Since the birth of the mechanised paper industry in early nineteenth century Europe, the prospects of the global paper industry have changed dramatically. The relative importance of western paper markets has diminished due to declining prices, relative scarcity of cheap raw materials and high energy and labour costs. The increased demand for paper and paper products of all kinds in the rapidly developing BRIC countries has moved the centre of industrial activity from Europe and North America to Asia and South America. This book presents an historical analysis of the global paper industry evolution from a comparative perspective. At the centre are 16 producing countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, the USA, Germany, Canada, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Russia). A comparative study of the paper industry evolution can achieve the following important research objectives. First, we can identify the country specific historical features of paper industry evolution and compare them to the general business trends explicable by existing theoretical knowledge. Second, we can identify and isolate the factors causing both the rise and fall of industrial populations. Third, a shared research agenda can produce an intensive analysis of global industry dynamics. Finally, an extended research period of 250 years can identify what is truly unique in the paper industry evolution and the extent to which it took the same path as other important manufacturing industries.
Jari Ojala, Juha-Antti Lamberg, Mirva Peltoniemi, Timo Särkkä