The Political Promotion of "Future Industries" and Innovation in the Federal Republic of Germany and Great Britain, ca. 1965-1990

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Historical research on politics confronting economic structural change during the last third of the twentieth century has mainly focused on the crises of ‘old’ industries (coal, steel, shipbuilding, textiles). By contrast, this project analyses the promotion of ‘future industries’ supposed to be especially innovative, and of research and development in general. Comparing the respective policies pursued in the Federal Republic and Great Britain from the mid-1960s to the end of the 1980s, it will concentrate especially on the aerospace industry as well as on the information and communication technologies. Pursuing the general question as to what extent the respective policies were following specific national traditions and concepts or if any convergences can be observed over the course of the decades, and contrasting contemporary assessments with long-term quantitative developments, two highly industrialised countries with considerable differences regarding political institutions and economic structures will be investigated. Mutual observations, transnational cooperation and European industrial policy will be considered as well. At the same time, the project will have to analyse the degree to which the promotion of ‘future industries’ reflected general imaginations of economic and social future.

Dr. Ralf Ahrens

Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam

Office: Am Neuen Markt 9d, room E.07
Phone: 0331/74510-137
Fax: 0331/74510-143

Email: ahrens [at] zzf-potsdam.de

Forschung

The Political Promotion of "Future Industries" and Innovation in the Federal Republic of Germany and Great Britain, ca. 1965-1990

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Historical research on politics confronting economic structural change during the last third of the twentieth century has mainly focused on the crises of ‘old’ industries (coal, steel, shipbuilding, textiles). By contrast, this project analyses the promotion of ‘future industries’ supposed to be especially innovative, and of research and development in general. Comparing the respective policies pursued in the Federal Republic and Great Britain from the mid-1960s to the end of the 1980s, it will concentrate especially on the aerospace industry as well as on the information and communication technologies. Pursuing the general question as to what extent the respective policies were following specific national traditions and concepts or if any convergences can be observed over the course of the decades, and contrasting contemporary assessments with long-term quantitative developments, two highly industrialised countries with considerable differences regarding political institutions and economic structures will be investigated. Mutual observations, transnational cooperation and European industrial policy will be considered as well. At the same time, the project will have to analyse the degree to which the promotion of ‘future industries’ reflected general imaginations of economic and social future.

Dr. Ralf Ahrens

Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam

Office: Am Neuen Markt 9d, room E.07
Phone: 0331/74510-137
Fax: 0331/74510-143

Email: ahrens [at] zzf-potsdam.de

Forschung