Going global

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Continuous Casting

During the Cold War, the Eastern Bloc countries tried to enhance their cooperation in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and in the specialized Intermetall organization for steel founded in 1964. Intermetall sought (with limited success) to foster technology cooperation in Eastern Europe.

Nevertheless, the technology gap between Eastern and Western Europe widened. In particular, Eastern Europe lagged behind in the introduction of oxygen steel making and continuous casting as the two major new post-war technologies. As a result, Eastern European production was far less efficient. It also contributed relatively more to environmental pollution through acid rain and global warming as it used far more energy per ton of steel produced. The Soviet Union heavily subsidized energy to strengthen its political control over the Eastern Bloc.

How to cite this page


Wolfram Kaiser, 'Going global', Inventing Europe, http://www.inventingeurope.eu/governance/going-global


  1. Kaiser, Wolfram and Johan Schot. Writing the Rules for Europe. Experts, Cartels, and International Organizations, chap. 7. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2014.
  2. OECD. The Role of Technology in Iron and Steel Developments. Paris: OECD, 1989.

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Building Europe on Steel

Europe invented steel and dominated its production, before becoming more marginal in an increasingly globalized sector. Workers, engineers, entrepreneurs, steel companies, and research institutes freely transferred technological know-how. However, low growth and the substitution of steel with other materials caused a severe structural crisis after 1974. This crisis saw reduced demand for steel and a shift of production to Asia.

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The casting of steel

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