Technology, Trade, and Survival in a Global Market
The steel industry occupies a strategic position in the global economy. Steel is a major, heavily traded commodity whose availability is necessary for worldwide economic development. Yet, with the introduction of new technologies and producers, particularly China, the industry has become volatile. Prices fluctuate, the industry is vulnerable to oversupply, and the cost structure encourages volatile prices.
Big Steel explores how the integrated steel industry is adapting to trade and international competition. The unexpected merger of the world’s two largest steelmakers, Arcelor and Mittal, portends massive consolidation as a strategy to diversify markets and stabilize a globalizing industry. Daniel Madar examines the industry’s tactical and strategic responses and the repercussions of innovation from various vantage points, including cost structures and technology, export pricing strategies, the economics of trade protection, and Paul Krugman’s Nobel Prize-winning explanation of industrial diffusion and trade. Along with the survival strategies of consolidation and protectionism, Madar considers close co-operation between steelmakers and their primary customers, the automakers.
Presented in a straightforward, non-technical manner, this book describes how one strategic industry has adapted to powerful technological and structural changes, ushering in a new phase in the global steel business.
Big Steel explores an industry that has been in near continual transformation for a generation or more and captures the shape and structure of these changes. Perhaps even more significantly, it makes the case that developments in the new millennium denote a new phase in the global steel business, which portends even more dramatic changes of behaviour and performance.
Daniel Madar is a professor of political science at Brock University and author of Heavy Traffic: Deregulation, Trade, and Transformation in North American Trucking.
2 A Tough Industry
3 Prices, Preferences, and Strategy
4 Trading Steel
6 Steel in a Global Perspective
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