Informations and abstract
Keywords: Economic Development; Technological change; Industrialization
This essay analyses trends in the growth of heavy industry controlled by Italian and foreign capitals and established for many years in strategic areas of the Italian Mezzogiorno. With the aid of data, many of them unpublished, what emerges is a picture of the current situation outlining the real dynamics of heavy industries such as iron and steel, aviation, petrochemicals, automotive, energy, IT and other important manufacturing sectors, located in different regions of Southern Italy where, thanks to the subcontractors' orders which they generate, they make a significant contribution of safeguard and promote employment and, in general, to the socio-economic development of the areas where they have been operational a long time. The emerging overall picture is undoubtedly new. It gives the lie to the prevailing idea held by those who believe that many large enterprises established in the South of Italy are in some cases no more than archaeological sites of industries which are now being replaced, by the systems of local SMEs in promoting the economies of individual areas. The opposite is in fact the case. The process of globalisation is helping reveal the structural weakness of small and medium sized enterprises in the Italian Mezzogiorno which find more and more difficult to compete in the global marketplace where, on the other hand, the big manufacturing plants installed in the South of Italy, many of which are controlled by national and foreign groups, are better equipped to protect or even strengthen the positions they held in the past.