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Content archived on 2024-04-16

The future of industry in Europe


Strategic concepts for the future of industry in Europe have to reconsider the notion of growth and competiveness. Growth will not be achieved by more of the same, but by new products, contributing to the solution of societal needs. Competitiveness will not be achieved by strategies of automation but by reorganizing production structures. Endeavours to regain a competitive edge will have to focus on the potentials of social organization. What is required in the end is a new understanding of division of labour and cooperation of social, political and economic actors to overcome the mismatches between growth and employment, societal needs and economic rationality, isles of growth and a sea of poverty.

The following policy recommendations can be formulated as a result of the research: reshaping of the welfare state; European initiatives for high productivity; an initiative for intelligent, anthropocentric production systems; the Commission of the European Communities should establish centres of excellence for research which necessitate broad interdisplinary approaches and integration of scientific knowledge and practical experience; reorganizing of the Community's research and technical development policy; initiation of a new technoculture; introduction of dynamic regulation on environment; environmental targeting of public procurement; initiation of European research and development programme for an environmental industry.

In order to support diversification of industry to new activities and new markets. The Commission of the European Communities should introduce the following measures: financial support for declining industry should only be given under the condition that the relevant firms offer a programme for the development of new business and the creation of new jobs for the workers. National subsidies should be subject to the same condition; public support for development of technology should be linked to the condition that research and development activit ies are combined with activities for development of new products and new markets; the Commission should create a programme for financial support of development of new markets by means of venture capital and long term loans. In order to develop new markets and new economic opportunities, the Commission of the European Communities should establish networks for sociotechnological diversification. It should strongly support collaboration among small and medium sized enterprises and large enterprises. It should initiate collaborative networks as nuclei for the development of poor regions.


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Wissenschaftszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen - Institut für Arbeit und Technik
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Munscheidstrasse 14
45886 Gelsenkirchen

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