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Papers Presented at the BHC Annual Meeting

ISSN 0849-6825

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College of William and Mary

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College of William and Mary
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Harvard University
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2006 Annual Meeting Abstracts

Sean Patrick Adams
Banking on Swampland: The Political Economy of Florida's Early Railroad Regime, 1850-1881
Americans often use the term "Florida swampland" as a simile for worthless or fraudulent business deals, but the perceived value of wetlands figured prominently in Florida's nineteenth-century development. When Florida entered the United States in 1845, the federal government awarded it 500,000 acres of public land. Five years later, Congress passed the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act, which ultimately transferred 22 million acres of wetlands to the state. In 1855, the Florida legislature created the Internal Improvement Fund, which planned to use the proceeds of land sales and state-backed bonds to build a railroad system. Some rail lines in this system were completed by 1861, but the expected revenues from land sales never met expectations. The Internal Improvement Fund plunged into insolvency and angry creditors slapped an injunction on it during the 1870s, which effectively ended the state-sponsored system. In 1881 Hamilton Disston, a wealthy Philadelphia industrialist, saved the Fund with his purchase of 4 million acres for $1 million. Railroad growth occurred after the 1880s, but now involved massive land grants and no coordination from state officials. Florida's government still relied upon cheap or free land for economic development, but abdicated any control over the process.
Dimitry Anastaskis
The Political Economy of a Bail-Out: Canada, the Chrysler Corporation, and the North American Auto Industry, 1975-1985
This paper will contextualize and root the Chrysler Corporation's near death and bail-out in 1979-1981 within the larger story of the evolving North American political economy in this period. The paper will address a number of aspects of this evolution. First, the paper will briefly discuss the causes of Chrysler's near-death in 1979-80 as a way of providing some background to the issue and to give a context of the challenges facing the North American industry at the time. This will include a synopsis of the 1965 Auto Pact, the duty-free automotive trade regime which governed Chrysler's operations in North America and was a precursor to the 1989 Canada-US free trade agreement. Second, it will address the debate surrounding the bail-out in both Canada and the United States, and show the differing attitudes toward state intervention in the auto industry: Canadians were far more willing to assist Chrysler during its crisis, while many American commentators and stakeholders felt the company should be left to the dictates of the market. Third, it will examine the Canadian state's role in the Chrysler bail-out. In doing so, it will only touch upon the actual details of the main bail-out story. Finally, the paper will discuss the implications of the "new" Chrysler for the North American auto industry, in particular with regard to the Canadian scene. In doing so, the paper will argue that ultimately the Chrysler bail-out was actually beneficial for the operation of the Canadian side of the corporation, and for the wider Canadian industry.
Jesús Mirás-Araujo and Carlos Piñeiro-Sánchez
Tensions between Public and Private: Water Supply in a Northwestern Spanish City under the Franco Dictatorship
In this paper, we analyze the determinants of change in a public service management system, urban water supply in Spain during the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975). The case involves a medium-sized Spanish city where the city council had entrusted the service to a franchised private company early in the twentieth century. After the Civil War (1936-1939), however, a different regulatory framework erected by the new political regime provoked a change in the state's attitude toward public services. There was increasing pressure to return the water supply service to the public sector—in particular, to local authorities. The autarkic environment, changes in consumption associated with remarkable urban growth, and an increasingly interventionist institutional environment led to the gradual domination of Spain's public services management by municipalities by the 1960s-1970s. This transition may serve as a platform for debate about the applicability of recent European management models to modern urban services. We examine the impact of an anomalous institutional framework on business success (or failure) and seek to contribute to the debate on ownership and management of public services.
Barbara Austin
The State and Strategic Management of an Enterprise: A Life Cycle Analysis of a Symbiotic Relationship, 1873-1997
In this paper, I develop and analyze a life cycle model of Canada's first major manufacturing industry, primary textiles, to discover some factors underlying the industry's rise and decline. The patterns uncovered may forecast the future of other Canadian manufacturing industries.
Tokumbo Aderemi Ayoola
Background to the Bornu Extension Railway: The Political Economy of Britain's Decolonization and Railway Development in Nigeria, 1919-1958
In the late 1950s, it seemed clear that Britain would soon grant Nigeria her independence. However, to guarantee its economic and strategic interests in independent Nigeria, Britain sought to manipulate the decolonization process. One key strategy employed was to side with the fraction of the Nigerian petty bourgeoisie whose political, economic, and class interests were in agreement with its own, and this was the Northern Nigeria political elite. But unfortunately, the fraction's economic base was weak. Although the largest and the most populated region, it was the poorest. Thus, the fraction could not develop its region or talk much of guaranteeing British interests—unless its economic base was further developed. One key sector that the economy's attention was focused on was agriculture. However, the greatest obstacle to further agricultural production was the inefficiency of the existing transport system, particularly the railway. From the early 1950s, the Northern establishment began to pressure the central colonial government to construct a railway extension into the potentially agriculturally rich Bornu province. The pressure worked, and the Bornu Extension project was adopted despite concern for its viability and lack of finance for it. The 400-mile extension was eventually constructed and opened in 1964.
Gerben Bakker
The Emergence of Rights-Based Multinationals: Sunk Costs, Property Rights and the Political Economy of Globalization, 1870-2000
This paper argues that the legal and institutional evolution of intellectual property rights went hand in hand with a new form of organization for their 'production' and distribution. The rights-based multinational is defined as an organization that focused on generating intellectual property rights and maximizing and capturing their rents. It linked an international federation of idiosyncratically dispersed R&D units (each with a maximum scale and scope) to a global distribution system with subsidiaries in all major markets and a minimum scale and scope. The portfolio of rights generated enabled the diversification of risk. An essential feature was that sunk costs were extremely high, while marginal costs were infinitesimal. Combining economic history with transaction cost and institutional economics, this paper explores the political, economic, and social implications of 'zero' marginal costs for the process of globalization and examines the development of rights-based multinationals in industries such as pharmaceuticals, software, and music.
Peter Baskerville
Women and Investment in Urban Canada, 1869-1931
Much of the literature that examines specific investments of women is based on qualitative and/or single asset information. What is required are studies over a longer time period that include analysis of as much of the women's portfolio as possible and that can then comment more fully on investment diversity and degree of speculative behavior. While such analyses should certainly be situated in the context of male investment behavior, they should avoid essentializing the woman investor and, instead, be sensitive to the fact that all women, and, indeed, all men, did not invest in similar ways. Such studies should also be sensitive to the fact that gender ideology, though an important context within which to situate investment behavior, was itself always evolving. Ideology interacts with, rather than simply restricts, behavior. Using probate evidence from two Canadian cities, this paper situates wealth holding of men and women in a comparative context with special attention on type of investment behavior and the gendered ideological context within which such behavior occurred.
Ralf Banken and Jan Ottmar Hesse
Entrepreneurial Behavior within State Industries: The Case of German State Enterprises at the End of the Nineteenth Century
In nineteenth-century Germany state-owned enterprises were a common part of the industry structure in a whole group of branches from transportation and communication to mining and energy providers, including some of the greatest firms in Germany before World War I. Illustrating the cases of the mining corporation of the Saar region and the federal post and telegraph administration, the paper will show that the enormous growth of these two firms in the first phase of their development was the result of the entrepreneurial behavior of their management. The great room for maneuver especially allowed Leopold Sello and Heinrich von Stephan to practice a flexible market strategy. After the first two chief officers were dismissed, their successors lost the possibility to follow an independent corporate strategy. Because of the expanding enterprises at the end of the nineteenth century, the state administration became more and more bureaucratized, limited also by the interests of the secretary of finance and the parliament. Nevertheless the administrative managements still tried to safeguard the interests of the two firms.
Matthew Bellamy
Getting Pinned: The Canadian Brewing Industry's Weak-Kneed Response to Prohibition, 1900-1930
At the dawn of the twentieth century, prohibition became part of a broader impulse in Canadian life to regulate business and enhance public power over private capital. It has long been the position of historians that prohibition was destined to become a factor in Canadian life during the early twentieth century. As a result, historians of Canadian business have been preoccupied with how the nation's brewers overcame the challenges of the prohibition era. The existing historiography is without exception complimentary of the efforts of Canadian brewers and their ability to survive during this "difficult" period and to "make the most of their opportunities." Contrary to the established position, this paper argues that the unwillingness and inability of the brewing industry to organize itself and lobby effectively, as well as its failure to reach out to other anti-prohibitionists in society (e.g., labor), were as much a factor in the onset and continuation of the prohibition of beer as the actions of prohibitionists. Had the brewers been better organized, less parochial, more proactive and defensive and far more strategic in thought and action, they might well have had beer exempt from prohibitionist legislation. In the end, theirs was an extremely weak-kneed response.
Morris L. Bian
The Sino-Japanese War and the Rise of China's Regional Enterprise Corporations: A Case Study of the Guizhou Enterprise Corporation, 1939-1949
This paper analyzes the characteristics of the Guizhou Enterprise Corporation—China's first regional enterprise corporation established during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). The paper describes how the sustained systemic crisis triggered by the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War led to the establishment of the Guizhou Enterprise Corporation. The paper presents the argument that, as a regional enterprise corporation, the Guizhou Enterprise Corporation constitutes a distinct type of business enterprise because the corporation differed from both private business enterprises and state-owned enterprises in that the it derived its investment capital primarily from the central and provincial governments and state-run financial institutions, and yet it adopted the governance structure of the modern corporation with such features as board of directors, shareholder meetings, and internal auditing. As a result, the Guizhou Enterprise Corporation was not subject to direct administrative control and interference as were state-owned enterprises under the jurisdiction of central government ministries and agencies. It can be argued that a regional enterprise system had taken shape by the end of the Sino-Japanese War, for similar regional enterprise corporations developed in at least fifteen provinces with subordinate enterprises engaging in productive activities in virtually every sector of the Chinese economy.
Gordon Boyce
The Professions as Knowledge Exchange Systems
The rise and proliferation of professional groups have facilitated the creation and wider application of specialised human capital. Professional organizations articulate, delineate, and codify esoteric knowledge, elements of which are tacit, abstract, and embodied in routines. However, such knowledge poses exchange- and transfer-related problems. Professional organizations mitigate these difficulties by seeking legitimization and by enunciating ethical principles that resonate with accepted values and norms. In so doing, professional groups create a framework that facilitates exchanges that could not be carried out as effectively through market mechanisms or hierarchical structures. This paper explicitly examines professions in system terms. With respect to transactions with clients, professional bodies facilitate such exchanges by validating knowledge, creating brands, and establishing a price. The associations also rely on network structures to effect exchanges of knowledge among practitioners, and they operate as communicating nodes when interacting with outside constituents. Historical examples are used to illustrate these propositions. The discussion examines the activities of Britain's "ancient" professions, the new groups that arose in the nineteenth century, and the wave of the social professions that emerged after 1945. These examples, and others drawn from the Australian and American experiences, reveal that the influence of individual professional organizations ebbs and flows as a result of a range of dynamic factors. The study then considers how the recent rapid growth in the global market for management education created an opportunity for AACSB and EQUIS to extend accreditation processes beyond national boundaries and into the international arena using market and psychological incentives. The study concludes by inviting wider consideration of how an increasingly global economy will affect the professions as systems that facilitate knowledge-based exchange.
Marcelo Bucheli
The Octopus Against the Banana Republicans: Latin American Nationalism and United Fruit
During the first half of the twentieth century the United Fruit Company gained a notorious reputation for the immense political power and disproportionate economic control it had over its Latin American producing countries, which were pejoratively known as "Banana Republics." Before the 1950s, these countries provided a very friendly environment for United Fruit. The dictators ruling them granted the company generous concessions and repressed labor unionism. This situation, however, did not last forever. In the 1960s and 1970s, the producing countries saw the rise of nationalism among a new generation of military officers and a more organized labor unionism. These elements were exacerbated by the economic crises generated by the oil shock and foreign debt problems. Under these circumstances, the local governments confronted United Fruit, increasing its taxes and obligations to the labor force. The company responded with a futile resistance and in the end had no option but to adapt to the new local political conditions by divesting its producing operations and concentrating its efforts in international marketing. Every attempt made by the producing countries to break the company's control over marketing failed, creating a new kind of control by United Fruit over the local economies.
Benedita Câmara
Quality Control and Collective Reputation: The Case of Madeira Embroidery
Quality is one element of non-price competition, and the decision to produce quality items has various implications according to whether the means adopted is by incorporating added value or by introducing technology. Since quality control was not treated distinctly from the process of production, the case of embroidery on the Portuguese island of Madeira between 1850 and the 1950s is of particular interest as it presents stability of process of production (via the putting out system), yet was subject to different quality control mechanisms. Particular emphasis is given to a situation of market failure (1924-1934) which revealed itself in the form of a drop in the price, demand and reputation of the product and which led to governmental regulation of the quality of the output (1935). The traditional difficulty faced by governments of enforcing regulations was resolved by the intermediary action of an institution (a guild). Acceptance of the quality regulation came from the efficient firms which, since they sold speciality goods, were prepared to share the collective reputation based on aggregate quality. Severe informational asymmetries between consumers and producers explain the idea behind the creation of a regional brand. The sector of production and the functioning of the business structure as an industrial district, in the Marshall sense, explain the level of conflict and bargaining that arose between the firms and the Government which forced them to make investments. By doing so, the traditional form of organization of production was altered. How far and in what way the initial aims were achieved is one of the issues under analysis.
Francesca Carnevali
"To speak with one voice": Small Firms and Collective Governance in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain and America
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, two communities of small-scale specialty makers were threatened with near ruin as a consequence of the failure of public ordering to protect them from fraud and design copying. Small firms' lack of scale often implies smallness also in terms of agency, and the paper compares the strategies pursued by the jewelry makers of Birmingham (UK) and Providence (USA) to create "rules of the game" to regulate their activities. The paper details how, although the manufacturers in these two towns had similar production structures and markets and used the same technology, they gave a different collective response in their confrontation of an adverse institutional environment. The comparative methodology used in this paper allows us to explore fully the importance of contingency in shaping the decisions of economic actors and understand what moral world they were reproducing in their choice of governance structures. The different forms of trade association created by the two communities shows how the establishment of collective governance structures is a reflexive process based on the assessment of background conditions rather than a rational response to the abstract problem of maximization. Both communities made strategic choices that they obviously thought were rational when choosing which form of association to adopt. Nevertheless, their choices were bounded by contingency. These choices, therefore, shaped the resource dependency and the allocation of resources but were also shaped by those, generating consequences for the structure of the community and its long-term development.
Albert Churella
Saving the Railroad Industry to Death: The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Rail-Truck Cooperation
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Pennsylvania Railroad tried, unsuccessfully, to become a multi-modal transportation company with investments in truck lines, busses, and air travel. Historians, political scientists, and economists have often blamed this "failure" on the intransigence of either stubbornly traditional railroad managers or overly bureaucratic regulators. Neither assessment is correct, as illustrated by the PRR's involvement with trucking between the two World Wars. The PRR used trucks for pickup and delivery operations (store-door service) and as part of intermodal container operations (what would today be called container-on-flat-car service). Both experiments were phenomenally successful at reducing operating costs and increasing revenue. The PRR's weaker competitors, unable to match the PRR's investment in these services, protested to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The ICC, while unable to regulate trucks effectively until the adoption of the 1935 Motor Carrier Act, saw the issue in terms of the chronic weak road-strong road problem. By progressively restricting the PRR's ability to use trucks, the ICC was attempting to save the weaker railroads from ruin, holding that the health of the entire railroad industry was more important than the efficient operations of one carrier.
Susan Clark Muntean
Resurrection of the Robber Barons: Reassessing the Theory of the Firm
I present Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., as a case study to argue the need for a new theory of the firm to explain and predict corporate political action in democratic systems. I analyze Securities and Exchange Commission filings, corporate bylaws and proxy statements, recorded shareholder meetings, press releases, and political contribution records to answer "Who drives political strategy in the corporation?" This evaluation challenges the belief that managers separated from stockholder-owners govern large publicly traded corporations. Evidence suggests that principal-owner—controlled firms dominate politics at all levels; thus political models based on managerial theories of the firm provide poor estimates of corporate political behavior. Using Walton family, corporation, and financial institution data to exemplify how the principal-owner—controlled firm translates economic power into political currency, I conclude that dynastic families play critical roles in commerce, banking, politics, and philanthropy. Exploring why families control firms and use them for political engagement demands more interdisciplinary dialogue and research by political scientists, economists, and business historians.
Mary Beth Combs
"Entitled to her separate earnings . . . and equally liable to maintain her family": British Married Women's Property Rights and the Labor Force Participation of Married Women Shopkeepers, 1851-1901
Nineteenth-century Britain witnessed a natural experiment with potential to change the lives of women: the 1870 Married Women's Property Act. The Act gave any woman married after 1870 the right to own and control certain forms of property, as well as any earnings from a business carried on separately from her husband. The Act, therefore, provided an incentive for a woman to run her own business, rather than work in the business carried on by her husband. For these and other reasons, contemporary reformers hailed the Act as a major achievement of the women's movement; however, there still exists a debate among modern scholars about whether women benefited from the Act. Feminist historians have long regarded the Act as a milestone in the emancipation of women. A few argue that the Act deserves a place "in the pantheon of historical events" and praise its impact on the lives of women. Others note, however, that even after the Act other factors in combination with the law likely limited the ability of women to control their economic lives on an equal footing with men. My previous research has shown that the 1870 Act affected the wealth-holding of women, as well as the distribution of resources within the household. This study examines data on the labor force participation rates of married women shopkeepers to determine whether the Act or other factors affected the decision to own and run a small shop.
Gill Cookson
Frameworks and Freemasons: Municipal Affairs and Business Infrastructure in Late Eighteenth-Century Sunderland
The paper considers the means through which an economic infrastructure developed during the eighteenth century in Sunderland, a well-established center of the coal trade in northeast England, looking in particular at improvements to the river and port from 1717, and the construction of Wearmouth bridge, 1790-96. It considers the relationship between business and community, private and public concerns, and the role of local government and other organizations in driving these works. The paper examines the structure of local business and its capability to build necessary infrastructure, and explores the motivations of groups and individuals who affected developments, especially the prominent part taken by local lodges of freemasons in building the Wearmouth bridge, the second major iron bridge in the world.
James Darroch and Charles McMillan
Lessons from the Failure of the Canadian Western Banks: The Risks of Reversing Longstanding Public Policy
We examine the effects of public policy goals on the development of the Canadian financial system and economic development. In the nation-building years of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Canada opted for a highly centralized, national banking system. This policy was guided by concerns over the efficient pooling of domestic and international funds that would be attracted by a stable banking system in a commodity producing country. Oddly enough in a country that often favored public enterprise over private enterprise in the financial sector, the private sector was preferred over the public. While there was no question that this choice served the nation well, tensions began to arise between central policies and needs and aspirations of the regions especially in the latter half of the twentieth century. This culminated in the creation of small Western regional banks in the 1980s. This development was not only a watershed in public policy toward the banking system, but also revealed how past policy decisions promoting concentration and stability made it very difficult for new entrants to succeed. The paper concludes by noting that we need to study the co-evolution of capital markets and financial institutions in Canada. The evolution of the banking system in many ways retarded the development of national capital markets in a manner to limit options facing existing players and new domestic entrants.
Jennifer Delton
Lip Service: How Anti-Discrimination Policies Helped Management
This paper considers how anti-discrimination policies in American workplaces affected labor-management relations, 1945-1964. Most historians regard corporate anti-discrimination policies in the post-World War II decades as "lip-service" and ineffective in terms of integrating workplaces. While it may be true that corporate anti-discrimination efforts had little initial impact on racial progress, it is worth examining how these policies may have reshaped workplace relations. This paper uses International Harvester as a case study to examine how anti-discrimination policies may have benefited employers and management reformers at the expense of workers and unions.
Ranjit S. Dighe
Pierre S. du Pont and the Making of an Anti-Prohibition Activist
Although most American business people seem to have taken a passive but approving role in the enactment of national prohibition, a great many changed course during the 1920s and early 1930s and ended up fighting for repeal. This paper examines the motivations of perhaps the most prominent business advocate for repeal, Pierre S. du Pont II. Shortly after joining the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment in the mid-1920s, he took the lead in transforming that group into a well-organized, well-financed propaganda machine for repeal. From various sources, most notably the correspondence of du Pont himself, a multifaceted image of his motivations emerges. The roots of his opposition to Prohibition were partly a cultural cosmopolitanism but mostly a laissez-faire economic conservatism, as intrusive prohibition laws such as those of his home state of Delaware raised the issue of further government encroachment on private activity. An erosion of basic law and order, seen as an inevitable result of passing a sweeping but unenforceable law, was also a major concern. Finally, the often-overblown issue of tax savings from repeal, with liquor taxes substituting for income and other taxes, appears significant as well.
Ruth Dupre and Desire Vencatachellum
Why Did Canada Nationalize Liquor Sales in the 1920s? A Political Economy Model
While the American episode of alcohol prohibition (1919-1933) is notorious and has been extensively studied, very little work has been done in a comparative international perspective. We contribute to this comparative international analysis by focusing here on the different path chosen by Canada in the 1920s. At the same time that its American neighbor went "bone dry," the Canadian provinces, one by one, starting with Quebec and British Columbia in 1921 and ending with Ontario in 1927, set up public liquor sale systems still with us today. This paper addresses the question of why and how did the Canadian provinces do this. The choice they faced between prohibition and nationalization can be analyzed with a political economy model by comparing the strength and stakes of the "drys" and the "wets" in the different provinces. We focus here on the two leaders, Quebec and British Columbia, contrasting them to Ontario. We will pursue the other provinces later on.
Mike Esbester
"No Good Reason for the Government to Interfere": Business, the State and Railway Employee Safety in Britain, c.1900-1939
I examine the business-state relationship in occupational safety on Britain's railways between approximately 1900 and 1939. Before 1914, I argue, occupational safety attracted significant state interest. Railway companies neutralized threatened government "interference" by constructing clearly defined roles for each party. Companies did not simply oppose state action, but used a combination of stalling, apparent cooperation, and a subtle discrediting of state "knowledge" to minimize the impact of state intervention upon managerial autonomy. The 1913 "Safety First" campaign was a preemptory response to threatened legislation and a clear instance of the influence of the regulatory environment over the decision-making process within enterprise. I explain the lack of government intervention in safety issues after 1914 in terms of wider political and economic developments in the British railway industry. Continuities across the period, and the companies' and the state's shared similar understandings of safety, predisposed the state acceptance of companies' claims that they could regulate employee safety without state involvement. I demonstrate the importance of state-business interaction in responses to dangerous work environments.
Louis Galambos
Globalization, Antitrust, and The Information Age of Manuel Castells
The Information Age, a three-volume study by sociologist Manuel Castells, provides the platform for this paper. From that perspective, I explore the manner in which the United States attempted to spread its version of competition policy—essentially the antitrust policy—through the developed economies. In the short term and the middle term, this effort failed even though America had overwhelming military and economic superiority during the American Century from 1945 through 1970. In Germany and Japan, the United States could exercise its prerogatives as a conquering power, but even there, the host country could superficially accept the policy and then ignore it—as Japan did. Germany initially developed all the enthusiasm of a fresh convert, but in the rest of Europe, antitrust was a hard sell even when it was floated in with Marshall Plan money. The turning point in Europe came with the solidification of the European Community and the simultaneous turn in most of the world toward neoliberal (or neoconservative, if you prefer) ideologies. Still, national cultures and economies resisted along lines consistent with Castells' analysis of the role of identity in the post-1970 global economy. This was especially true when U.S. policy took a new turn and the global merger movement simultaneously threatened to absorb national champions and infrastructure firms in multinational companies with foreign headquarters. A revised version of the Castells paradigm, I conclude, provides a useful framework for business history today.
Shennette Garrett
The Invincible Sons and Daughters of Commerce: Gendering the Early National Negro Business League in the Ambiguous South, 1900-1906
Created in 1900 by Booker T. Washington, the National Negro Business League (NNBL) was the largest, most influential black business and professional organization during the "Golden Age of Black Business" from 1900 to 1930. The early NNBL reflected the aspirations of black entrepreneurs who were supremely confident in their ability to affect the fortunes of the nation as they increased their own. This paper explores how enterprising black men and women linked their business activities to a progressive social and political agenda during the organization's formative years. It argues that taxonomies of accommodation and protest do not sufficiently describe black political and social activism. Valences of race and gender encouraged entrepreneurs to address vital social, economic, and political concerns within the black community and in American society, such as de jure Jim Crow, American imperialism, lynching, and racist stereotypes in popular culture. However, the NNBL remained ambivalent about the role of women in business and society. Thus, through examples of prominent and obscure black business men and women, the paper reveals how entrepreneurship mediated the complexities evident in black political ideologies and activities near the turn of the century.
Jules Gehrke
Municipal Expansion and the Emergence of the Anti-Socialist Critique in Britain, 1880-1903
Fears that municipal enterprise, under the rubric of municipal socialism, would undermine the mid-Victorian commitment to free enterprise and individualism were central to early twentieth-century concern over the growth of the state in Britain. Municipal socialism, the provision of various services and utilities by local government, had emerged among Britain's industrial cities in the mid- to late nineteenth century as a collectivist response to the dilemmas of urbanization. Generally supervised by democratically elected town councils, municipal enterprises were rarely controversial when established in the absence of private enterprise. However, when seeking to supersede or pre-empt private endeavor, they drew the attention of intellectuals, politicians, and economists who argued that they violated sound tenets of finance, economy, and administration. Opponents who organized against municipal socialism at the turn of the twentieth century sought to revivify the political and economic arguments of nineteenth-century liberalism they believed were overlooked as local political bodies embraced collectivism. Marginalized during the heyday of municipal socialism, opponents nonetheless provided the foundation for arguments that attacked the growth of collective endeavor at the national level in the years just before World War I.
Eric Godelier
Usinor and the French Steel Industry: From "Private" Monopoly to "Public" Competitor, 1948-2001
During the 1980s an intense debate began on the role the French state had taken in economic regulation and industrial structure. A close study of the steel industry—in particular of Usinor, one of the most important French steel companies—shows that the public sector has influenced private business. Just after World War II, there had been intense political and industrial debates concerning the necessity of nationalizing or reorganizing the steel industry. One argument for claiming financial support and resisting nationalization was that the steel industry should be viewed as a kind of "public service." From 1948 onward, Usinor, like most of the French steel industry, directly or indirectly received public financial support. Usinor recruited many senior managers (trained in some of the most selective schools) from within French ministries. Appointed to high-ranking positions in Usinor, they brought, apart from their technical and intellectual competence, a wide technocratic, social, and sometimes political network from French administration and society.
Terry Gourvish
The Political Economy of the Channel Tunnel: An International Business-Government Perspective
The promotion of and investment in the Channel Tunnel was a challenging multinational affair drawing in institutions from several countries. In this paper, I concentrate on the promotion of the abortive tunnel project of 1957-1975 and the ultimately successful venture a decade later, focusing on governments and companies in Britain, France, the United States, and Japan. I identify the management and sharing of risk as the critical elements in the Tunnel's political economy. Here, the difficulties produced by the "quadripartite quilt" of negotiations involving two governments (Britain and France) and two tunnel companies are at center stage, though I also argue that American involvement was important in the first project, and Japanese financial support was critical in the second. The debates concerned the type of crossing, questions of ownership versus licensing and regulation, and the importance of making public investment in related and supporting infrastructure. The Channel Tunnel has significance as a prototype of public-private partnership in Britain, and I draw lessons from the experience, referring in particular to the challenges presented by the "infrastructure project circle."
Jonathan Grant
Corruption and Transparency in the Global Arms Business, 1870-1914
The manner of the arms acquisitions helps to assess the role played by influence and corruption. We can conceive of a qualitative spectrum for the procurement process with merit and corruption at opposite ends. If weapons were chosen based on the technical superiority of the weapon as professionally determined based on formal field tests, and the formal procedures of contract bidding were duly followed, then merit has won out. At the other end, if political, business, or diplomatic pressures on the system yielded results contrary to merit, then corruption and bribery took precedence. Issues of pricing could occupy an intermediate position in that a lower cost could be a measure of merit, but it could be manipulated by corruption. At times improprieties could and did result in lower prices. The firms cultivated the native officers in the armed forces and offered them a share in the armaments contracts through the payment of commissions or other financial blandishments off the record.
Debra F. Greene
"Just Enough of Everything": The St. Louis Argus—An African American Newspaper and Publishing Company in Its First Decade
Analyses of the black press in the mid-twentieth century often ignored the role of black newspapers as businesses and concentrated instead on the press's special mission to enlighten and inform the African American community. The attitude that black newspapers should not receive the same analysis as other business enterprises has obscured the fact that black newspapers struggled with the same economic issues, such as a shortage of capital and maintaining a customer base, that affected all businesses. In 1917, the editors of the St. Louis Argus promised its readers that it would be moderate, fair, and fearless in its journalistic efforts and "endeavor to publish the news; just enough of everything; not too much of anything." In this paper, I highlight the growth of the St. Louis Argus newspaper and publishing company during its formative years, 1915 to 1929, when the newspaper and company were able to stay in business despite vigorous competition and a changing political climate. One important ingredient in its success was its leadership, which included publisher and managing editor Joseph Everett Mitchell and his brother William, as well as the staff they brought together.
Richard Greenwald
The Political Economy of Containerization: The Port of New York/New Jersey, 1950-1975
Containerization transformed international trade and transportation. The transformation was revolutionary and quick. In 1950, it took hundreds of men weeks sometimes to unload or load a ship. Labor (and other dock-side) costs accounted for as much as 50 percent of total costs. Corruption, gangsterism, and inefficiency were the norm. By 1975 dock-side costs were down around one percent, ships were unloaded and loaded in hours by dozens of workers. The system was efficient. Part of this story involves the labor relations regime that was created to adapt to containerization. This paper seeks to explore the ways the union of longshoremen in New York City (the International Longshoremen's Association) in responding to local issues and pressures helped shape indirectly a national maritime policy. In this case, the local affected the global.
Laila Haidarali
Barbara Watson Models: The Rise of African American Modelling Agencies in Early Postwar America
This paper examines the role of African American modelling agencies during the early post-World War II era, circa 1945-1954, in advancing new tenets of raced and gendered self-presentation. In this period, the work of the model and the modelling agency helped reanimate representative understandings of African American womanhood both at home and abroad. African American modelling agencies worked to secure an image of womanhood that announced heterosexual appeal, feminized deportment and dress, and urban, middle-class status through the access of consumer goods. My paper focuses on Barbara Watson Models, the first African American modelling agency, opened in New York City in 1946. Barbara Watson, the agency's owner, epitomized the professional status of African American women in the modelling industry. A Harlemite by birth, Watson's status as an educated, elegant, upper middle-class woman assisted in reinforcing the professional face of Brandford Models. My paper analyzes Watson's role in advancing ideas and images of African American women as glamorous, poised and professional. It demonstrates the important role of Barbara Watson in helping to construct new positive images of African American women, although these representations remained rooted in conservative gender ideals of feminized deportment and respectable heterosexual expression.
Shane Hamilton
The Agrarian Origins of Trucking Deregulation
The passage of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 formally deregulated the U.S. trucking industry, ending forty-five years of control by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Was this legislation passed in response to free market ideology? The political climate of the 1970s did make full deregulation of the trucking industry possible, but I argue that the seeds of deregulation were planted much earlier and sprouted in agrarian political and social soil. Technocrats in the United States Department of Agriculture cooperated with agribusinesses to assure that the transportation of agricultural commodities would take place within an unregulated economic environment. By the 1970s, the expansion of this exempt agricultural trucking sector led to the rise of a new rural working-class hero, the "truck driving man," who was lauded as the "last American cowboy" for his deep-seated hatred for large corporations, the Teamsters, and federal economic regulations. These "independent" owner-operator truck drivers, many of whom came from rural backgrounds, engaged in a series of violent shutdowns during the energy crises of the 1970s, cultivating a neo-populist politics that was essentially a revised, industrialized version of the agrarianism of the previous century.
Per H. Hansen and R. Daniel Wadhwani
Divergent Paths: Savings Banks and the Structure of National Banking Systems
The financial systems of most developed countries have experienced significant deregulation over the last three decades. Social scientists disagree about the likely impact of deregulation on international differences in the structure of banking systems. Some have suggested that increasing levels of domestic and international competition will lead to convergence in the structure and operation of these systems. Others have insisted that national differences in financial systems persist and are unlikely to disappear because of the continuing influence of state authority as well as differences in national institutions. This paper examines the impact of liberalization on the role of one specific kind of intermediary within the structure of national banking systems. We consider the role of savings banks within the national banking systems of the US, UK, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Norway. We find that there has been considerable divergence in the role of savings institutions among these countries over the last three decades. We explore possible political, institutional, and strategic explanations for this divergence and find that organizational and strategic capabilities, though often overlooked by social scientists, seem to play a particularly important role in explaining the competitiveness of savings banks in some countries and not others.
Robert Dalton Harris and Diane DeBlois
The Business of the Atomic Secret: Discerning the Cultural Dimension in the Strategic Economy of the Cold War
The Atomic Energy Commission was designed "to get the whole atomic energy business in civilian hands completely." But once in civilian (that is, political) hands, atomic energy was too linked to defense strategy to avoid military control, and too much "big business" to escape government control. In this paper, we focus on a little-known bureaucrat, Bryan F. LaPlante of the Atomic Energy Commission (to whose personal files we had access), to explore the evolution of the military-industrial complex, 1946-1961. Despite the culture of secrecy, atomic energy policy provided an attractive career alternative for America's brightest scientists, as well as business and political bases for promoting America as a force for "good." LaPlante was working within an emerging culture that provided a strategic blend of business, political, and social involvement as an alternative to the market and a limit on the analytics of rational action.
Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean. and Jon Press
The Role of Institutional Cohesion in the Postwar Development of the French National Business System
Managerial revolutions—which witness the appropriation of corporate power by professional managers—come in different shapes and sizes. This paper builds upon existing critiques of Chandler's universal theory of the managerial revolution through reference to the French national business system, arguing that the concept of the managerial revolution is best understood within specific cultural contexts, elite ideologies, and national business systems. It demonstrates, through the inclusion of original data and a business historical case study, that the French model of capitalism is distinguished by continuing links between the state and business, by the density of its corporate networks, and by the large number of elite actors with experience of working in an executive capacity in both the public and private sectors, in stark contrast to the UK. These attributes make for a high degree of institutional and ideological coherence within France, with important implications for both public policy and business strategies.
Lars Heide
Revisiting US Anti-Trust Regulation: The Anti-Trust Suit against IBM and Remington Rand in 1932
This paper questions the efficiency of anti-trust regulation in the United States and addresses the contrast between anti-trust legislation and patent right. The paper is based upon the shaping of the indictment in the anti-trust case against IBM and Remington Rand in 1932. The punched card trust between the predecessors of IBM and Remington Rand had been established in 1914. From the outset it was an evident violation of the anti-trust legislation but it lasted eighteen years before an antitrust-lawsuit was filed in court. This contrasts with the impression of efficient anti-trust regulation in the literature on anti-trust regulation and business history, where the anti-trust regulation is used to explain superior performance by United States companies. In this case, the Department of Justice did not take any initiative to investigate and persecute the anti-trust transgressions, and the actual investigation and persecution of the misdemeanor was due to the persistence of a different government institution. This paper concludes by questioning the use of anti-trust regulation in business history to explain the performance of United States companies.
Daniel Holt
No-Par Stock, the Value of Intangibles, and the Legitimacy of American Equity Markets, 1891-1927
Between 1891 and 1912, leading corporate lawyers in New York state lobbied for a law permitting corporations to issue shares of common stock without a nominal or par value. The campaign for no-par stock was in part a response to the public outcry over "watered stock" at the start of the twentieth century. Economists and corporate lawyers argued that there was no such thing as "watered stock" and that the notion of par value itself was misleading investors. Removal of par value from stock certificates, corporate lawyers maintained, would sever the connection in the public mind between a corporation's book value, based on its tangible property, and the market value of its shares, based on the earning power of that property. After New York adopted the first no-par stock law in 1912, other states followed until by 1927 thirty-eight states permitted no-par stock. I argue that the movement for no-par stock represents an important development in the public conception of corporate stock and helped set the conditions for the 1920s boom in securities speculation. Relying on legal and economic treatises, court cases, government hearings, newspapers, and the records of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), I trace the evolving legal doctrines concerning par value and the campaign to achieve the first no-par stock law in New York. The drive to create a category of stock without par value was part of a larger effort by corporate interests to enshrine the stock market as the legitimate arbiter of corporate value.
Martin Horn
The Money Changers and the Temple: J.P. Morgan and Company and the Roosevelt Administration, 1933-1939
This paper examines the relationship between J.P. Morgan & Co. and the Roosevelt administration from 1933 to 1939. It analyzes the views of four senior Morgan partners—Jack Morgan, Thomas Lamont, Russell Leffingwell, and S. Parker Gilbert. I argue that business attitudes regarding the New Deal were more ambiguous than they are often portrayed. Within J.P. Morgan & Co. the response to the domestic agenda of the New Deal varied from partner to partner, evolving as the 1930s progressed. While domestic concerns were critical in determining the posture of business toward the administration, they were not the only factors. J.P. Morgan & Co. was international in its outlook and dealings. Throughout the 1930s the partners backed the foreign policy of the Roosevelt administration consistently. For J.P. Morgan & Co., approval of American foreign policy tempered its criticism of the domestic steps taken by the White House.
James Hull
The City of Toronto Building Code and the Limits of Urban Progressivism
Like other late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century reform movements, urban reform was largely a phenomenon of middle-class, Anglophone, big-city dwellers. The cast of characters included business people, professionals, social gospellers, planners, journalists, and some civic politicians. They wanted a more activist city government but not more democracy. Reformers tried to restrict the power of the Council while expanding the scope of city governance. The rebuilding of Toronto after its Great Fire of 1904 had been in part shaped by the municipal Building By-Law overseen by the City Architect's office. By 1914, however, that office was under assault both from builders and reformist members of Toronto's City Council and finally the subject of a judicial inquiry. The outcome of that inquiry would include a reorganized office of the City Architect, a new City Architect with stronger academic and professional credentials, a solemn promise from the City Council to avoid interfering in his work, and a building code that caught up with new practices in reinforced concrete construction. An examination of this particular episode in part confirms existing understandings of the strategies of progressive reforms but also deepens our understanding of the limitations of their success in shaping both urban spaces and professional hegemonies.
Lisa Jacobson
Beer Goes to War: The Politics of Beer Production and Consumption in World War II
During World War II, American brewers mobilized a massive public relations and advertising campaign to combat a resurgence of prohibitionist sentiments and secure favorable regulatory treatment. Although the cultural authority of drys had diminished significantly, full-scale economic mobilization and the need to conserve raw materials presented drys with a tantalizing political opening. This paper examines why the federal government, the military, social scientists, and the broader public ultimately responded more positively to brewers' efforts to position brewing as an essential wartime industry. This was not simply the inevitable outcome of cultural shifts in attitudes toward drinking and the government's healthy regard for alcohol tax revenues. Brewers touted beer's virtue as a temperate morale booster, but their most innovative act of industry self-preservation was their promotion of brewers' yeast, a byproduct of brewing, as an important weapon in the nation's Food Fights for Freedom campaign. Just as wartime conservation and rationing had politicized food production and consumption, brewers created new associations of brewing and beer drinking with American liberty, the struggle for Freedom from Want, and the nation's pluralistic values. Perhaps even more than Repeal itself, World War II represented a transformative moment in which beer acquired new legitimacy as an emblem of American national identity.
Richard R. John
One Great Medium? The Segmentation of American Telecommunications, 1907-1920
My paper reconstructs the first antitrust lawsuit against AT&T and explores some of its implications. Though this lawsuit is often forgotten, the resulting settlement—which was hammered out in December 1913 between attorney general James McReynolds, the independents, and Bell vice president Nathan C. Kingbury—had major consequences not only for AT&T, the Bell-associated operating companies, and its independent rivals, but also for American business, politics, and culture. Indeed, in important ways, it recast for the twentieth century the competitive regulatory regime that in the nineteenth century had done so much to shape the rise of the telegraph and telephone industries in the United States.
Geoffrey Jones
Learning to Live with Governments: Unilever in Developing Countries, 1950-1980
A noteworthy characteristic of the contemporary global economy is the uneven distribution of world foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2004 three-quarters of world FDI was located in developed countries. The residual was concentrated in a small number of emerging countries. Large countries with little inward FDI included India and Turkey. This is puzzling, given that both countries have greatly liberalized their regulations on inward FDI. After 1945 many developing governments pursued policies which restricted foreign-owned firms. India and Turkey were among the countries with particularly difficult policy environments. This paper explores why Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer products company, was able to sustain large businesses in developing countries such as India and Turkey. The paper argues that the explanation is multi-causal. Unilever held first-mover advantages, but was also prepared to accept low dividend remittances for years. It pursued flexible business strategies beyond its "core" business, even distributing condoms. It maintained a high standard of corporate ethics. It was effective at building contacts with local business and government elites, primarily through localization of management.
Finn Arne Jorgensen
Bottle Bills: Building or Breaking Business?
Bottle bills were introduced in many markets from the 1970s to reduce litter, ease the burden on solid waste facilities, and encourage recycling activities. In this paper I will examine why bottle bill infrastructure systems succeeded in the Norwegian market in the late 1990s, but failed in New York State in the late 1980s. To do this, I will follow Tomra Systems, the global leader in production of reverse vending machines for the consumer return of empty beverage containers in grocery stores. This machine helps grocers by automating the demanding physical labor of receiving bottles as well as making bottle returns more convenient for consumers. But its introduction was not always welcomed. Through attempts to implement a technological solution to the recycling problem, Tomra became increasingly intertwined in the networks and systems that exist among global, national, and local environmental politics; the sometimes overlapping, sometimes diverging business interests of grocers, breweries, and distributors; and the often contradictory wishes of consumers. I will argue that the role of business entrepreneurs is central in creating the infrastructure and cooperative business alliances that make environmental policy work.
Jason Kaufman
Origins of the Asymmetric Society: Political Autonomy, Legal Innovation, and Freedom of Incorporation in the Early United States
This article explores the origins of a phenomenon of lasting and profound impact on American society: the private business corporation. Business is only part of our concern here, however. Seen in comparative-historical terms, the modern private corporation was born in colonial (i.e. pre-Revolutionary) America. Surprisingly, this occurred not only because of the business needs of colonial Americans but also as a result of their own struggles for political autonomy. More specifically, the post-Revolutionary doctrine of freedom of incorporation first emerged in states that were originally chartered as private corporations. These "corporate colonies" experienced repeated conflict with the Crown over their rights and privileges as corporations. Once re-chartered as independent states, their respective legislatures transformed constituents' relationship to the means of incorporation in a way that would lead to lasting changes in American social, civil, and economic life. Quantitative data on the history of post-Revolutionary incorporation rates in the American states, as well as the early banking industries in the United States and Canada, are offered as illustration of this phenomenon. Concluding remarks are made about the interdependent development of states and markets, particularly in post-colonial nations, as well as the nature of institutional-legal transformation more generally.
David Koistinen
The Political Economy of Regional Redevelopment: Business and Area Government in the Regeneration of the New England Economy
From the 1920s through the 1980s, New England experienced repeated rounds of decline in core industries. Each episode of downsizing resulted in a concerted push to revitalize the local economy. The area's long experience with growth promotion provides a good opportunity to explore the evolving dynamics of regional redevelopment over the course of the twentieth century. Events in New England reveal both an important change and an important continuity in the political economy of redevelopment. The change involved the role of government, especially state government, in the campaign for growth. Over time, the states had an increasingly more important part in recovery work. During the 1920s and 1930s, the private sector dominated revitalization efforts, with state government playing a marginal role. By the late twentieth century, states had become the key local actors in the development domain. The continuity in regional redevelopment involved alignments within the business community on growth promotion. Corporate managers in certain industries enthusiastically supported development, while executives in other sectors were indifferent to, or even opposed to, such initiatives. These alignments were determined by the vested interests of the companies involved and remained stable over time.
Christopher Kopper
The German Railroad and the Late Discovery of Environmental Friendliness
Today, the environmental friendliness of railroads, such as high energy efficiency and low rates of emissions, is their main asset in the struggle for higher government funding. Although the ecological advantages of railroad over road transportation were already present in public discourses from the early 1960s, the Federal German Railroad (Deutsche Bundesbahn) was slow to market its ecological benefits to a growing segment of environmentally conscious customers. This paper will examine the reluctance of a state-owned corporation like the Federal German Railroad to capitalize on its environmental edge both in politcal discourse and in consumer marketing.
Rob Kristofferson
Theorizing Craft-Based Enterprise on the Industrial Periphery: The Early Industrialization of Hamilton, Ontario, in International Context
This paper will survey the literature on nineteenth-century craftsworker migration to North America with a particular focus on the large base of recent British immigrant craftsworkers in Hamilton, Ontario, by the early 1870s. It will show that immigrating craftsworkers saw in such communities a chance to regain control over production processes whose requisite craft skills had been degraded closer to the international economic core, an increased likelihood for social mobility, and a generally more positive experience of the emerging economic system. It will suggest a new way of thinking about the interconnections between craftsworker migration, industrialization, and the transnational development of capitalism, especially as it applied to the growth of industrial economies whose centers and margins were widely dispersed geographically. The BHC audience will find particularly relevant the suggestion that this process helped create particular business environments on the "industrial periphery" characterized by craft-based enterprise mostly owned and controlled by former craftsworkers. Craftsworkers' continued opportunities for mobility in these economies created a workforce that was optimistic about the developing economic system—in stark contrast to the experience of their counterparts closer to the economic core—and thus led to the implementation of specific management systems and workplace relations.
Margot Opdycke Lamme
The Brewers' Battle Against Prohibition, 1909-1919
The idea for the United States Brewers' Association (USBA) was conceived in November 1862 to shape federal tax policy. The larger and perhaps more significant threat to the brewing industry, though, became Prohibition: the abolition of the production and sale of alcohol. This study examines how, through the lens of its own communication efforts, the USBA sought to influence public opinion, and, in turn, public policy, in the face of the Prohibition movement. In particular, it examines the USBA's description of local option campaigns and the USBA's Barley Campaign, which served to develop relationships with the very constituencies that tended to vote dry. It was found that by 1916, though, such efforts proved to be too little, too late. While the USBA consistently defended its patriotism, its legitimacy as an industry, and its benefits to the country, and while it combated the drys' information, it also held a dismissive attitude toward the drys' fervor, adhered to reasonably and logically presented arguments in the face of such frenzy, and took a reactive stance to rising anti-German sentiment and wartime legislation—all of which combined to impede its efforts in diverting the drive toward national prohibition.
William Lazonick
Globalization of the ICT Labor Force
Since the 1960s development strategies of East Asian nations have interacted with investment strategies of US-based ICT companies to generate a global supply of high-tech labor. This process has entailed flows of US capital to East Asian labor and vice versa. In offshoring to access low-skill assembly labor, US multinationals employed indigenous university graduates as managers and engineers. In the host nations, investments in higher education provided foundations for the development of indigenous ICT capabilities but also enabled university graduates to access global career paths that included advanced education and work experience abroad, particularly in the United States. I examine the extent of this potential brain drain by documenting the flow of East Asians to the United States for higher education and work experience over the last four decades. Then I analyze how, through a combination of a) upgrading of the capabilities of the offshored facilities of multinational corporations, b) government investments in research institutes and graduate education, and c) the emergence of indigenous high-tech companies, some East Asian nations reversed the brain drain. In the conclusion I consider the implications of this globalization of labor for developing economies as well as for high-tech employment opportunities in the United States.
Frank Leonard
Railroading a Renegade: Great Northern Ousts John Hendry in Vancouver
This paper probes the troubled relations between J.J. Hill's Great Northern Railway Company (GN) and Vancouver lumberman and railway promoter John Hendry, the president of the GN local subsidiary, as the transcontinental established the last of its Pacific termini in Vancouver during the period 1901-1908. An examination of the surviving records reveals a kind of pandemonium that swirled around GN actions concerning Hill's erstwhile Canadian partner. When the parent concern finally obtained effective control of the local property, a GN officer described the company's affairs in this episode as a "horrible muddle." Drawing on Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., the paper follows the lines of authority and communication between the Vancouver periphery and St. Paul headquarters in the corporate entity that was the GN. But it contends that the actions of company officers in this phase of terminus acquisition did not constitute the "rational economic response" that Chandler associates with administration. Thus, the analysis of this episode departs from the arc of American writing on the GN that suggests that its management was characterized by "efficiency" and "competence." The paper is part of a broader investigation of the activities of railway companies at Pacific termini from Prince Rupert to San Diego.
Alan P. Loeb
Leading the Charge: The Political Economy of Emissions Trading in the Lead Phasedown
: In August 1981 the Reagan White House announced that it would review the "lead phasedown," a set of rules under the Clean Air Act that set the maximum amount of lead allowed in gasoline. Given Reagan's view of regulation, all sides expected that the phasedown would be curtailed. Just the opposite happened. In October 1982 the Environmental Protection Agency issued rules that strengthened the program. Most surprising was the turn-around among refiners. Many who had opposed regulation of gasoline lead since the 1920s came to oppose the White House's deregulatory efforts. Why would an industry decide to abandon its historical opposition to regulation just when favorable politics promised to deliver its victory? First, refiners responded to public opinion, which was squarely opposed to the deregulation. Second, those who had already invested in unleaded octane capacity realized they had a greater interest in competitive equity than in deregulation. But what of the administration's promise to give regulatory relief? That was resolved by designing in an emissions trading program. This allowed small refineries that could not afford to meet the standards by making capital investments to buy lead rights from those who had excess octane capacity and did not need the lead. This tradeoff was unforeseen. Emissions trading had been promoted as a way to get regulatory relief, not to justify regulation. While trading in the phasedown did improve efficiency, as theory predicted, more important was the role the efficiency savings had in creating consensus. This was a breakthrough that opened a new era in regulatory policy and was followed in the groundbreaking acid rain trading program.
Ronald S. Love
Telephones and the Challenge to Monopoly Ownership in the Early Twentieth-Century Canadian West
In the early twentieth century, there erupted a major controversy in Canadian that directly affected the emergent telephone enterprise across the country. This was the debate over private versus public ownership of industries classified as "public utilities." Engaged in the quarrel were two major antagonists: large monopoly corporations determined to protect and expand their control of certain services free from external interference or regulation; and resentful municipalities equally determined to halt the wholesale chartering of public service corporations by federal or provincial governments in a campaign to recover lost autonomy within their own jurisdictions. Connected to the feud were serious questions about the quality of the specific services provided in relation to allegedly exorbitant fees paid by subscribers. While no one doubted that telephones constituted a public utility at the turn of the twentieth century, much of the quarrel over private or public ownership turned on the telephone issue, the example most often referred to by opponents of monopoly when presenting their case. In addition, telephone reform and regulation were the first items to receive the concentrated scrutiny of government authorities, and the question as to whether the industry constituted a "natural" monopoly. In the Canadian west, opposition to private ownership was rooted also in emerging tensions with central Canada, and aimed at eliminating eastern monopoly and recovering control over an important part of the regional economy. Public ownership thus represented a crusade that reverberated across the prairies precisely because it challenged the broader politics of economic domination from central Canada. This explains why Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan adopted a policy of government ownership of telephones, whatever their need to supply service to widely scattered populations that private enterprise refused to undertake.
Anne MacLennan
The Private Business of Public Broadcasting: Canadian Radio during the 1930s
During the 1930s Canadian broadcasting faced new programming, financing, and regulatory challenges presented by a mixture of both private and public broadcasters. The Radio Broadcasting Act in 1932 established the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC), followed by the creation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1936, irrevocably altering established broadcasting patterns. Prime Minister Bennett ushered in the CRBC with the hope that it would be representative of the Dominion of Canada. Despite these lofty goals, licence fees were insufficient to finance a truly national network. Thus independent stations and local programming persisted out of necessity. The national network required commercial programming to make it viable. The resulting combination of local and Canadian network stations offered an unintentional alternative to the increasingly standard and homogenized fare broadcast by major North American networks. This research, based on a content analysis of a systematic random sample of radio schedules in five Canadian cities, demonstrates that the inauguration of a "public" or national broadcasting was not as purely Canadian as early lobbyists hoped. The realities of financing early broadcasting during an economic depression meant that the CBC in a mixed system of its own broadcasts and imported American programs was a double-edged sword.
Robert MacDougall
The Telephone on Main Street: Utility Regulation in the United States and Canada before 1900
How would the history of telecommunications change if we centered our attention on something as mundane as the telephone pole? In this paper I compare the first decades of telephony in the Midwestern United States and Central Canada, arguing for a "bottom-up" history of the information age rooted in local conditions and physical space. We may imagine the telephone as an "annihilator of space," but nineteenth-century telephony was profoundly shaped by its municipal milieu. Historians have chronicled debates over telecommunication at the federal and state or provincial levels. But there is a tumultuous history of local regulation and negotiation that preceded state commissions and national networks. The cities in which municipal government became actively engaged in telephony during the 1880s enjoyed earlier, wider access to telephone service, more interconnection between town and farm, and a less genteel culture of telephone use. Cities without active municipal involvement escaped the chaos of competition but saw more expensive service and less use of the telephone as a social medium. Local politics—and the politics of localism—had a lasting impact on the development of the industry and indeed on the culture and meaning of telephone use.
Niall G. MacKenzie
"Chucking Buns across the Fence"?: Government-Sponsored Industry Development in the Scottish Highlands, 1945-1982
In this paper, I address government economic planning and intervention during the period 1945-1982 in Scottish economic history. I focus specifically on four large-scale industrial projects commissioned and supported by the U.K. government at Dounreay, Corpach, Aviemore, and Invergordon in the Highlands of Scotland that were aimed at diversifying the country's industry and regenerating the area. Although these developments were promoted as the solution to longstanding economic and social problems in the Highlands, they failed to address them adequately. I argue that the industrial projects were not about Highland development per se, but were more concerned with contributing to a quick fix solution to national economic concerns, resulting in their eventual failure.
John Majewski
Agricultural Reform and State Activism in Antebellum Virginia and South Carolina
Beginning in the 1820s, southerners such as Edmund Ruffin and Whitemarsh Seabrook began a long campaign to reform southern agriculture. The agricultural reformers, not coincidentally, aggressively defended slavery, southern rights, and secession. For these men, agricultural reform was a means of giving southerners the economic and political muscle needed to protect slavery. To carry out their agenda, agricultural reformers sought to enlist the aid of state governments. They believed that state governments should pay for experimental farms; that state governments should pay for agricultural professorships; that state governments should pay for agricultural and geological surveys; that state governments should pay for apprenticeship programs to train farmers and overseers; and that state governments should pay for agricultural journals and societies to disseminate new knowledge. Although a variety of political and economic factors ultimately foiled the movement's ambitious legislative agenda, the agricultural reformers nevertheless highlight how southern extremism and state activism often went hand in hand.
Graciela Márquez and Gabriela Recio
Tax Lobbying: The National Association of Beer Producers and the Negotiation of Taxes in Mexico, 1922-1930
Once the violence of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) subsided, industrialists had to adapt to the demands made by the new regimes. By the 1920s the federal government imposed new taxes on the beer industry, and brewers responded by organizing in 1922 the Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Cerveza (National Association of Beer Producers) to lobby the government against such duties. The goal of this paper is to shed some light on the political economy of tax design in Mexico and the importance of business organizations in shaping public policy. We explore how brewers organized their lobbying capacity and how the government responded to their propositions.
Christopher Marquis
The Debate over US Banking Regulations from 1896 to 1978: How Changing Environments Influence Corporate Political Activity
In this paper, I examine the historical debates over liberalization and restriction of US state-level branching regulations from 1896-1978 and how the success of multi-unit and single-unit banks in changing laws is modified by shifting historical conditions. I argue that both the motivation to work to change laws and banks' success in doing so are contingent on aspects of these organizations' economic, technical, and political environments. I conducted historical analyses of meeting minutes of national, regional, and state banking associations to understand why, when, and how banks organize their political activities. Based on these findings and existing theory, I offer a number of hypotheses about when banks are likely to be successful in changing state laws. I test these hypotheses using event history analyses on a database of legal changes in the 48 contiguous US states between 1896 and 1978. As expected, the stronger the presence of multi-unit banks, the more likely it is that states pass more liberal laws; as well, the stronger the presence of single-unit banks, the more likely that states pass more restrictive laws. These effects are accentuated by the economic, technical, and political environments of the states. As state wealth and transportation infrastructure increase, the effect of multi-unit banks on state-level liberalization is enhanced. Conversely, for single-unit banks, the most important factor contributing to restrictive state-level changes is the degree to which neighboring states have restrictive branching laws.
William M. McClenahan, Jr., and William H. Becker
Business, Government, and the Post-World War II Practice of Law in Washington, D.C: The Early History of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
Private Washington lawyers and law firms played an important role in helping business to cope with the increasingly complex federal regulatory, policy, and contracting environment in the thirty years following World War II. Our paper examines the institution of the Washington law firm during this period through a case study of the prominent firm, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (WCP), established in 1962, and its two predecessor firms, organized in 1946. We address the role of WCP in the network of private and public interests that constituted the political economy of the regulatory state that emerged out of the New Deal, World War II, and the Cold War, and that evolved further in response to the social and economic upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. WCP lawyers developed long-standing relationships with major business clients, providing them with a wide variety of services for changing legal needs as the state increased in scope. WCP attorneys detailed their clients' interests and problems to regulators and other government policy officials. In turn, they also explained the law, and the government's perspective, to their business clients, and often advised them on business strategies to cope with changes in regulation and public policy.
Michelle Craig McDonald
The Drink of Diplomats: Government Intervention in the U.S. Coffee Re-Export Trade
This paper uses coffee trading to explore intersections of economic and political objectives in early America. The importance of Caribbean coffee in U.S. trade revenue grew significantly in the first decades after independence. By 1802, almost half of America's trade income came from re-exported, rather than domestically produced, goods. Coffee was one quarter of this re-export trade, and 10 percent of all U.S. trade domestic and foreign—high figures for a commodity that North America never produced itself. This paper follows the innovative efforts of merchants and diplomats to circumvent European imperial trade barriers and draw in the wealth of the West Indies as the U.S. became one of the leading purveyors of coffee in the Atlantic region and, by 1805, to the world. Coffee traders' willingness to seek new trade alliances mirrored efforts of early U.S. foreign relations and fiscal policies to define and defend neutral shipping rights, argue for free port access, and resist foreign tariffs. U.S.-West Indian trade became, as a result, a testing ground for asserting America's position in a commercial world still largely defined by imperial boundaries.
Christopher S. McGahey
Regulating the Ether: The Bureau of Standard, Quartz Crystal, and the Growth of the Radio Frequency Measurement and Control Industry in 1920s America
In 1922, radio broadcasting burst onto the American cultural landscape with a speed unprecedented in the nation's history. Manufacturers such as Western Electric and RCA rushed to produce the transmitters and receivers needed for the new industry's growth. Radio's meteoric rise to popularity seemed to be a triumph of free market capitalism, with industry rapidly meeting the tremendous demand for station transmitters and home receivers. Yet, one crucial aspect of the emerging technological system—quartz-based frequency measurement and control instrumentation—did not spring forth from the free market without prodding and assistance. This technology required a midwife, if you will, to provide market stimulus and aid in the translation of laboratory technology into commercially viable products. By using archival records of the Federal Radio Commission and the Bureau of Standards, as well as catalogs of the General Radio Company, this paper shows that the role of midwife here was played by the Radio Division of the U.S. Bureau of Standards, led by physicist J. Howard Dellinger. The Bureau's strategies for encouraging commercialization of frequency measurement and control technology are examined, as well as some possible reasons why the Bureau's intervention was necessary.
Christopher McKenna
Squaring the Magic Circle: A Comparative History of Law Firms in London and New York, 1950-2000
Although few people know it, nearly half of the largest law firms in the world are British (the remainder are American), a ratio unmatched among any other set of professional firms. The success of the large London law firms after World War II, however, was never assured nor was the strength of the City of London as a financial center. In my paper, I argue that the postwar success of the London law firms was not preordained; their postwar success would come about despite, not because of, the broader economic climate in London over the last fifty years. In particular, through a series of innovations, including the development of Eurobonds, petroleum law, and commercial arbitration, educational reforms, including undergraduate training and postgraduate conversion courses, and meritocratic self-governance, the leading London firms were able to raise their standards while in competition with the powerful American legal system. The contemporary success of the English firms can be measured in their combined revenues of over four billion pounds and their employment of thirteen thousand lawyers, but it is their historical success against sophisticated global rivals that is so particularly remarkable over the second half of the twentieth century.
David Merrett
Copper and Sugar: Post-Colonial Experiences of Australian Multinationals, 1960-2000
This paper reviews the experience of three Australian firms whose performance as multinationals were affected by the colonization and decolonization of Fiji and Papua New Guinea. All were to exit from their respective hosts: the Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR) from Fiji in 1973; Conzinc Riotinto Australia (CRA) from the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville in 1989 and Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) from Ok Tedi mine in PNG in 2002. It is argued that the prior experience of these firms in Australia led them to seriously underestimate the level of political risk they faced in these colonial hosts. The paper resonates with concepts of path dependency, administrative heritage, and psychic distance.
Rory M. Miller
British Firms and Populist Nationalism in Post-War Latin America
Most research on British business in Latin America concludes with the repatriation of British investments in public debt, railways, and urban utilities after the Second World War. In this light it is easy to conclude that British businessmen were unable to cope with the growth of nationalist and populist governments. However, between 1945 and 1960 there was in fact a marked growth of British multinational enterprise in Latin America. Brazil and Argentina both attracted new market-seeking investments during the postwar decade. By the end of the 1950s leading multinational firms were also developing subsidiaries and joint ventures in countries like Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Colombia. Far from being discouraged by nationalist economic policies, leading British firms were impelled by import substitution strategies and increased consumer spending to invest, and they developed new methods of coping with the different varieties of nationalism that they encountered. One important aspect of this was their capacity to learn and transfer techniques from one national environment to another, often across continents. Ultimately, the decline of British business in Latin America resulted more from the problems of the home economy and corporate weakness and restructuring in the UK than from the threat of nationalist and populist governments.
Stephen L. Morgan
Corporate Governance and Institutional Dynamics of Chinese Firms: Experiments in the 1920-30s and Their Contemporary Relevance
Business history has until recently neglected temporal and comparative differences in corporate governance. The paper's premise is that models of corporate governance are embedded in historically shaped cultural and institutional frameworks that enable and constrain owners, investors, managers, and the state. Path dependency may explain some differences, but national systems of governance have not developed in isolation. We explore this argument with data from China in the 1920s and 1930s that allows us to discuss the influence of domestic and foreign models of enterprise organization and governance. We focus on how business network ties that are pervasive in the Chinese context were crucial for governance of inter-firm and investor relations in China at the time. Many institutional aspects are similar to the competitive environment of China today, with a mix of state-owned, private, hybrid and foreign firms active. The paper draws on archives for Chinese enterprises of the early twentieth century and the business associations that promoted modern approaches to management and governance.
Heather Nelson
Fighting the Crown Corporation: Automobile Insurance in Saskatchewan, 1945-1966
The creation of the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Office and the Automobile Accident Insurance Act (AAIA) by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation government in the 1940s ended insurance industry-government relations in Saskatchewan. The AAIA introduced public compulsory automobile insurance for the first time. Controversial in its own right, the AAIA also limited private insurance industry participation in the Saskatchewan market. Insurance companies responded quietly by selling supplementary insurance. As the government limited industry participation by legislating increases in compulsory coverage the insurance industry was forced to aggressively compete with the government insurer to preserve its place in the Saskatchewan market. This conflict destroyed any remaining private link between the government and the insurance industry. The paper argues that the government decision to legislate itself into the insurance industry and the industry's aggressive challenge of government policy created a relationship premised on public dispute instead of the private negotiation of policy common in insurance industry-government relations elsewhere. By the 1960s, even a change of political leadership in the province could not heal the damage caused by twenty years of industry-government animosity.
Franklin Noll
The Political Economy of Making Money: Quality and Control in National Bank Note Production, 1863-1877
National Bank notes have been studied for many years—how they came to be, how they affected monetary history, etc. But no one has studied how they came actually to be printed and made real objects. The political economy of note production was an odd amalgam as concerns over the attractiveness and authenticity of the note were intertwined with desires for control and profit. The engagement of these various factors is seen most clearly between the years 1863 and 1877, when it was not entirely clear who had control over the printing and circulation of National Bank notes. During this period the upholding of quality standards for National Bank notes was repeatedly invoked as a way to get control of the national currency for political or financial reasons. Thus, in 1863, Comptroller of the Currency Hugh McCulloch fought with the Treasury over who would control note production by arguing that his private printers would produce a higher-quality note than the printers inside the Treasury. The Comptroller's office later gained a better method of note redemption by appealing to Congress's concern over the cleanliness of notes in circulation. Lastly, the Treasury and the bank note companies used arguments of aesthetics and currency authenticity as weapons in a battle over who would produce National Bank notes in the 1870s.
Daniel Opler
Counter-Revolution: Anti-Communism, Labor, and the Rise of Self-Service in New York City, 1948-1953
Department store workers' unions in New York City were in many respects extremely powerful. Yet even these unions, whose leaders recognized self-service as a threat to workers' jobs by the early 1950s, failed utterly in their efforts to prevent the institution of self-service retailing. In this paper, I explore why the unions' campaign against self-service failed, focusing particularly on American anti-Communism during the late 1940s and early 1950s as a major cause of the failure to prevent what industry experts at the time described as the self-service "revolution" in retailing. Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, the relatively radical unions representing workers in New York City's department stores were under constant attack from more conservative unions. In this environment, radical union leaders were far more willing than they might otherwise have been to allow self-service retailing to be put into place. While leaders' occasional willingness to back down was certainly one reason the unions failed to defeat self-service, it was not the only way in which anti-Communism made possible the institution of self-service retailing. When union leaders did fight against the rise of self-service, most importantly during a strike against self-service and the accompanying layoffs at the Hearn's store, union leaders nonetheless found anti-Communism a major obstacle. Store managers bought advertisements in the city's newspapers accusing the union leaders of being Communists. The National Labor Relations Board refused to support the unions' charge that eliminating jobs in order to create a self-service store was an unfair labor practice, and the state Supreme Court issued an injunction against picketing at Hearn's. Trying to prove to the public that they were not Communists, union leaders quietly abided by the injunction, in the process abandoning their efforts to prevent the self-service revolution.
Mary A. O'Sullivan
Riding the Wave: The U.S. Financial Markets and the Postwar Electronics Boom
In this paper, I analyze the relationship between the rapidly developing electronics sector and the US financial markets in the postwar decades by focusing on security issues undertaken by electronics companies. I argue that there was an important expansion in the number of electronics companies issuing securities in the 1950s. Even more striking is a change in the characteristics of these companies, with a marked growth in the number of fledgling enterprises. I analyze the characteristics of the US financial markets that allowed financiers to ride the wave of the booming electronics industry and point to the structure and dynamics of the trading markets that constituted the US stock market in the postwar period, developments in the investment banking business and the changing sentiment of investors and, in particular, their greater appetite for speculative issues in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Kimberley Phillips-Fein
American Corporate Mobilization and Conservative Politics in the 1970s
This paper argues that American corporations became more interested in finding ways to influence legislators and also the broader public debate about business in America in the early 1970s. This expressed itself in terms of the revitalization of business organizations like the United States Chamber of Commerce and also in the formation of new organizations like the Business Roundtable, as well as in the upsurge of involvement in think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute. I suggest that ultimately, the Reagan campaign for the presidency in 1980 was able to capitalize upon this increased level of business activity in politics. I also suggest that historians need to pay more attention to the relationship between this political mobilization of business and other aspects of the conservative movement, like the spread of cultural conservatism.
Núria Puig and Rafael Castro
Changing and Persisting Patterns of International Investment: French and German Capital in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Spain
In this paper, we address the long-term evolution of international investment, examining patterns in two major home economies (France and Germany) and a major host economy (Spain) over 150 years. We look at French and German investment models, the ways they related to the wide institutional context, cultural background, and technological and organizational abilities of French and German firms, and how they have changed in response to challenges. We pay particular attention to the predominantly "political" versus "technical" nature of French and German investment, as well as to business and economic diplomacy in each country. We conclude that, although both models show a considerable degree of inertia over time, the French pattern underwent significant changes that helped French capital and expertise to overcome a long period of decline and play a leading role in Spain's late industrialization and ongoing transformation into a service economy. In contrast, the German pattern was strikingly stable, closely linked to German firms' original focus and capabilities as they overcame major exogenous shocks in the central decades of the twentieth century.
Evan Roberts
Women's Rights and Women's Labor: Married Women's Property Laws and Labor Force Participation, 1860-1900
Between 1860 and 1910, wives' rights to own property, retain their own earnings, and do business on their own account, separate from their husbands, were extended throughout most American states. I use census data to estimate the effects of changes in property laws on married women's gainful employment. Individual-level census data controls for individual and family factors that affect wives' decisions to work, while differences in the timing of legal change across the states permits identification of the effects of legal change. After holding individual and state-specific factors constant, the effects of change in married women's property legislation on married women's labor force participation was trivially small and negative for white women. For black women, initial results suggest that the property laws could have had an effect. Because of the substantial other legal and socio-economic changes affecting the black population at this time, it is not clear that the property laws are the proximate cause of this change. The overall effect of the laws is dominated by the impact for white women, which is zero or slightly negative (the laws decreased participation). Married women's property reform in the late nineteenth century had no substantial effects on labor force participation.
Daniel Robinson
Philip Morris, Art Philanthropy, and "Health Controversy," 1965-1980
This paper examines Philip Morris's support of visual artists from the mid-1960s until the mid-1980s. Philip Morris was an early sponsor of performing groups and visual artists in the United States. It was notable for its pioneering support of (then controversial) Pop, Op, and Conceptual art styles, funding exhibitions with works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, among many others. The paper examines the company's art philanthropy within the context of public relations efforts to manage smoking-related controversies. Philip Morris executives believed that funding art shows and museum exhibitions forged ties with "opinion leaders," those politicians, journalists, business leaders, civil servants, and educators typically drawn to the arts. Influencing these groups, it was thought, would improve the social climate for smoking and the regulatory context for cigarette merchandising. Philip Morris officials regarded art philanthropy, in part, as a means for fostering social legitimacy, both for the corporation and for the tobacco industry itself, as they confronted mounting forms of public opposition.
Neil Rollings
British Industry, the EEC, and Barriers to Cross-National European Mergers in the 1960s
The rapid expansion of American multinationals into Europe in the 1960s is a well-documented phenomenon, famously called "the American challenge" by Servan-Schreiber. His call for the creation of Eurochampions to face up to this challenge received close attention but ultimately led to few such European transnational companies. This paper addresses the reasons for this lack of response from the perspective of British industry. It illustrates first, that British industry did invest in Western Europe earlier than commonly thought. Second, it shows that a range of barriers hindered further such investment and, in particular, operated against the creation of European transnational companies. The barriers highlighted are exchange control, the lack of company law harmonization, the lack of corporate tax harmonization, and what were often called at the time socio-psychological differences. This last type of barrier often meant that there was no single market in the EEC and that, given this, there was little perceived need for the creation of such companies; and when they were created, as in the case of the Dunlop-Pirelli union of 1970, they failed to operate effectively.
Duncan M. Ross
Inward Investment in Scotland, 1945-2005
Scotland in the immediate postwar years suffered from its Victorian industrial inheritance and, given the low wages and lack of dynamism in the domestic economy, inward investment was one of the key strategies for diversification and transformation. This policy was highly successful, and Scotland came to dominate the UK in terms of FDI. American companies—and particularly those in the electronics sector—came to Scotland in large numbers in the 1950s and 1960s. These investments were sought—and policy incentives predicated—on the belief that there would be significant demonstration and learning effects, with important supply chain and spillover benefits. The peak of foreign employment in Scotland was reached in the mid-1970s, however, and it became clear that the extent of embeddedness was limited. Management and R&D jobs were scarce, and the investments could be easily moved as part of a larger production strategy. These factors became apparent at the moment when unemployment began to grow even more rapidly, and policy in the 1980s exaggerated Scotland's reliance on transient, low-skill assembly jobs. The shift in production patterns from the late 1990s has meant a second wave of closures and retreats. A change in strategy—focused on indigenous skills and domestic growth—came in 2001 with the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
J. Andrew Ross
"A welcome diversion"? The Business of Hockey in the Second World War
This paper examines the place of commercial hockey in Second World War Canada and the United States, with special reference to the National Hockey League. The war highlights many of the themes that characterized the history of the hockey industry. First, the war exacerbated the tension between hockey's a) social/cultural and b) commercial/industrial roles, which had previously been seen in the amateur-professional conflict. Second, the war brought government into the picture; while before there was little government regulation other than the tacit allowance of restrictive labor contracts (reserve clauses, etc.), the increasing state control over industry and manpower in general could not help but intrude into the arena. Third, as a consequence of the increasing government interest, issues of transnational scope became important as the league and its clubs negotiated their status with governments and each other. Thus, World War II highlights these main themes and is, I argue, a watershed event that resulted in the first explicit definition of the hockey industry's cultural-commercial status.
Andrew L. Russell
P. G. Agnew and the Consensus Principle for American Industrial Standards
You have probably never heard of Paul Gough Agnew, but he played an important role in one of the decisive aspects of the twentieth-century phase of America's Second Industrial Revolution. From 1919 to 1948, Agnew served as secretary of the American Engineering Standards Committee (AESC). The AESC, founded in 1918 by representatives from five professional engineering societies, was a private organization that coordinated the standardization activities of private firms, technical societies, and trade associations. For the next thirty-five years, Agnew was a leading spokesman and administrator for the American industrial standards movement. In 1928, the AESC refined its mission and changed its name to the American Standards Association (ASA). As part of this reorganization, the ASA defined its "consensus principle," which stipulated that all parties with an interest in a proposed standard should have a voice in the standardization process. This paper considers the governance aspects of standardization; in other words, it analyzes the standardization process as a political process. For historians, Agnew and the consensus principle are significant because they provided a viable strategy for high-tech firms to exchange technical information. The ideas and institutions of industrial standardization were important instances of cooperation that sustained the American style of competitive managerial capitalism.
Karen Miller Russell
Shareholders as PR Tools: AT&T and Federal Regulation, 1927-1941
In 1921, AT&T created Bell Telephone Securities, whose role was to spread stock ownership among a large number of people. During the Depression, customers cut back on telephone use, but AT&T refused to lower its rates, and the Bell System cut back on employee hours at an alarming rate. At the same time, AT&T maintained its $9 dividend. Why was it so important to AT&T executives that, even at the expense of employees and consumers, the company should have so many shareholders, and shareholders who were so contented? The answer lies in the larger role of public relations in the Bell System. In fact, the head of AT&T's Information Department from 1927 to 1947, Arthur W. Page, was also the president of Bell Securities from 1927 to 1936. Through examination of FCC reports and the archival collections of Arthur Page and AT&T, this paper shows that mass ownership was intimately tied to AT&T public relations and therefore to AT&T's efforts to protect its position as a regulated monopoly. Shareholders served as PR tools by seeming to give truth to an AT&T slogan, "A Publicly Owned, Privately Operated Utility."
Joshua Salzmann
The Geography of Jurisprudence: Public Lands for Private Profit, Illinois Central v. Illinois, 1892
The Supreme Court's ruling in Lochner v. New York (1905) has come to symbolize the court's supposed antipathy to state economic regulation. However, late nineteenth-century jurists, including the famous advocate for Constitutional limitations on legislative power Stephen Field, often encouraged state economic regulations in key industries like transportation. This paper examines the history of one such case, Illinois Central v. Illinois (1892). In Illinois Central, Field nullified an 1869 grant by the Illinois legislature which conveyed valuable submerged lands along Chicago's waterfront to the Illinois Central Railroad. The state, Field proclaimed, could not abdicate control over submerged lands along Chicago's waterfront because the legislature was obligated to hold and manage those lands "in trust" for the people. This paper contends that Field asserted public power in Illinois Central not as a proto-progressive, but as a good capitalist trying to promote economic development. Field recognized that Chicago's harbor, positioned at a break-point in east-west rail and water transshipment, occupied a crucial geographic location. Field reasoned that state ownership and regulation of the lands beneath Chicago's waterfront was essential to ensure that shippers had access to the city's port. Ultimately, Field's ruling had unanticipated consequences that transformed Chicago's waterfront and twentieth-century environmentalism.
Joseph Santos
Going against the Grain: Why Did Wheat Marketing in the United States and Canada Evolve So Differently?
By the turn of the twentieth century, commodity futures exchanges were an integral part of large-scale commercial grain marketing in North America. However, during the First World War, the U.S. and Canadian governments suspended grain futures trading and assumed complete control of the North American grain trade in order to supply wheat to the Allies at fixed prices. The episode marked a shift toward comprehensive agricultural policies in both countries. By the Second World War, the countries marketed wheat very differently. The United States relied primarily on private commodity futures exchanges; Canada relied on the Canadian Wheat Board, which ultimately required producers to deliver wheat to the Board, eliminating wheat futures trading. I argue that the First World War and changes in the U.S. and Canadian world grain market positions shaped each country's interwar agricultural policies and fashioned, by the Second World War, very different wheat-marketing schemes. Interwar policies reflected the changing domestic and foreign consumption shares of each country's wheat production, as well as wheat production's importance to each country's economy. I focus on five interwar policy events and demonstrate how these events likely shaped U.S. and Canadian grain marketing by the Second World War.
Mohammed Sassi
Compagnie Française des Pétroles and Its Contribution to the Re-establishment of France's Position among the Oil Countries after the Second World War
In the race to control oil sources, France found itself in a defensive position in the Middle East at the end of the Second World War. Faced with a new American domination of the area, particularly with the creation of the Arabian American Company (ARAMCO), the Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP) and the French state chose a compromise solution, which imposed a double strategy on the CFP. The first tactic, jointly with the state, consisted of a strong diplomatic mobilization; the second consisted of diversification in the Middle East and the development of Algerian Sahara and West African oil resources. This strategy bore additional fruit in that it allowed an acceleration of technological development as well as the valorization of purchases in francs. The postwar period thus provided a perfect example of a complementary state-private company activity in the oil economy.
Benjamin Schwantes
At War With Time and Space: The United States Military Railroad and the Civil War Military-Civilian Managerial Nexus
"At War With Time and Space" examines the relationship between railroad managerial practices and telegraphy during the Civil War, and focuses on the debate between senior managers in the United States Military Railroad service over the role of the telegraph in military railroad operations. Some managers such as D.C. McCallum, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Railroads, firmly believed in the value of telegraphy for supervising and altering train movements, and communicating critical railroad business rapidly between distant points. Others, like railroader Herman Haupt, scoffed at McCallum's methods and ran his trains from the field according to strict timetables. Ultimately, McCallum's practices prevailed and served as an example for a new generation of railroad managers who came of age during the conflict.
William R. Scott
Suburbia, Self-Service, and Sportswear: Los Angeles Men's Clothing Merchandising, 1925-1960
Beginning in the late 1920s, and continuing through the 1950s, Los Angeles merchants pioneered automobile-centered, "neighborhood" shopping, most notably along the strip of Wilshire Boulevard that came to be known as the "Miracle Mile." These Los Angeles department stores and specialty stores adopted self-service merchandising alongside these innovations. Self-service was not entirely new. Discounters like Sears and Montgomery Ward borrowed from supermarkets to originate the practice in the clothing industry. Nevertheless, this use of self-selection among stores "of distinction" marked a sea-change in clothing retailing. In the Los Angeles context, self-service came to have a few, perhaps unsurprising, bedfellows: automobile-oriented architecture; informal, suburban shopping; open and free-flowing interior design; streamlined, "popular modernist" fixtures and décor. Self-service was also associated with a particular form of merchandise: men's leisure clothing, or sportswear. California men's sportswear and suburban, self-service shopping represented the increasing cultural importance of leisure, informality, and convenience. While providing the national and regional contexts, my paper will focus on the retail development of Wilshire Blvd., an area reputed to have "the largest concentration of men's stores in the West—or anywhere for that matter." These stores first incorporated self-service through the merchandising of sportswear, only later taking suits, hats, and dress shirts from behind glass displays and onto the floor for customer perusal. The interior architects of department stores like Bullock's Wilshire made the sportswear departments the most open, modernist spaces in the store. Men's wear retailers like Desmond's adopted California sportswear, modernist architecture, and self-service together, providing a model for stores nationwide. At the end of the era, both merchandising practices and American men's styles had been irrevocably transformed.
Susan Shaler
Resurrection of the Robber Barons: Reassessing the Theory of the Firm
[see Clark Muntean]

John Smart
Nortel and the Canadian Governemnt
Until its eclipse in 2000 Nortel was historically the largest and most successful high technology company in Canadian history. The federal government played a pivotal role in its early successes in the 1950s and 1960s but was nowhere to be found as the company faltered and almost disappeared. Ottawa went out of its way to help Northern Electric build new research labs in Ottawa after 1958 and then heavily subsidized Northern's digital telephone strategy after 1968. The Nortel case provides a unique look at how changing attitudes to business stimulus and innovation affected a major Canadian company. The paper concentrates on two episodes in Nortel's history—the creation of Bell-Northern Research on government land in Ottawa in 1958 and the foundation of Microsystems International (Northern's chip factory) with federal money in 1968 and contrasts this early hands-on treatment of the company with the hands-off attitude adopted by Ottawa as the company almost collapsed after 2000.
Simon D. Smith
Managing a West Indian Interest: The Lascelles' Caribbean Estates (1790-1847)
The Lascelles family ranked among the largest of all Caribbean proprietors. During the fourteen years after 1773, the family acquired +27,000 acres and nearly 3,000 slaves, having previously owned comparatively little real estate in the West Indies. Their efforts at managing up to 24 estates are interpreted in the context of the literature on absentee plantation ownership (critical and revisionist). A "profits" approach (profit = net-revenue/capital value) to performance is compared with DEA (data envelopment analysis). During the 1790s, the Lascelles' estates were characterised by a low and falling ratio of net to gross revenue, and returns failed to match the sectoral average. During the period 1805-20, this situation was reversed. DEA analysis reveals that the Lascelles improved performance by selling, merging, or abandoning their least efficient properties. Accountancy reforms (more systematic bookkeeping) resulted in tighter cost controls and better decision making. Consolidation and retrenchment, resulting in repatriation of capital (estate sales and debt collection) formed the basis of policy. Careful monitoring and well-timed sales enabled the Lascelles to avoid the worst effects of non-residency.
Kendra Smith-Howard
Setting Standards for Milk: Politics and Science in Progressive Era America
Turn-of-the-twentieth-century milk drinkers in the United States risked contracting a variety of infectious diseases. To remedy the risks of impure milk, public health departments and agricultural officials sought to set standards for milk production and distribution. Most Americans agreed that the healthfulness of milk required protection, yet the process of establishing milk standards was not a smooth one. Americans debated fiercely about which methods should be used to evaluate milk safety and what scale of government should be entrusted with its protection. Eventually, standards emerged that relied on a mixture of local control and state or federal oversight, depended on health and agricultural officials, and blended inspection methods of observation and bacteriological examination. Though nearly all cities had standards for milk quality by the 1920s, the laws governing milk differed so greatly that milk accepted by one community might be rejected by another. Not until 1959 would a nationwide ordinance to govern the production and distribution of milk come about. By recognizing the limitations of Progressive Era milk reform, this paper reframes the relationship between reformers and resisters of standardization, and calls attention to interactions between government officials in establishing milk standards.
Kathryn Steen
A Tariff to Dye For: The U.S. Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry and the Tariff of 1922
The Tariff of 1922 (Fordney-McCumber) became an integral part of U.S. policies to promote a domestic synthetic organic chemicals industry after World War I severed the supply of German dyes and related chemicals. Not only were the rates particularly high, even by standards of the isolationist age, but other provisions of the tariff aided the domestic industry through the information gathered about chemical imports as they came through customs. The leading trade association for the industry worked closely with customs officers to implement the law's new provisions in the way most advantageous to the industry.
Lisa Sumner
"Masterpiece of the Blenders' Art": The Seagram Company's Cultivation of National Identity in Post-Prohibition Montreal
My paper examines how the Seagram Company participated in the articulation of Canadian nationalism in Montreal, focusing primarily on early advertising campaigns of the 1930s-1950s. I argue that the relationship between the Seagram Company and discursive attempts to engender Canadian cultural and political cohesion operated more through mutual enrichment rather than simple commercial exploitation of nationalist sentiment. Associations with modern refinement were encouraged through the ads' expression in the popular magazines of the period, which helped to create a modern, fashionable appeal around both Seagram's Canadian whisky and the national narrative it was textually linked with. Early nationalist Seagram's ads demonstrate an important dimension of the Bronfmans' participation in discourses of nation-building and inclusion in dominant circles of Canadian power, and illustrate how marketing techniques aided in the popular diffusion of a nationalist heritage and cultural iconography. In terms of public relations, the case of the Seagram Company in Montreal demonstrates both the strategic advantages and also the limitations of tapping into nationalist discourses where national identity, patrimony, and ruling power are contested, divisive, and unstable.
Graham D. Taylor
"From Shirtsleeves to Shirtless": The Bronfman Dynasty and the Seagram Empire
In this paper, I focus on the three generations of Bronfman family management of the Seagram Company and on the question of whether their ultimate loss of the company was the result of a failure to adopt a professional management structure. Samuel Bronfman wrested control of Seagram from his brothers in the 1930s and ran it as a one-man show; the firm attained a dominant position in the North American liquor industry largely because of his entrepreneurial skills. During the 1960s and 1970s, sons Edgar and Charles sustained Seagram through an era of growing international competition, introducing a more professional system of management. However, at the strategic decision-making level, family members continued to play a crucial role. The second generation's limited changes became apparent during the 1990s, when Edgar Bronfman, Jr., steered the company into a major change of course into the media and entertainment industry, culminating in the disastrous Vivendi merger in 2000. I argue that the critical problem was less Edgar Bronfman, Jr.'s competence than the decision to diversify into a field in which Seagram's organizational capabilities were of limited applicability.
Janice Traflet
Wall Street's "War with Washington": A Clausewitzian Analysis of How the NYSE Fought the New Deal (and Didn't Lose)
While immensely important, the Securities Act of 1934 (creating the Securities and Exchange Commission) did not represent the end of the New Deal's efforts to reform Wall Street, nor did it represent the end of the NYSE's fight to thwart such external "interference." In fact, as this paper highlights, the Exchange's so-called "War with Washington" escalated to its most intense phase during the recession years of 1937 and 1938. Ironically, despite committing serious tactical mistakes, the NYSE emerged in 1939 from the ordeal battered but with its core self-regulatory structure perhaps surprisingly intact. Applying a Clausewitzian analysis of the combatants' tactics, this paper uses the war metaphor to shed light on the evolution and outcome of Wall Street's bitter battle with Washington during the later Depression years.
Gail D. Triner
State-Owned Enterprise, Industrialization and Subsoil Property Rights: Brazil in the 1930s and 1940s
In the 1930s and 1940s state-directed industrialization took firm root in Brazil. This paper explores one of the strongest and earliest efforts in this activity, the formation of a state-owned enterprise for iron-ore mining, in the context of property rights theories about public goods. Doing so highlights the political economy of allocating to the public domain the property rights to natural resources in order to build state-owned enterprise. It also illustrates the process by which Brazil established one of the most economically interventionist states of the twentieth century. Focusing on the transformation of the British-owned Itabira Iron Ore Company into Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, a state-owned enterprise, demonstrates the expansion of the concept of the public domain that Brazilians invoked. The Brazilian state reverted to earlier property definitions that protected its sovereignty over the subsoil and mineral resources, and it used the global strategic circumstances of World War II to great advantage. As a result, the Brazilian state built its own role in the economy while promoting large-scale industry in the twentieth century.
Steven Usselman
Globalization and the Pulp and Paper Industry
This essay evaluates major ideas and concepts presented by Manuel Castells in his monumental trilogy, The Information Age, by attempting to apply them to recent developments in the global pulp and paper industries. It pays particular attention to changing governance structures at the levels of the firm, the region, the nation, and the globe. Though slow to feel the winds of globalization, the pulp and paper industries have increasingly followed a course of change anticipated by Castells. The first inklings of change came in the form of global capital flows mobilized through multinational corporations looking to enter new markets. Early on, this occurred with Finnish and Swedish conglomerates entering the North American market. More recently, global investment has flowed toward an emerging network of global trade through which pulp obtained from rapidly maturing species in tropical settings is shipped to manufacturing facilities in developing nations with large internal demand and potential for export. As Castells would anticipate, this global network has involved some loosening of tight vertical coordination, as evident in the mounting separation of pulp supply from paper production within North America and around the world. Yet multinationals remain important. Many multinationals, moreover, have operated under persistent influence from their established home nation-states, whose identities are often bound closely to the health of the forest products industries. At present such national ties are weakening, though they often remain strong at the regional level. As Castells has observed in other industries, with globalization, regional authorities have thus risen in prominence relative to nation-states. At the same time, transnational groups such as Greenpeace have come to exert progressively more influence over environmental governance, generally by exerting pressure directly upon multinationals themselves. In general, this approach has proven more influential than formal transnational governance mechanisms entered into by nation-states.
Domenic Vitiello
Monopolizing the Metropolis: The All-Night Poker Players and the Business of City-Building
Between the 1870s and 1910s, a group of capitalists and politicians led by William Whitney in New York, Peter Widener in Philadelphia, and Charles Yerkes in Chicago consolidated the transit, gas, and electric utilities of about 100 American cities. In the process, they transformed the enterprise and political economy of urbanization and early suburbanization. Part of a collective biography of these utility monopolists, this paper surveys how they restructured metropolitan Philadelphia in the Gilded Age. Serving as city and state treasurers and city councilmen, Widener and his colleagues influenced road construction, parks, and early zoning laws (not to mention leasing public utility infrastructure to their holding companies). Through their "public/private ventures" in real estate and urban development, they shaped the metropolitan geography of class and race. Through such institutions as the suburban middle-class amusement park and the art museum they convinced the city government to build, they helped transform conceptions of the city from a place of production to a place of consumption. But just how coherent was their vision? How coordinated were their diverse ventures? What was their relationship with "the public"? How did they build their monopolies? Were Philadelphians really content with their corruption—and if so, why?
Dean V. Williamson
The Financial Structure of Commercial Revolution: Financing Long-Distance Trade in Venice, 1190-1220, and Venetian Crete, 1303-1400
How did European merchants finance the Commercial Revolution? The principal narrative points up the role of long-distance trade in enabling economic expansion, and it highlights a role for commenda contracts in enabling merchants to share risks and mobilize investment for long-distance trade. While the study points up a role for commenda contracts, it also illuminates trade-offs merchants and their agents encountered in choosing between equity-like schemes (commenda) and debt financing. The study works out of a dataset of 1,633 maritime contracts and demonstrates that it was debt, not commenda, that financed trade on the frontiers of the trade economy. The result fills a gap in the narrative, because debt constituted an important tool in the merchant's contracting toolbox, yet the conventional narrative has little or nothing to say about it. The result delimits the roles of both formal and informal enforcement mechanisms in enabling long-distance trade.
John Wilson
Image and Identity in British Management: From Salaried to Professional Management, 1945-2000
Over the course of the last fifty years, British business has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis, moving from the personal or proprietorial stages to fully fledged managerial capitalism. After surveying the main reasons behind these changes, the principal aim of this paper will be to assess the extent to which this has influenced the image and identity of Britain's professional managers. The research on which this paper is based arises out of a forthcoming book, jointly written with Andrew Thomson, that traces the long-term development of British management. This will lead us into an examination of some fundamental questions relating to the changing nature of management in Britain over the course of the twentieth century.
JoAnne Yates and Craig N. Murphy
From Setting National Standards to Coordinating International Standards: The Formation of the ISO
At the end of the First World War, some leaders of the newly established American Engineering Standards Committee (AESC) and of its slightly older British counterpart shared a vision of a comprehensive international standard-setting body. A generation later, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was created. The records of the AESC, ISO, and of the ISO's short-lived predecessors reveal the international conflicts and jurisdictional disputes among national standards bodies, professional engineers, trade associations, and others that had to be overcome to realize the original vision. The slow accretion of institutional innovations promoted eventual agreement. The ISO organized its work through voluntary technical committees characteristic of the earlier British and American bodies. Having different national standards bodies serve as the secretariats of different technical committees encouraged buy-in and helped finesse the conflict between those who wanted the international organization to have only a coordinating role and those who wanted it to set standards.
Rita Zajacz
The Hegemon-Centric Corporation
In the early 1930s, the American government was asked to decide about the applications of two multinational corporations, United Fruit and I.T.T., for a radio license in the Republic of Panama. The clashing perspectives of the Navy and the State Departments reveal that naval policymakers at the time formulated a theory about the impact of international expansion on the identities and loyalties of MNCs. The linchpin of the Navy's theory was that expansion exposed companies to host state influence. The most threatening scenario was exemplified by I.T.T.: the transformation of American companies into hegemon-centric firms, loyal to the most powerful state in the system. This seemingly inconsequential license decision, therefore, demonstrates not only that theories of international expansion exist outside academia, but also that contemporary MNC typology cannot accommodate policymakers' perspectives, which might spell the difference between success or failure in international expansion.
Tim Ziaukus
The Electric Chair as Promotional Tool: An Episode in "The Battle of the Currents"
By the late 1880s, the struggle to reach a national standard by which to deliver electricity to a power-hungry populace came down to the clash between those who supported direct current (DC) and those who advocated alternating current (AC), a struggle often referred to as "the battle of the currents." Specifically, this decade-long clash (circa 1886-1895) became an increasingly personal conflict between two of the era's great inventors and industrial figures, George Westinghouse and Thomas A. Edison. When Edison's forces began to lose to the more efficient Westinghouse method, the great inventor and his surrogates persuaded the New York legislature to use Westinghouse's AC to execute criminals, a macabre propaganda tool, it could be argued, used to ensure a market through the manipulation of government officials. This presentation, thus, examines the electric chair as a promotional tool in "the battle of the currents."

             © 2006 Business History Conference