An article by Christina Buczko and Fritz Hinterberger argues for a comprehensive understanding of industrial policy as one important cornerstone of an overall socio-ecological transformation of our economies and societies. It intends to enrich and realign the current public debate about European industrial policy by focusing on its potentials for redefining the European Union as a socio-ecological project, where labor intensive sectors will benefit more than resource intensive sectors. It outlines that transitions towards sustainability can be economically and socially beneficial and unlock new opportunities for prosperity. Before this background, the article examines the role of locally and regionally based manufacturing companies – in many cases small and medium enterprises –, and the perspectives and threats of current trends, such as „industry 4.0“.
It discusses industrial policy instruments and institutions in charge of its implementation. Based on the suggested narrative and on a thorough understanding of the current relevant governance structure it outlines the key elements of a new industrial policy at the European level, which should comprise first a clear target setting in economic, social and environmental terms and second new forms of economic organization at the enterprise level and between producers and consumers. The article concludes with recommendations for future decision making based on a re-orientated progressive social and ecological industrial policy within the EU and its member states.
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation