The Impact on Industry and Competitiveness
Chapter 1: Introduction
Two significant trends characterize the recent evolution of the world economy. The first of these is the increased globalization of economic activity. The second is growing concern, particularly in the advanced industrialized countries, over the environment. This latter trend has led to a tightening of environmental regulation within the OECD countries and international efforts to resolve global environmental problems. This book explores the implications of these two trends and the potential conflicts to which they give rise, with a particular focus on the North-South dimensions. The concept of globalization itself is much debated. The sense in which it is used here follows the definition of economic globalization used by the OECD, which sees it as ‘a process in which the structures of economic markets, technologies, and communication patterns become progressively more international over time’ (OECD, 1997, p. 7). A corollary of this is that competition becomes increasingly based on the world market rather than on the markets of individual nation states. Despite the fact that there is considerable debate over both the extent of globalization and its consequences, the growth of international trade, the expansion of transnational corporations and the increased interconnections of financial markets are all indicative of a process which has significant implications for national economies and global change (cf. Rodrik, 1997; Sachs, 1998). Associated with globalization has been a significant shift in the proportion of world industrial production which is accounted for by the countries of the South. Although the bulk of the world’s industrial production continues...