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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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Autarchy, War and Economic Planning (Gian Luca Podestà)

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Gian Luca PODESTÀ

Università degli Studi di Parma

After the great 1933 crisis, the most important Italian iron-and steel industries were united into the Istituto di Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI – Institute for Industrial Reconstruction), the public body managing State shareholdings. In 1934 IRI developed a plan for the global restructuring of the iron-and steel industry, posing the foundations for the start of integrated cycle production (from raw material to the finished product), following the example of the more modern steel industries existing in other countries. The plan, formulated by Oscar Sinigaglia and Agostino Rocca, was opposed by private industrialists (Falck), who claimed that for Italy the best and least expensive way to produce steel was to use the electric furnace and scrap. This latter opinion won the day and Sinigaglia was forced to abandon his plans.

After the sanctions imposed on Italy in 1935 for its aggression against Ethiopia and the start of the autarchy programme, Benito Mussolini was persuaded by the IRI engineers, supported by the military, that the start of integrated cycle production would produce consistent savings and above all that Italy would no longer have to depend on large imports of scrap from abroad (especially from France): in a war economy this factor proved decisive and Mussolini authorised the IRI engineers to implement the plans that had been rejected in 1934.

A special holding was created to manage public iron- and steel industries, called Finsider, first headed by Agostino Rocca...

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