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Les mutations de la sidérurgie mondiale du XXe siècle à nos jours / The Transformation of the World Steel Industry from the XXth Century to the Present

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Edited By Charles Barthel, Ivan Kharaba and Philippe Mioche

La sidérurgie a joué un rôle moteur dans l’éclosion du monde industrialisé moderne. Quoique son importance relative par rapport à l’ensemble des économies globalisées soit aujourd’hui en recul, il n’en demeure pas moins que, grâce à un processus d’adaptation permanente aux nouvelles données d’un environnement qui change de plus en plus rapidement, elle occupe toujours une place de choix. Aussi ses innombrables implications technologiques, commerciales, politiques, diplomatiques, culturelles et sociales font-elles apparaître l’utilité de faire le point sur deux siècles de mutations dans une démarche comparative à vocation essentiellement historique, mais également ouverte à d’autres disciplines.
Changes in the world steel industry have been faster in the late twentieth century than in all previous periods. The Transformation of the World Steel Industry from the Twentieth Century to the Present aims to scientifically describe and study the transformations which occurred in all areas of that industry. Its positioning in the contemporary period allows a multidisciplinary and comparative reflection about the origins and forms of these technological, commercial, political, diplomatic, cultural and social changes.
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The Steel Industry in a Nutshell: from Falck to the “Mini-mills” (Valerio Varini)

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Valerio VARINI

Università degli studi Milano Bicocca

The Italian steel industry can be divided in two large groups, based on a prevalent territorial division, which in time took on a differentiation in terms of ownership – one mainly privately owned, the other state controlled.1 Traditional Alpine steelmaking2 existed throughout the North, while further South, particularly in coastal areas, the other, Tyrrhenian, component prospered – a division that became more marked in the course of the last century. The Alpine component was mainly concentrated in the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont. In Lombardy most of the steel mills were located in the valleys and in the towns at their Southern ends; in neighbouring Piedmont, except for some specific areas, the industry was dominated by Fiat.3 Steelmaking in Lombardy suffered a gradual decline in the course of the 19th century and risked losing out to the more innovative steel mills elsewhere in Europe. Around the turn of the 20th century major technological innovations in the fragmented panorama of Alpine manufacturers, enabled some of the larger businesses to assert themselves and display strong leadership in the industry. This had a profound effect on the two national steel industries, where the coastal component tended towards an integrated production cycle, while the Alpine component increasingly adopted “solid charge”, namely iron scrap.4 Following the economic crisis ← 103 | 104 → in the early 1930s, when IRI was founded, this sectorial dualism was accentuated by different kinds of governance, one based on family ownership, the other on...

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