Socio-Cultural Innovation at Work
Industrial and Innovation Policies in the European Union. Matteo Lucchese and Mario Pianta
139 Industrial and Innovation Policies in the European Union Matteo Lucchese and Mario Pianta The crisis of 2008 – that started as a financial crisis in the US – has invested Europe with a prolonged recession and with waves of speculative attacks against the countries on the “periphery” of Europe – Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy – with high public debt and low growth. For European economies this has meant high unemployment and a process of restructuring that has accelerated with the introduction in most countries – and in particular in those of the “periphery” – of austerity plans centred on the reduction of public expenditures, privatisations and the worsening of wages and working conditions. The aftermath of the crisis in Europe will depend on the forces at work in reshaping its economy. The dominant players, so far, are large firms with international systems of production, operating in the pursuit of short term profits, market power, financial rents. Their responses to the crisis so far have included drastic downsizing and plant closing; reduction of R&D, innovation and investment; concentration of production in the areas of greater strength and in the sectors of core businesses; consolidation and acquisitions, leading to more oligopolistic market structures; a further wave of international relocation of production towards industrialising countries with cost advantages and a large potential for growth in domestic mar- kets. Their decisions – in manufacturing and well as in services – affect the pos- sibility of economic recovery, the viability of suppliers and local economies, the opportunities for employment, professional qualifications...
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