COMECON Integration and the Automobile Industry: the Czechoslovak Case
Title: COMECON Integration and the Automobile Industry: the Czechoslovak Case
Author: FAVA, Valentina
Publisher: European University Institute
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2008/18
This paper examines the effects of the actions of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) negotiation on the development of automobile production in Czechoslovakia between 1949 and 1965. It investigates the reasons that led to the failure of a closer integration of automobile production in the COMECON bloc; it explores which and whose needs oriented the decision-making process and considers which consequences the failure of a more integrative policy had on the Czechoslovak enterprise Skoda. The paper sheds light on a specific project, elaborated in 1949 by Czechoslovak specialists, that intended to ensure the national producer a leading role in the Comecon international division of labour. The specialists’ effort to protect the national automobile industry was motivated by the relevance for the entire engineering sector of the hard currency revenues of export-led automobile production. The paper argues that the rejection of the Czechoslovak project and the Comecon failure to elaborate a coherent and technically affordable plan to establish a multilateral product specialization within the People’s democracies, blocked for almost a decade the modernization of automobile production in Czechoslovakia. This determined the decline of competivness of Skoda products on capitalist markets and trapped the country’s automobile industry in the “Fordism in one country” described by Abelshauser for the GDR.
Subject: Czechoslovakia; COMECON; automobile industry; Fordism
Type of Access: openAccess