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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


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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Crisis and Transformation of the Steel Industry in the Border Region of Saarland and Luxembourg in the 1970s (Veit Damm)



Universität des Saarlandes

The steel industry had and has an enormous economic, political and social significance as a taxpayer and employer in the Luxembourg-Saarland border region.1 It still used to be a mono-industrial coal and steel region in the early 1970s. The slowdown of the economic growth rates after the post-war boom and the oil price shocks of 1973 and 1979 were the starting point of a period of crises and transformation in the steel industry in all Western industrial countries.2 In addition, in all Western industrial countries the growth rates of steel demand decreased since the end of the post-war boom. Until the year 1970 there was a parallel development of the growth of the gross national product (GNP) and the growth of the steel ← 163 | 164 → demand. This elasticity disappeared until 1985. The growth of the GNP in the industrial countries became independent from the steel demand.3 At the same time capacities of producers increased and new competitors appeared on the world market especially from East Asian countries like South Korea. Thus the steel markets became more crowded. More competition resulted in price crises especially after 1974 and after 1982. Prices for European steel products dropped extremely after 1974 and also from 1979 to 1982.4

The steel industry of the Saar-Lor-Lux-region was hit very hard by the economic changes, especially the two biggest producers Aciéries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange SA (Arbed) of Luxembourg and Röchling5 of the...

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