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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Technology, Governance and Political Conflict in International Industries

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Tony PorterAssociate Professor of Political Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

ISBN13: 9780415270090
ISBN: 041527009X
Published: April 2004
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print

In today's globalizing world there is a great deal of interest in understanding how the international economy can be governed in the absence of world government. We need to know what works and why in the governance of international industries. Porter explores this issue using a comparative analysis of six leading international industries - cotton textiles, electrical machinery, chemicals, semiconductors automobiles and steel - and draws lessons from both the present and the past. He explains how the distinctive technological profiles of particular industries have a profound impact on their organization, on their governance, and on the international political conflict associated with them. It has become clear that knowledge can play a key role in the construction of international institutions by, for example, alerting states to common problems and thereby transforming clashing interests into a willingness to cooperate. Surprisingly, however, the study of a very important type of knowledge - technology - has been neglected. Technologies differ from other types of knowledge because they are embedded materially in machines, technical manuals, and other aspects of production systems.;In our contemporary high-tech economy many technologies are global. This book makes an important theoretical contribution to our understanding of international institutions by exploring conceptually and empirically the impact of technology on the governance of international economic activities. Technology, Governance and Political Conflict in International Industries addresses the current intense interest among scholars in the ways that knowledge can shape the development of international institutions by examining a particularly important type of knowledge - technology. In doing so the book makes a novel contribution to the 'constructivist' approaches that have become popular in the study of International Relations. Moreover, Porter's innovative approach treats the international economy not as a novel and constantly expanding highly competitive market composed of individual firms, but rather as a highly institutionalized set of industries, often dominated by leading firms, in which remarkable centuries-long patterns of continuity and repetition can be identified.

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1. Theorizing the Role of Technology in the Governance of Global Industries 2. The Cotton Textile Industry: from the Industrial Revolution to Today 3. The Steel Industry: Nationally-Based Cartels and Market-Sharing Arrangements 4. Electrical Machinery: Enduring Complexity and the Longevity of Leading Firms 5. Chemicals: Complex Technologies and Private Governance 6. Automobiles: Assembly Lines and International Investments 7. Semiconductors: Rapid Maturation and Cartel Creation 8. Comparing Across Industries 9. Industry Structures, Systematic Factors, and Implications for the Study of International Relations