chapter  3
29 Pages

Industries and firms

From the previous chapters is taken the idea of concentration as something that has happened widely in the process of development, and which has a positive value in this process, as observed in the newly industrialized and developed countries. Other ideas are those of the appropriate and changing industrial mix, the limiting or helping role of the state, and the varying fate of regions in the process. Such ideas are, however, of a process viewed in general, at a macroeconomic or national scale, without any examination of the role of individuals, firms or industries in it. It is necessary to examine the microeconomic level, that of individual firms, because they are the basic units of production. Some of them are in any case very large, and their influence may be more than that of countries; but the collective functioning of a large assembly of small firms is also of interest and this theme will be developed in this chapter. Economic mechanisms operate both at the firm level, and at that of groups of firms and the institutions that link them. Some other structures are found at a second broad level, that of whole industries, such as car-making or steel.