The Triumph of Steel
This chapter examines the hypothesis that climbing the ladder of comparative advantage is a matter of creating competitiveness, usually with government assistance, rather than stepping into it. The evidence comes from South Korea's integrated iron‐ and steel‐maker (the Pohang Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., POSCO), which is the centerpiece of basic industry and a public enterprise. The chapter discusses POSCO's founding in 1968; its profitability and subsidization; international competition; foreign technical assistance and the nature of steel‐making technology; POSCO's initial prioritization of increasing volume production, and the later shift to improving product quality and introducing new products; shop‐floor focus; and cross‐subsidization.
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