In the past decade, international competitiveness has become a major public concern in Britain, France, Germany, the USA, but much less so in Sweden. A pervasive perception has evolved in Britain and in France that their national economy was or is falling behind the leading industrialised nations in terms of productivity and technological competence and that in many important markets national products cannot openly compete with foreign ones. There is no such unanimity in the United States, but the public debate has become more and more dominated by the theme that the country has lost its former technological leadership position and will fall further behind its foreign competitors if remedies are not devised quickly. In Germany the ever-present fear that the country might lose its international competitiveness has not so far turned into a generalised belief that this is actually happening. But by the end of the 1980s warnings about the decreasing attractiveness of the Federal Republic as an industrial production site have gained considerable weight in the public debate.
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