During the last decades in all developed countries new industrial firms have appeared that combine manufacturing activity with the services needed. Instead of traditional resources, this new industry is based on the intensive use of technological knowledge and the generation of value added through the design and the improvement of distribution channels and commercialization.
At an international level, and also partially in Catalunya, we can find this new industrial activity both at large corporations that develop specialized departments to implement it, as well as at small and medium sized firms, which provide engineering, consulting, management and production of specialized knowledge for industrial use.
Is Catalonia well positioned to jump into these changes or will it loose its opportunity and will it have to put up with more traditional services like for instance those related with touristic activity? Fortunately o this new industry does not only appear in the most intensive knowledge sectors, such as biotechnology or aeronautic engineering, but also in sectors where Catalonia has an important installed base, such as cars or chemicals. We have to add also that the innovation possibilities of the more traditional sectors, such as the above mentioned touristic sector, cannot be underestimated.
It is true that is we could choose an industrial model for Catalonia we would like to have a network of firms with internationally competitive products, with high value added, and providing a network of services and suppliers that can create diverse jobs, ranging from the most qualified to the more basic jobs at the lower part of the chain.
Is industrial policy able to attract activities intensive in knowledge and occupation creation? Can the industrial structure of Catalonia be modeled through public policy?