Edited by Jean L. Pyle and Robert Forrant
Chapter 3: Sustainable Regional Development: Experiences from Slovenia
Tea Petrin, Renata Vitez and Mateja Mesl I. INTRODUCTION In this chapter Slovenia’s current policies for the promotion of enterprise development and competitiveness are examined. Since gaining independence in 1991, up through 1998, the country lacked an explicit enterprise policy to foster national sustainable development. Thus the country’s transition from a socialist economy – one based on social ownership to a fullﬂedged market economy based on private ownership – focused mainly on macroeconomic stabilization. The national government considered this approach as the most important way to encourage economic development. The high social costs of transition were to be met by employment stabilization, with growth and industrial restructuring encouraged through modest and very selective industrial policy measures. However, implementation was partial, unfocused and uncoordinated. Since 1991 Slovenian economic and social development remains hindered by an insuﬃcient capacity among manufacturers to generate higherquality, lower-cost products. We contend that to establish a development environment conducive to sustainable growth, the national government must articulate an industrial policy that at its essence contains a program for enterprise reorganization and competitiveness. Others argue it could involve university expertise (Pyle and Forrant, Chapter 1). A focus on the development of ‘social capital’ is essential: ‘This form of capital, as powerful as physical and human capitals, is the “stock” that is created when a group of organizations develops the ability to work together for mutual productive gain’ (Fountain, 1999, p.85; Putnam, 1993). ‘Social capital’ refers to features of social organization, such as partnerships between universities, research institutions and...
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