Since as early as the mid-1970s both the social sciences and the historical studies formulated an interpretation of the industrial hiving off featuring the fordist mode of production and the largest Italian manufacturing firms as a process that stimulated the birth and rise of low-capital intensive and high-labour intensive small-size manufacturing companies and family capitalism, as well as craftsmanship. Such interpretation makes the argument that during the 1970s this model of industrial decentralisation let the Italian big companies restructure their competitive position in foreign market through a reorganisation of production cycles based on cutting labor costs. Therefore, according to this view it was a reorganisation of production lines based on the promotion of mature sectors, family-size companies and low-skilled workforce. Through an exploration of the trade union bargaining conducted by the mechanical and metalworking union federation in the Italian Emilia-Romagna region during the 1970s, this chapter suggests an interpretation of the historical hiving off that took place since that decade in striking contrast with that mainstream interpretation. According to this study the largest manufacturing companies outsourced their production by promoting the creation and rise of average capital-intensive small and mid-size manufacturing firms that employed skilled workers and produced investment goods and fast-innovation products through fast-innovation cycles (i.e. automatic machinery, office machines, numerical control machinery). These small-size firms accounted for a substantial share of the Italian export in the 1970s. Finally, this article examines how in Emilia Romagna the Italian trade unions established a linkage between such internationalisation of small and mid-sized firms and the structural transformation of capital accumulation and industrial production lines featuring the Italian economy during the 1970s.

RECESSIONE ECONOMICA E RISTRUTTURAZIONE INDUSTRIALE. IL SINDACATO EMILIANO NELLA CRISI DEGLI ANNI SETTANTA

SELVA, SIMONE
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2009

Abstract

Since as early as the mid-1970s both the social sciences and the historical studies formulated an interpretation of the industrial hiving off featuring the fordist mode of production and the largest Italian manufacturing firms as a process that stimulated the birth and rise of low-capital intensive and high-labour intensive small-size manufacturing companies and family capitalism, as well as craftsmanship. Such interpretation makes the argument that during the 1970s this model of industrial decentralisation let the Italian big companies restructure their competitive position in foreign market through a reorganisation of production cycles based on cutting labor costs. Therefore, according to this view it was a reorganisation of production lines based on the promotion of mature sectors, family-size companies and low-skilled workforce. Through an exploration of the trade union bargaining conducted by the mechanical and metalworking union federation in the Italian Emilia-Romagna region during the 1970s, this chapter suggests an interpretation of the historical hiving off that took place since that decade in striking contrast with that mainstream interpretation. According to this study the largest manufacturing companies outsourced their production by promoting the creation and rise of average capital-intensive small and mid-size manufacturing firms that employed skilled workers and produced investment goods and fast-innovation products through fast-innovation cycles (i.e. automatic machinery, office machines, numerical control machinery). These small-size firms accounted for a substantial share of the Italian export in the 1970s. Finally, this article examines how in Emilia Romagna the Italian trade unions established a linkage between such internationalisation of small and mid-sized firms and the structural transformation of capital accumulation and industrial production lines featuring the Italian economy during the 1970s.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11574/64226
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