chapter  2
19 Pages

Small and medium-sized establishments in Western Europe

SMEsinindustrieslocatedprimarilyinrural areasmaypreservejobsmorebecausetheybelongto largefirmswhichhavebeensteppinguptheir presenceintheseareas,thanbecauseofabetter indigenoussmallfirmperformance.Thismayevenbe truewheredecliningsectors,includingdeclining servicesectors,areinvolved.Theproblemofthe 'extendedworkbench'(asbranchplantsare sometimescalled)thereforedeservesspecial consideration,becauseabalancedorpositive situationinaregionaleconomyandonarural labourmarketcanbereversedthroughbranch establishments.Friedmannspeaksofacertain 'colonial'exploitationbetweenthegrowthpoles andthehinterland."Thedominanceofthepole preventsindependentdevelopmentinthehinterland. Thepole'colonialises'thehinterlandbythe establishmentofbranchplants,becauseitpasseson thecostsofcyclicalandstructuraladjustmentto thehinterlandandbecauseifthereisacrisisthe branchplantisclosedfirst,i.e.theincidenceof crisiscoststendtobehigherinthehinterland"(Furstetal.1976).