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Globalization and Raw Materials-Based Development: The Case of the Aluminum Industry
Competition and Change (2000)
  • Paul Ciccantell

Current popular and scholarly analyses of the process of globalization often assume that this is a new phenomenon and that it operates in the same manner across all sectors of the economy. This paper argues that precisely the opposite is true: globalization is a longstanding process that exhibits distinct characteristics in different industries and different time periods. The analytic strategy to examine this process is historically grounded in the aluminum industry, one of the pioneers of the process of globalization. This paper analyzes the changing nature of the process of globalization in the aluminum industry, focusing attention on the articulation of the competitive strategies of globalizing firms and the economic development strategies of national governments.

This paper identifies four distinct phases of globalization since the late 1800s and examines the articulation of these phases with the evolution of transnational corporations' (TNCs) competitive strategies and the three major development strategies employed by peripheral and semiperipheral states to promote economic growth, import-substitution industrialization (ISI), export-led industrialization (ELI), and neoliberal economic restructuring. State development strategies in peripheral and semiperipheral countries are formulated and implemented in the context of this wider process of globalization and of the strategies of core and domestic firms and core states to accomplish their own goals.

This analytic strategy puts globalization in its long term context, since globalization has been underway in some industries, including aluminum, for a century or more. This strategy also makes clear what is really new about the most recent phases of globalization, particularly the shift to new forms of cooperation and competition between firms as a widespread phenomenon and the role of economic restructuring and privatization throughout the world economy. Finally, this analytic strategy, by focusing attention on the consequences of this new phase for one industry, provides a deeper understanding of what the latest phase of globalization means for firms, national economies and people.

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Citation Information
Paul Ciccantell. "Globalization and Raw Materials-Based Development: The Case of the Aluminum Industry" Competition and Change Vol. 4 Iss. 2 (2000)
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