Edited by Roger Sugden, Rita Hartung Cheng and G. Richard Meadows
Chapter 10: The global economy and manufacturing: the case of Wisconsin
10. The global economy and manufacturing: the case of Wisconsin Donald A. Nichols* 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter illustrates and explores the situation facing a traditional manufacturing area looking to prosper in the modern global economy. Its focus is the state of Wisconsin in the US but, at least in its broad terms, the situation faced by that state is not unique in the world. Readers who are particularly concerned about other localities are likely to identify aspects of WisconsinÕs past, present and future mirrored and encountered elsewhere. I briefly sketch how globalisation and technology have affected WisconsinÕs manufacturing sector, and I note some of the challenges these forces will pose in the future. While WisconsinÕs manufacturing sector is quite diverse, I give most of my attention to the large and volatile machinery industry, which provides over half of WisconsinÕs exports and which is the sector most sensitive to export fluctuations and import competition. Different industries face different problems and opportunities, of course, but the effects of globalisation and technology are likely to be quite similar across WisconsinÕs major exporting industries. My intent is to provide an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that Wisconsin manufacturing will face in the new economy. The two features of the new economy that I emphasise are a) it is global; and b) it has been Ð and is being Ð reorganised by technological progress, and in particular by developments in information technology. The interplay of these two forces will change the...
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