochastic than mechanical, and at the same time the way in which differences and processes of differentiation induce or elicit innovative patterns appears to respond more to some sort of biological scheme than to chemical or mechanical ones. From this a general observation can be drawn. The pursuing of extreme of competition is something which has to be handled with care. Competition is often pursued for the sake of the allocative efficiency it would bring, but analysis tends to show that this is not always the case. In many cases an excess of competition tends to produce a static and ephemeral efficiency, while the control of competition and the active pursing of various forms of alliances and cooperations tends to induce processes which are conductive to more efficiency in the longer run. The consequences of this concerning the need to establish an overall articulated European industrial policy are quite evident.

The worrying risk that has to be emphasized is that further steps in the process of European integration might induce strong tendencies to the re-emerging of strong nationalisms, both in terms of defensive attitude towards institutional and cultural patterns and towards the protection of domestic economic activities. Given the European regulatory framework and its imminent extensions, the risk is run in terms of the invention of new forms of hidden protection and support, that would unavoidably produce dangerous pressures.

European citizens and companies have to be guaranteed common opportunitiesin terms of basic infrastructural usages. This need concerns both citizens and firms. Other services are of social importance, but they have indirect effects on the economic performance. Should this need not be felt as a primary concern upon which to base a reliable medium run European programme, pressures towards nationalisms, and consequent forms of protection or compensation, would be likely to emerge and to gain strength.


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6200 MD Maastricht

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Rue Blaise Pascal 4
67070 Strasbourg

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University of Sussex
United Kingdom
Sussex House Falmer
BN1 9RH Brighton

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