2011 Annual Meeting
St. Louis, Missouri
31 March2 April 2011
Sean Patrick Adams
Unanticipated Casualties: The Institutional Rebirth of Coal and Oil during the American Civil War
The American Civil War profoundly altered the political economy of energy. Coal and oil production did not see rapid increases as the result of war demand; instead, the institutional setting in which resource extraction occurred saw a massive reorganization from 1861 to 1865. The corporate form of enterprise, long held in political suspicion as "soulless monsters" in the antebellum period, benefited from the Union's procurement systems during the American Civil War just as many northern railroads saw a boost in traffic, incentives to increase carrying capacity, and a source of revenue with tonnage taxes. The close relationship between railroads, indeed with corporations in general, and state and federal policymakers emerged as a major factor in the postbellum economy; this relationship did not develop "naturally," but instead came as a response to the unique challenges of wartime. The American coal and oil trade, largely centered in Pennsylvania, thus saw a swift and critical institutional reorganization occur that wedded railroads, the corporate form of enterprise, and state government into a lockstep arrangement that would persevere for decades. This development occurred without much plan or foresight; indeed, that institutional change in Pennsylvania was the result of distraction as much as determination.
Scholars from various disciplines have assessed the relationship between academia and industry, particularly in recent years, when the rise of the knowledge economy coincided with a greater emphasis on the university's role in economic development. This paper is about the role that engineering education played in the turf battle between the University of California and the state colleges that preceded California's Master Plan for Higher Education. It is about external influences on the supply and demand for engineering education in California. Regarding supply: It is about the role that a private university (Stanford University) played in the direction that public higher education would take. Regarding demand: It is about the irony that organizations headquartered elsewhere could help catalyze the reshaping of California's system of higher education. Finally, it is about how the combination of supply and demand forces led to the creation of the engineering program at San Jose State and its subsequent expansion of scope.
Michael R. Adamson
The Development and Transfer of Tax Ideas: The International Advisory Missions of Carl Shoup
This paper asks how we should understand the effectiveness of international financial missions conducted by American experts. Should financial missions be judged in terms of policy implementation, either in the short term or long term, or both? If not, should we consider them in terms of knowledge transfer? If the latter, how do we assess the transfer of ideas on fiscal and tax reform? To put consideration of these questions into context, this paper considers five missions: Cuba (1921-1923), Cuba (1931-1932), Cuba (1938-1939), Puerto Rico (1943), and Japan (1949). The discussion highlights the heterogeneity of the contexts within which the missions occurred. I conclude that strong mission support from Washington may be decisive in determining whether ideas are translated into policy, yet domestic political leadership is also crucial in the absence of a U.S. receivership. Support on the part of host government leaders may not be sufficient for the realization of recommendations as policy, however. The host government must also possess or acquire the institutional capacity to administer tax policy. The paper also notes that path dependency in tax regimes can withstand a major crisis, such as civil war or depression, if the institutional foundation for regime change is not firmly established.
Joseph M. Adelman
Printers' Networks and the Business of Producing Political News in Revolutionary America
This paper argues that printers were crucial mediators of political communications during the Revolution. Focusing on the business networks that printers established and developed through the ordinary course of running their printing offices reveals a new way to understand the production of revolutionary ideology. Through the everyday activity of running their businesses, printers came into contact with communication in oral, manuscript, and printed form. As editors and compilers, they made crucial decisions about what material to publish and what points to emphasize. Printers then circulated that news through their networks, producing revolutionary discourse mediated and generated by their business networks and interests. The paper therefore combines the traditional study of political history with the innovative methodologies of the history of the book to uncover the ways in which business interests suffused and shaped the circulation and transmission of political news and debate.
Developing Organizational Capabilities through Foreign Aid and Foreign Direct Investment: The Emergence of Engineering Consulting in Spain, 1953-1975
This paper analyzes the contribution of foreign aid and foreign direct investment to the development of organizational capabilities in late industrializing countries. It does so by studying the formation of a knowledge-based activityengineering consultingin Spain, a relatively backward country. Founded on U.S. technology and know-how, this activity grew exponentially in Spain as in the rest of Europe after the Second World War. American knowledge was disseminated in two ways: one private, through direct investment and strategic alliances between companies in both countries; and the other official, through the technical and military aid provided by the United States during the Cold War. The paper concludes that the largest Spanish engineering firms have been able to transform imported knowledge into their own organizational capabilities, particularly project execution capabilities, enabling them to compete successfully in international markets. The research sheds new light on the firm-level dynamics behind international aid as well as the interaction between inward and outward foreign direct investment suggested by the investment development path framework.
Learning from Experience: The Diverging Views of Albert Hirschman and the World Bank on the Birth of Project Appraisal
For an institution engaged in development finance such as the World Bank, project evaluation is a fundamental activity. Yet, such a function was conceptualized by the Bank only in the 1960s and became operational only in the early 1970s, more than twenty-five years after the Bank was created. Why this fundamental development occurred only then, and how it occurred, is the subject of this paper. After the early foundational phase of development economics, when "high theories" were center stage, examining what contributed to the success or failure of specific projects became increasingly important in order to draw general conclusions on how to best design development policies. Albert Hirschman, who had been a pioneer of development economics in the early 1950s, was also a pioneer of project appraisal in the 1960s. He joined the World Bank to theorize project evaluation. However, early enthusiasms soon waned, and the ideas of Hirschman and the Bank were increasingly at variance. While Hirschman underscored the intrinsically uncertain nature of the knowledge derived from project appraisal, many World Bank officers argued that acknowledging uncertainty was of no help in decision-making and operational effectiveness. Those early tensions influenced the subsequent development of project appraisal at the World Bank and other international institutions. This, in turn, has repercussions on the type of knowledge that development institutions generate, preserve, and share with other development actors.
This paper studies the institutional evolution of Finnish business schools, 1909-2009. When making sense of the evolutionary process, we capitalize on three loosely defined approaches derived from research on business schools: the market demand approach, the national heritage approach, and the professional system approach. The founding of Finnish business schools was largely a response to the economic developments taking place in the industrial, trade, and banking sectors from the mid-nineteenth century onward. Consequently, a rapidly expanding labor market emerged for business school graduates. Due to Finland's close cultural proximity to Germany, the first three decades of business schools were strongly influenced by the German tradition. After World War II, the close connections to Germany were quickly replaced by an American influence. Finally, we make the point that from the professional system perspective, business schools have been successful in incorporating business-related concepts and knowledge into the Finnish language and disseminating managerialism to all sorts of organizations, such as profit and non-profit organizations, and in the sectors of education, government and healthcare in Finland.
Marcus Anthony Allen
Banking and Business in the Black Community in the 1930s
In a confidential letter to the president of the Afro-American Newspapers, Carl Murphy, the director of the Citizens & Southern Bank and Trust Company (located in Philadelphia), R. R. Wright, Sr., sets forth a theme of ambivalence in black banking during the 1930s. Wright confides in Murphy, explaining some of his bank's problems: "No institution has had as hard luck as our bankshave [sic] had in collecting loans from many persons of our race, especially when these persons have no stock in it. They will brazenly borrow, but they will not pay it back." Wright was obviously frustrated with the difficulties and realities of banking regardless of one's race, during this period. However, unlike, the dark foreshadowing of black capitalism found in the analysis of others during the 1930s, Wright maintains a balanced and holistic view of his bank's circumstances: "I am sorry to remember that when we started there were 30,000 banks in existence. Today, there are about 15,000. There were also seventy-one (71) Negro banks in existence. There are now about twelve (12). I don't think that mortality was due to ignorance or venality, but it was due to the times."
“To Put a Mass of Putrefying Animal Matter into a Fine Plush Casket”: The Development of Professional Knowledge among Morticians, 1880-1920
The "peaceful-looking" remains of the embalmed Civil War dead masked the tumultuous creation of a new profession. While this "new" method of corpse preservation was touted as a "blessing of the war," embalming did not become a mainstay of the American funeral until the 1880s and 1890s. Americans were ambivalent about handing their dearly departed over to a group of men who were seen as less prestigious (and honest) than the common plumber. Undertakers attempted to recast themselves as "funeral directors" and "embalmers" through the development of the three S's: sympathy, sanitation and science. This paper is part of a large work-in-progress on the development of the death care industry in the period 1790-1930.
Marketing Banks by Telling History: Howard Ahmanson, Millard Sheets, and the Art and Architecture of Home Savings Banks
From the mid-1950s until the late 1980s, the Home Savings Banks conducted a remarkable experiment in the power of history to market banking. Howard Ahmanson contracted with California artist Millard Sheets to provide iconic artwork to attract customers; within three weeks, the cost of the elaborate mosaics had been paid in new deposits, beginning a history of banking, public-art sponsorship, and public history in southern California. Millard Sheets and his studio of artists designed and sited Home Savings and Loan Bank buildings throughout California, studding their iconic projects with mosaics, murals, stained glass, and sculptures that celebrated both family life and the history of the Golden State. This study recovers this history, from the first commission through the recent history of the properties' sale to Washington Mutual (1998) and to Chase (2008). It describes this project conceived in the era of Nixon and Reagan, considering the origins and intent of the artwork, the public image it afforded the banks involved, and the future for these artworks as the financial institutions they contain have changed hands. It advances the history of business by analyzing a corporate investment in public memory, describing how this interplay of community banking and public art fostered community in California's notoriously spread-out suburbs.
Jeffrey S. Austin
Very Dry and Flavorful: Prohibition, Wine, and the Virginia Dare Extract Company
Founded in the height of Prohibition, the Virginia Dare Extract Company exemplifies the efficacy of regulation as a promoter of scientific and technological advancement. An offshoot of Garret & Company (1835), makers of Virginia Dare wine, the flavor company's 1923 incorporation also presents an alternative narrative to what Edward Behr called The Thirteen Years That Changed America. Most Prohibition scholarship focuses on the multitude of illegal methods used to circumvent the Eighteenth Amendment's moratorium on the production, distribution, and sale of intoxicating beverages. Garret & Company utilized the Volstead Act's exemption on the production and use of alcohol for the extraction, dilution, and preservation of flavoring extracts and syrups. Among the twenty-one flavors of Virginia Dare Flavoring Secrets was a special creation of noted flavor chemist Bernard H. Smith, the first commercially available vanilla extract. Virginia Dare is presently a world leader in the development, manufacture, and distribution of flavor extracts; the story of its Prohibition Era use of alcohol to advance food science is testimony to the potential of progressive legislation.
Small Enterprise and the Transfer of Knowledge in Early Economic Development: Argentina, 1901-1904
This paper examines knowledge transfer in small to medium-sized enterprises in the Mendoza, Argentina, wine industry. The wine entrepreneurs' strategies demonstrate how small, newly formed businesses in a peripheral region developed networks of information and knowledge-sharing. I will suggest that the 1901-1904 recession in the wine industry forced wine processing firms to develop more efficient business structures, better means of representing their interests to the government, banks, and railway companies, and improvements in their vertical coordination with suppliers (grape growers), as well as improvements in the quality of wine. In doing so, these firms tried to overcome information problems and facilitate knowledge transfer at four different levels: within the firm, with other wine processing businesses, with other points in the chain of production, and with other educating and regulatory bodies, such as the government. Though the relationships that facilitated knowledge transfer did not generally survive past the recession, wine processing firms' efforts toward cooperation revealedand often reinforcedthe growing divide between growers and processors as well as the increasing concentration of wine production among a few industrial winemakers.
From the Phonograph to the Internet: Standards in Software/Hardware Systems, 1873-2000
Since the introduction of the phonograph in 1877, many different software/hardware standards have been introduced in consumer electronics. The evolution of the industry therefore provides an excellent opportunity to study the standardization process. This paper first develops a practical way to examine standardization and to measure it. A second part then uses this approach to study individual cases of standards. It takes a more specific look at the strategies of individual companies to set new standards in the consumer electronics and music markets. The paper then evaluates what insight these cases give us and how this compares to the theoretical and economic works on path dependence, standardization, and increasing returns. The paper compares cases of both successful and failed standards since 1877such as the phonograph, gramophone, diamond discs, LP, EP, 8-Track, Fidelipac, audiocassette, VCR, compact disc, DAT, minidisk, DVD, and internet browsers. The fact that a recorded music standard hardly enjoyed more than ten years of hegemony suggests that lock-in did not need to result in long-run market failure and that standardization balanced static and dynamic efficiency, a balance that could differ across industries and technologies.
In the highly competitive field of magazine publishing, Henry Luce enjoyed remarkable success by creating distinctive editorial products, beginning with Time in 1923. Luce's publications carefully cultivated the new American middle class and, in the case of Fortune, the new managerial class. These were Luce's preferred readers, those he believed would welcome his instruction on matters of culture and public policy.
Rosalind J. Beiler
Creative Adaptations: Making Glass in Eighteenth-Century Peterstal and Wistarburg
In 1738, Caspar Wistar, an immigrant from the Palatinate, founded the United Glass Company at Wistarburg, New Jersey. To establish the enterprise, Wistar signed a contract with four German-speaking master glassblowers and purchased several hundred acres of timbered land. While American scholars have remarked on the unique nature of Wistar's agreement with his partners, internal contracts were common among glassmakers in Europe. This paper compares Wistar's manufactory with Peterstal, a contemporary German glassworks, to illustrate the transfer and adaptation of business organization and labor relations to America. Wistar applied similar strategies for operating the United Glass Works to those Peter Wentzel employed at Peterstal in the Electorate of the Palatinate. Both enterprises consisted of small companies within a larger corporation; both entrepreneurs needed to obtain timber and sand for production, pay rents and taxes, and provision laborers. New Jersey, however, provided Wistar with fewer government restrictions, easier access to some natural resources, and different forms of labor from those in Europe. Nevertheless, placing the glass-making community at Wistarburg within its eighteenth-century transatlantic context dispels the image of the colonial enterprise as exceptional. It reveals that European artisans and entrepreneurs brought with them knowledge and experience which they adapted to their new environments.
Matthew J. Bellamy
“The Guardians of True Temperance”: The Brewers’ Campaign to End Prohibition in Canada, 1916-1930
This article analyzes the outside lobbying of brewers in their campaign to end prohibition in Canada. It argues that the brewers helped bring an end to the dry regime first by building a broad-based coalition of “moderates” who petitioned governments for plebiscites on the liquor question, and then by shifting the culture around brewing, beer, and beer drinking. It analyzes the imagery and language of the brewers’ anti-prohibition campaign to determine how they attempted to get Canadians to (re)imagine beer and brewing in positive terms. This the brewers did in a number of ways: 1) by appropriating the language of the moral reformers; 2) by appealing to the anti-modernism and anti-urbanism of the period; 3) by re-branding themselves as nation builders; and 4) by making the cultural claim that beer was merely “mildly stimulating” (i.e., less intoxicating than distilled spirits). Thus only they could claim to be the “guardians of true temperance.”
Becoming Global, Staying Local: The Internationalization of Bertelsmann, 1962-2010
This paper looks at the history of Europe's largest media company, Bertelsmann AG. Bertelsmann has long been family-run and is still today family-owned and -controlled. The company employs over 100,000 worldwide and consists of several divisions, including publishing and broadcasting. This paper first examines theories of internationalization of family businesses and then applies them to Bertelsmann. Their internationalization pathway began only in the 1960s with a market entry into Spain. Later on the geographical scope was broadened; in the 1970s Bertelsmann began to play a strong role in the U.S. media market. The essay demonstrates that despite the tighter growth restrictions on family firms, Bertelsmann managed to internationalize dynamically. It found ways to incorporate foreign capital as well as management talent without losing control of a widely diversified and geographically dispersed company. Bertelsmann was able to become global and to stay local in a double stance. First of all, it remained firmly rooted in its home region in Germany, where its headquarters are still based today. Second, it has found ways to become local in foreign countries, mainly by choosing indigenous managers and giving them ample leeway within a decentralized structure.
Ann-Kristin Bergquist and Kristina Söderholm
The Making of a Green Innovation System: The Swedish Institute for Water and Air Protection and the Swedish Pulp and Paper Industry from the Mid-1960s to the 1980s
In this paper, we address the issue of organizational networks and the diffusion of green knowledge within the Swedish pulp and paper industry (P&P) from the mid-1960s to the 1980s. During this period, the Swedish P&P underwent a period of rapid environmental improvements. Our case demonstrates that the environmental adaptation of this line of business cannot be understood from merely a corporate focusthat is, as something accomplished by single firms or industries simply as a response to environmental regulation. By employing an innovation system approach, we find that the knowledge and technology development underpinning environmental adaptation within the Swedish P&P has involved a network of diverse actors. In this context, the semi-governmental Institute for Water and Air Protection (IVL) and its service company held important roles as intermediaries of knowledge within the network, not the least because of IVL's position "in between" government and industry. We suggest that one of the many important challenges for future research should be to compare how different national institutional settings have shaped the formation of "green" innovation systems. This would beneficially include national features of corporate stakeholder relations, as these influence firms' interplay with other firms as well as with other actors in the innovation system.
Illinois Farm Bureau Cooperatives, Knowledge, and Gender
This paper examines service and marketing cooperatives that Illinois Farm Bureau and Home Bureau members organized in the 1910s-1930s. I focus on how the cultural authority of science, knowledge, and professionalism, working in tandem with new sophisticated mechanisms of community organization, served as impetus for cooperative formation. Cooperatives became a site where knowledge flowed back and forth along pathways connecting rural populations to university-trained specialists. The cultural power attached to organization and knowledge fostered innovative ways of doing business. The Farm Bureau Farm Management business cooperatives helped pioneer "modern" methods of farm accounting. Members worked closely with specialists in farm management to develop a system for collecting and using empirical data on farmers' business enterprises, thus contributing to the body of knowledge underpinning the emerging male-dominated field of agricultural economics. Likewise, Home Bureau women participated in poultry marketing cooperatives that developed out of home economics poultry science. While home economics sometimes fostered the notion of women as consumers, in this case, some female members used knowledge to claim a niche in agricultural producuction.
Carolyn N. Biltoft
Reading Tea Leaves: the International Tea Committee and the Global "Greening" of Emerging Markets, 1933-1977
This paper is not about tea per se, but rather uses the tea industry to track the interdependence of three "shifts" that occurred between 1930 and roughly 1975. The first shift, and the lens through which I will view the implications of the other two, involves the transition of an organization called the International Tea Committee (ITC) from a government-supported regulatory and marketing body to an international corporation whose profits came to depend on providing strategic information for the tea industry at large. The fate of that organization and its involvement with British interests in the global tea economy offer further insights into the nature of the transition in British policy away from one of imperial preference and tolerance for cartels to that of "free trade." The third and final shift, as seen through the evolution of the other two, is the process by which the British colonies of India and Ceylon (or Sri Lanka) gained independence and thus attempted to seize the profits of their tea sectors for the purposes of national development. In holding these story lines together, this paper explores the ways in which the complicated decision-making processes that occurred in the tea industry all along the global commodity chain offer important correctives to long-held assumptions. It seeks thus to question the clear historical opposition of regulation and laissez-faire policies, to dislodge the conflation of the terms globalization and liberalization, and finally to reconsider the apparent failure of post-colonial societies to gain meaningful economic autonomy.
The Requirements of Risk: Contesting Race Discrimination in the American Life Insurance Industry at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
This paper explores state-level efforts to ban discrimination by race in the American North at the end of the nineteenth century and shows the long-term consequences of these efforts. Six state legislatures banned race discrimination before the turn of the new century, yet this apparent victory for civil rights advocates proved shallow. Insurer's logic of differencethat differences in risk required discriminationsurvived the new legislation and eventually undermined it. The paper argues that insurers in the early twentieth century created new justifications, rooted in science but distinct from traditional scientific racism, for discrimination by race, and in the process built a powerful statistical infrastructure to study the African American population. Life insurers, it demonstrates, became centers for the production of knowledge about race and mortality in America: it was a requirement of risk.
The Science of Difference: Developing Tools for Discrimination in the American Life Insurance Industry, 1830-1930
My dissertation examines the history of life insurance companies in the United States as sites that put science to use developing ideas about human difference and practices of discrimination. It argues that life insurance companies and the mathematicians, statisticians, and doctors they employ have had a significant impact on the development of systems of human classification and discrimination in modern America. It pays closest attention to the tools employed by life insurance companies to enable and justify their discriminatory practices, tracing their evolution over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the process, it traces out the development of "risk" as a human characteristic, first measured by industry mortality tables in the eighteenth century, and later considered through lenses of sectional tension, racial difference, and medical impairment. The dissertation reveals the ways that life insurance companies served as cultural institutions, as well as financial ones. Life insurance companies, it argues, developed new scientific tools, like the medical "impairment," which would become the ubiquitous "risk factor," and new scientific resources, like the vast corporate data sets that often did a better job than government data at describing the American population.
“To Preserve Our Farm Program”: The Struggle for Regulatory Authority in the Federal Farm Program, 1953-1962
New Deal order federal farm regulation derived much of its support and legitimacy from farmer participation in its administration. The most important participatory mechanism was the farmer elected committee system of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (and successor agencies), comprised of farmers in every farm county, which interpreted and administered marketing and conservation regulations. In early 1953, the Secretary of Agriculture restructured the committees' composition and purpose by changing the method of their election, instituting term limits, and creating the position of "office manager" to conduct the daily bureaucratic program work in every county. These reforms sparked a backlash from farmers and their congressmen, many of whom portrayed new regulations as an effort by Republicans and the USDA to undermine grassroots farm regulation and to centralize control over farm programs in Washington, removed from farmer feedback and administrative participation. This paper will examine the debate over grassroots administration of farm programs at a time when the local committees faced the threat of marginalization and the centralization of farm regulation. It explores the pervasive rhetoric on both sides of the debate that asserted that the farmer is his own best regulator, and that grassroots farm regulation was intimately tied to the health of American democracy in general.
John K. Brown
Not the Eads Bridge: Assessing a Counterfactual History in St. Louis
The St. Louis Bridge (popularly known as the Eads Bridge in honor of its designer) became an iconic landmark soon after its opening in 1874. While the public loved the structure, the civil engineering profession condemned most of its design features and its final cost. But today James Eads is revered as a brilliant designer, his bridge is a historical landmark in American civil engineering, and the span has become an icon of St. Louis. So we have here a fascinating riddle to unpack. To resolve this conflict, this paper picks up a tool that business and technological historians seldom wieldcounterfactual analysis. Fortunately, a range of good sources supports a strong counterfactual for the St. Louis Bridge. The need for such a benchmark is even stronger. The unique and iconic qualities of Eads' bridge have largely obscured real analysis. Most accounts laud his engineering creativity (a great man designs a great span) while sidestepping entirely the operational history of that bridge and its role in shaping St. Louis down through the Gilded Age. This short conference paper will show the value of posing an alternative history for St. Louis.
Multinational Corporations, Domestic Elites, and Economic Nationalism: The Latin American Oil Industry
In the early twentieth century, the governments of the oil-producing nations in Latin America opened their doors to foreign investors to exploit this resource. For countries with little capital and high levels of poverty, the presence of this mineral resource and the interest by foreign investors was considered a blessing. By the 1920s and the 1930s, however, the previously welcomed foreign investors faced several challenges, which went from higher taxes and royalties to outright expropriation. The literature on Latin American oil nationalism has focused on the diplomatic maneuvers between the multinationals' home countries and the oil-producing governments, and the role of labor unionism in the development of oil nationalism. In this paper I study the evolution of the policies toward foreign oil companies in Latin America by considering the way the producing countries' domestic elites organized themselves, for which I use the theories of collective action and political survival. I show that in countries with low levels of industrialization, the domestic elite sought to influence oil policy by using its personal and family connections at the government. In this type of country, the elite's main interest was to profit from the rents paid by the foreign oil multinationals or from management jobs in the industry. On the other side, countries with relatively high levels of industrialization had a local elite organized in formal associations that sought to influence economic policy. In this type of country, the local elite sought to profit from the oil industry by providing services or goods to the multinationals, by associating with the foreign firms in cartels or joint ventures, or by having access to cheap energy sources. Formal associations were also important channels of knowledge and information transfer among the government, the foreign firms, and the domestic elite, which permitted these three actors to coordinate economic policy among themselves.
Why do governments subsidize home companies into opening operations in foreign markets? In 1913 Standard Oil of New Jersey competed with the British firm Pearson for a concession contract to extract oil in Colombia. Standard Oil won the contract in 1916 and started a long period of dominance in the exploration, extraction, transportation, and refining of oil in Colombia that lasted until 1948. Standard's success in obtaining the concession came after a lobbying campaign by this firm at the U.S. Department of State to pay reparations to Colombia for the U.S. involvement in the secession of the Colombian province of Panama in 1903. Before 1913, the U.S. government showed little interest in paying these reparations despite repeated demands by the Colombian government. After that year, however, the American government offered the Colombian government $20 million (the equivalent of 0.6 percent of U.S. federal expenditures and 7.3 percent of Colombia's GNP in 1913) and pressured Colombia's government not to sign a contract with Pearson. In 1916 Standard Oil was granted the concession contract, opening the way for Standard's domination of oil activities in Colombia until 1948, when the concession contract expired; Colombia created a national petroleum company in 1951. The event and magnitude of the U.S. subsidy to a single multinational and a single contract offers a window to study why governments subsidize entry of their home companies into foreign markets.
Retreat to the Suburbs: The Regulatory State and Land Use in the 1970s
In the flourishing popular support for deregulation in finance, energy, transportation, communications, and other domains, scholars have seen a sea change in American politics: the rejection of New Deal liberalism and an embrace of "free market fundamentalism" that has marked the post-New Deal era, an embrace symbolized by the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Yet, while the deregulatory fervor swept the country, local governments enacted increased regulations over land use. What does it mean that even the most enthusiastic supporters of free market regulation nevertheless insisted on increased regulation in their own neighborhoods? I situate the proliferation of land use regulations in the context of American political history, exploring how the regulatory state's retreat to the suburbs urges a reconsideration of the standard narratives of the rise of conservatism, the collapse of the New Deal order, and shifts in economic citizenship.
Reconciling Black Capitalism, Affirmative Action, and Black Power: Black-Owned Insurance Companies and the State, 1940-1980
During the post-World War II era, African American insurance executives espoused politically conservative positions and opposed government intervention in the economy. However, government policies designed to protect and bolster the white-operated economy severely damaged black-owned insurance companies. The industry's downturn, combined with the Civil Rights movement and developments in black economic thought, led African American insurance executives to modify their ideological position. At the end of the 1960s, they called for government subsidies under federal "black capitalism" programs, assumed positions at the vanguard of the affirmative action movement, and employed Black Power rhetoric to encourage consumers to purchase their products. This narrative challenges the contention that integration necessarily had to destroy black business and offers a case study to examine why conservative black businessmen, mainstream Civil Rights leaders, and Black Power activists converged around the idea that ameliorating economic disparities would require more far-reaching governmental and societal remedies than simply ending legal inequality.
Alan Brinkley's The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (2010) led me to ask the question, Why are Henry Luce and Time Inc. not more central to the modern America narrative and the concerns of business and consumer culture historians? Brinkley's biography suggests how the journalist's life was connected to many themes in modern U.S. history. Business and consumer culture historians could connect Luce and his firm to the American consumer culture by focusing on the publisher's business model and management style, how he and his magazines interacted with intellectuals who criticized the consumer culture even as they participated in it, and how both the news and advertising content of Time Inc.'s magazines sold the notion of modernity.
Circulation of Knowledge in the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions
Many observers have noted a fundamental shift in the political economy around the world sometime around the 1970s, sometimes known as the "Third Industrial Revolution." The semiconductor industry was the foundational sector that led the change. The semiconductor industry was a product of big businesses and their corporate research laboratories of the 1950s. Then, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the household names in the sector gradually gave way to an emerging network of smaller firms. What did the changes in the industrial ecology mean for the global circulation of technical knowledge? In particular, what did this mean for the Japanese semiconductor manufacturers, who were on the verge of take-off as industry leaders? I will argue that the new mode of knowledge circulation provided the Japanese firms with unique advantages that led to their rapid ascent in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Nationalization and Private Shareholders: Not Such Strange Bedfellows
Private railways in France and the United States were subject to varying forms of national control in the 1930's. In France, private railways were merged into the newly created National Railway Company (SNCF) in 1937, with the government taking 51 percent of stock and private shareholders, 49 percent. At the same time in the United States, the federal government bought railway shares held by both insolvent banks and railways. But, American shareholders maintained majority control. Also, whereas the French government guaranteed amortization of railway stock at par value, American stockholders remained fully at risk in financial markets. Thus, in France, SNCF was created essentially as a mixed, public-private stock company, while U.S. railways remained mostly private, with government stock participation, but no management control. Subsequently, during World War II and under Nazi control, SNCF continued to pay dividends even to Jewish stockholders. Then, after the war, SNCF led Europe into the era of high-speed rail. In the United States, railways regained profitability during the war and government shares were sold back to private shareholders, but thereafter neither the government nor private shareholders were able to lead U.S. railways toward high-speed transport.
Translating the Cold War Project to the Corporation: Motorola, Satellite Telephony, and the Global 1990s
The U.S. Cold War state gave prominence to and codified, politically and professionally, the "project": a mode of organizationmode of organization directed at solving specific technical problems, requiring multi-institution inputs, geographically dispersed. An adjunct to existing bureaucracies (government, corporate, academic), the project became an object of intensive formalization and a widely shared asset of the national security establishment. As a tool for knitting together private and public entities, it was a defining and constitutive element of Cold War political economy. This paper looks at the translation of the Cold War project to a new regime of culture and production: the post-1980s world of markets and globalization. In this period, Motorola undertook, with private (not state) funding, the development of a large-scale technologya completely global cellular telephone system, one that relied not on ground-based towers, but on a space-based constellation of satellites. In pursuing this goal, Motorola adapted the modality of the project to serve the political and economic demands of profit and globalized corporate action. As with the state in the Cold War, Motorola's approach was not simply to accomplish the production of a technical system and operational business but to help constitute the political and policy framework for global markets.
Building Culture as Competition: Demonstrating Knowledge on Construction Sites in Eighteenth-Century Virginia
To successfully prove his competence, a carpenter not only had to have mastered the skills of his trade, but also had to demonstrate that mastery to the public on a job site. Performing on-site allowed craftsmen to showcase their skills and mastery not only to their client, as they could within the privacy of their own work spaces, but also to the general public. Working on a site visible to the general public, such as a government building or a tavern by which would pass a great deal of foot traffic, transformed the work site from a building to a living advertisement of the craftsman's skills and an active exhibition of both his skills and those of the men he employed or owned. Just as a modern contractor puts his sign in the front yard of his work site to advertise to the potential clients passing by, so too did eighteenth-century carpenters view the work site as a marketing tool.
Black Americans in White Collars: Instigating Change in Corporate America in the 1960s and 1970s
In the 1960s and 1970s African Americans advanced into the formerly white enclave of private-sector white-collar work. This paper details the experiences of these "Jackie Robinson" figures as they entered middle-class workplaces and forced often-reluctant white co-workers and supervisors to accept them. It explains how blacks coped with new forms of subtle discrimination, the mores of the "shadow corporation," and occasional episodes of blatant racism. Through all of this, educated African Americans persevered knowing that success in the salaried ranks was the only way they could achieve the American Dream long promised to them.
Howard Cox and Simon Mowatt
Authenticity and Customer Knowledge in Fashion-Based Periodicals: Condé Nast, Inc., and the Development of a Class-Based Strategy in the British Magazine Market between the Wars
By the early twentieth century, the leading publishers of magazines in Britain had developed a business strategy that was focused almost exclusively on the building of large circulation weeklies. These periodicals provided the firms in question with a strong platform through which to serve the advertising needs of the manufacturers of mass-produced commodities, along with the growing band of large-scale retailers that sold such items. This obsession with developing cheap titles, however, meant that Britain's leading periodical publishers found it expedient to treat their readers as a single homogenous mass. Under these circumstances, it is perhaps not surprising to find that the pioneer of audience research among magazine publishers in Britain was the American-based firm Condé Nast. Drawing on materials from the firm's archive in New York, we look in this paper at the way in which Nast's development of class publications (most notably the fashion magazine Vogue), which were aimed at a specific readership segment, led them to develop various forms of market research during the interwar years. In order to prosecute the strategy of class publications successfully, Nast sought methods of gaining direct knowledge both of the readers of Vogue magazine and of strategic consumers such as clothing retailers.
Álvaro Ferreira da Silva
Circulation of Management Knowledge: The Role of Strategic Consulting in Portugal in the Early 1970s
Strategic consulting firms like McKinsey exerted a critical role on the circulation of management knowledge across different European firms after the late 1950s. This paper tries to understand the role of consulting firms as knowledge brokers, focusing on the contribution of McKinsey to reshape the organizational structure and business practices of CUF, at the time the largest Portuguese and Iberian business group. It concludes that the multidivisional form is sufficiently plastic to be applied to structural reorganizations in different "systemic contexts" and with discrete firm characteristics. This plasticity may create completely diverse organizational configurations, which I think have not been fully recognized until now. Secondly, the literature on the diffusion of the multidivisional organization has almost a fetishist fixation on organization structure, paying much less attention to the business processes that support it (market-driven, management by objectives, introduction of management accounting and control). The "systemic context" still plays a critical role in the circulation and adaptation of new management ideas. The weakness of managerial capabilities frustrates the easy adoption of those business processes, despite the attempts to use management consulting as a substitute for the inexistence of formal executive education.
Knowledge Circulation and Appropriation Activities of Unilever: The Case of Becel
This paper explores the importance of the circulation of knowledge and appropriation activities for innovations in the Dutch multinational Unilever. Before the twentieth century the adaptation and subsequent diffusion of foreign innovations typified most industrial sectors in the Netherlands. This situation changed during the twentieth century when several companies such as Philips and Unilever started their own research laboratories. Cooperation among universities, industrial companies, and the government grew, and new professional societies of engineers and scientists became important platforms for knowledge exchange. The introduction and development of Becela margarine with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)in the 1960s, however, illustrates that foreign, especially American, knowledge was of prime importance to its market introduction. The flow of knowledge was indirect and coming from other sources than the business community. While in the case of synthetic detergents Unilever lacked scientific capabilities, Unilever's R&D and expertise was outstanding in health and nutrition. It was this specific expertise that linked it to the medical profession, where research concerning nutrition and health was high on the agenda. While in the 1960s the relationship with the medical profession proved to be positive, it complicated Unilever's situation in the 1970s.
Building the "Business Congress": Local Commercial Organizations and the Origin of the National Board of Trade, 1840-1868
The National Board of Trade, a national association of local commercial organizations formed in 1868, was the product of a movement toward commercial nationalism that began in the antebellum period. Created during the expansion of American productive capacities in the antebellum era, local boards of trade and chambers of commerce contributed significantly to the expansion and coordination of commerce at the local and regional level. The larger questions of continental development and Western expansion proved largely beyond the capacity of local groups and sporadic commercial conventions, and efforts to influence economic policy were undone by political partisanship and sectional rivalries. The Civil War, both by the removal of economic obstructionists from Congress and by promoting the developmental politics of the Republican Party into political ascendancy, allowed an opening and justification for closer cooperation between commercial groups in attempting to influence policy. The creation of the National Board of Trade was an attempt by the merchant class to harness this collective power to promote their vision for a national, integrated commercial economy.
“Advice Never Hurts the Giver”: The Role of Advisors in the Volta River Project in Ghana, 1952-1966
The Volta River Project (VRP) was one of the major post-war development projects undertaken by the U.S. government and the World Bank in conjunction with newly independent Ghana, building a hydroelectric dam together with a domestic aluminum industry. Its protracted genesis was mediated by a range of advisors and consultants from different countries, whose international networks and ideological convictions at times influenced, at other times merely mirrored, the shifting allegiances of Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah. The U.S. government, U.S. aluminum companies, and the World Bank funded the ambitious design as a tactical decision in the global Cold War. Yet Kwame Nkrumah‚'s non-aligned policy threatened to scupper the project, and the key advisors in the VRP, Sir Robert Jackson and his wife, Barbara Ward, who were friends of John F Kennedy and Nkrumah, worked behind the scene with the main private investor, Edgar F Kaiser, to ensure the VRP's viability in the early 1960s. Yet Jackson had had to overcome another of Nkrumah's advisors in the planning stage in the 1950s, W. Arthur Lewis, who considered the VRP a poor choice of project, and was subsequently dismissed. During the negotiations of the VRP, the World Bank advisors disagreed with the conditions set by the private investor, Kaiser, who successfully outmaneuvred the Bank;s consultants in 1961. Once the agreements were signed in 1962, Nkrumah's choice of advisors showed a marked tendency toward more politically left-wing individuals, undermining the influence of Jackson, Ward, and Kaiser. The tussle of advisors and consultants surrounding Kwame Nkrumah illustrates the ideological battles over which kind of knowledge of economic development would reign supreme. This was not purely a Cold War contest, as the advisors within the U.S. ambit disagreed on the "appropriateness" of certain techniques and political strategies in the African context. The VRP as the centerpiece of Nkrumah's ambition for economic development and scientific modernity was a key site of contestation and dissent on the future economic policy of Ghana. As a result of this highly negotiated knowledge, Ghana incurred a difficult legacy of modernization.
Henry Luce and the Liberal Consensus
Historians, especially recently, have tended to see "the liberal consensus" of the 1950s and 1960s as neither liberal nor a consensus. This paper will challenge that view. Using Brinkley's The Publisher as a source and a departure point, I argue that the era of the liberal consensus was in fact one of the most liberal eras in American history precisely because of the consensus on fundamentally (modern) liberal assumptions, assumptions that were reflected and upheld in the influential publications of Time-Life, Inc. and by Henry Luce himself.
Thomas H. Eyssell
St. Louis and the Automobile
During the first three decades of the twentieth century, St. Louis was home to numerous automobile manufacturers. As recently as the mid-1960s, St. Louis would be recognized as an important auto manufacturing center, second only to Detroit. Today, little remains of St. Louis' automotive pastthe result of global and national trends and a regional shift in emphasis from manufacturing to life-sciences and other high-tech industries. In some ways, St. Louis' role in the development of the automobile industry was preordainedits position as a manufacturing center grew from its desirable geographical location and the existence of well-developed transportation facilities. As the fourth-largest city in the country, St. Louis boasted a large labor pool. The region was a wagon- and carriage-building center, which led naturally to the manufacture of automobiles. And, the city was home to an inordinate number of individuals determined to make their marks in the then-new auto industry. The story of these automobile pioneers, and that of St. Louis' role in the development of the automobile, deserves to be told.
Globalization from a “22mm Diameter Cylinder Perspective”: How Mittelstand Became “Pocket Multinationals”
This paper examines the process by which medium-sized, family-owned firms (Mittelstand, or mid-sized firms), which operated for decades in the traditional manner from their home base, transformed themselves by going global. Unlike large multinationals, these firms, although rich in home traditions, lacked knowledge about how to work in other areas of the world and lacked the resources of large corporations. With the use of three illustrative Central European examples (STIHL, Calida, and the Kaba Group), the paper examines how such Central European Mittelstand firms stretched their organizational capabilities and found ways to "place" themselves in other parts of the world. Quantitatively, it analyzes articles from two major German business magazines since the mid-1980s to contextualize this process in time. It uses an array of consulting reports, management books, and magazine articles that gave advice to SMEs. Germany became the world's leading exporter between 2003 and 2008 in good part because of this process of the Mittelstand going global. In the words of the Kaba Group, such regional firms could no longer think in a "22mm cylinder perspective," but develop new product and mental platforms to move abroad. The old 22mm diameter cylindrical perspective proved both a barrier to thinking across borders, but also a barrier to rethinking the firm.
Market Calculation and the Property Market Press in Britain, c. 1850-1920
The British "property market" was invented sometime around 1875, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and by the end of the First World War news of it had become, in the words of The Times, "a regular daily feature," part of an "awakening of general interest in the property market ... [which had] concentrated attention upon the investment possibilities of what had been too long regarded as concerning only a limited class." This paper argues that the emergence of property market news in the late nineteenth century was, in fact, integral to the coordination of market practice; that the property market, in other words, emerged as the achievement of efforts to calculate its various shapes and movements in the pages of late Victorian newspapers and periodicals. This development is traced from the 1850s, when the first real estate trade periodicals began to formally coordinate and publish sales information, through the 1880s, 1890s and 1900s, when property market reports migrated from trade periodicals to the pages of the daily press and when the politics of understanding market trends and market values spilled into much larger public debates surrounding land and property ownership in Victorian and Edwardian Britain.
Faux Food Fight: Regulating a New Health Food Economy in the Wake of the “Cholesterol Scare”
This paper examines the debates among medical professionals, businesses, and the Food and Drug Administration in the 1960s over whether to allow businesses to make health claims on foods regarding their "polyunsaturated" fats content and its relationship to heart disease. The paper describes the emerging medical, followed by popular, interest in this period in the "diet-heart thesis," the argument that there was a correlation and thus a link between certain diets and incidences of heart disease, and then examines how that interest was translated into new advertising campaigns for products like vegetable cooking oils and special margarines. For businesses, such health food campaigns provided an avenue for the diversification of "taste" through the diversification of new product lines, creating demand when consumers already had "the basics"; but it created headaches for regulators who sought to maintain a neat division between ordinary food products for ordinary consumers and special medical products for special groups like patients. In part, the stakes were institutional: should consumers be empowered to take dietary decisions into their own hands, or does this subvert the role of the doctor in treating a patient? But the debate was also about what was meant by an "ordinary" consumer and "risky" food.
Peddling American Patent Medicines in East Asia, 1860-1880
This paper revolves around the question of how one creates a market for something for which there is no demand: in this case, for American patent medicines and cosmetics in East Asia during the 1860s and 1870s. Lanman & Kemp, a wholesale druggist based in New York, bought and sold materia medica from around the world. Yet in spite of a large trade in crude drugs, by the mid-nineteenth century its greatest profits in the United States came from branded pills and tonics: Bristol's Sarsaparilla, Florida Water, and Bristol's Vegetable Pills. As L&K extended its trade, it compelled agents to "push the sale" of its proprietary medicines in new Chinese and Japanese markets, regardless of the lack of precedents for their application. This transition from global commodities trade to global consumer cultures required the deliberate and sustained construction of demand through novel advertising and direct marketing strategies.
Unintended Consequences of Retirement Regulation
When hearings began on the state of America's faltering private pension system in the 1960s, Congress knew that action was required on its part to preserve the retirement security of millions of American workers. Senators Harrison Williams and Jacob Javits took the lead in crafting the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). What Congress could not fully predict were the myriad ways in which pension regulations would intersect with simultaneously evolving securities reforms. A key loophole in the legislation made defined contribution plans a more attractive choice than defined benefit plans, contributing to the most visible of ERISA's unintended consequences, the demise of the traditional pension. Regulation created a pension system in which individuals have greater nominal control of retirement investment, but which is dominated by institutional investors on Wall Street.
Victoria E. M. Gardner
News Networks and the Creation of a National Newspaper Industry in Eighteenth-Century Britain
This paper demonstrates how one eighteenth-century information networkthe newspaper pressitself was underpinned by an expanding web of connections, and body of knowledge, between proprietors and editors. My paper reassesses the contribution of the household-family to the Industrial Revolution. In a rare consensus, economic historians accept the household-family's importance in local capital accumulation during early industrialization. Using the newspaper industry as its case study, my work revises these arguments by assigning even greater long-term importance to these family units. As the press expanded, multiple relationships fostered within the household-family (consisting of employees and apprentices, as well as the wider family) enabled the specialization of trade knowledge and the development of a collective identity as journalists and "members of the press." In this way, the press gained critical power to fight off rivals, lobby the government, and gain key victories over it.
Business Chambers and the Intellectual Foundations of Statist Industrialism in Mid-Twentieth-Century Mexico
The National Chamber of Manufacturing Industries, an organization of Mexico's small-scale, consumer manufacturers, and the Mexican Employers Association, a group dominated by conservative interests and large-scale business, engaged in spirited debates about the evolution of industrial protection in Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s. While the former pressed heavily for aggressive state intervention, the latter portrayed intervention as an assault on individual property rights. This paper examines these debates over statist industrialism, focusing in particular on the rival visions of forms of rule and modern social relations that drove them. These distinctions take on meaning in light of the fact that scholars of mid-twentieth-century Mexico often have assumed a consensus among industrialists and the state around protected growth by the 1940s. This paper argues that their distinct visions for the state's role in industrial development were emblematic of rifts among groups close to the state. By examining these visions, it shows the malleability of statist industrialism as a nationalist political project, and the way in which it accommodated, or at least tolerated, the eclectic strains of industrialist resistance to the state's consolidating and centralizing pull.
No-Brainer: Thought vs. Rationality in the May 6 "Flash Crash"
The "Flash Crash" of May 6, 2010, was an abrupt nosedive, followed by a sharp rebound, in the equities markets. In twenty minutes total value fell by over 5 percent, and then recovered. Initial suspicions of a "fat finger" error, or cyber-terrorist attack, were more comforting than the actual explanation: runaway price signaling between the algorithms that dictate most trading today. It was framed as a crisis in automation, suggesting subjective human judgment could prevent such volatility. Yet subjective human judgment, and the errors associated, were exactly what automated trading was designed to circumvent. Furthermore, the Flash Crash demonstrated that computers can succumb to their own model of investor "panic." In this paper I use congressional hearings, regulators' reports, and media coverage in a case study on this dilemma. Comparisons to the 1987 crash highlighted ambiguities in technological and regulatory advancements since. Furthermore, the NYSE maintained relative order compared with younger, electronic platforms, presenting another component of trading history"Big Board" hegemonyas preferable to the cutting edge. Officials and executives reprised perennial anxieties that progress and expansion always come at a price. I conclude that the current degree of automation in trading, and its potential for catastrophic malfunction, may increasingly influence people's investment decisions.
What a Merchant “Ought to Know”: Account Book Structure and Business Information in the Eighteenth Century
Widely used among larger traders in the eighteenth century, double-entry bookkeeping entailed the painstaking recording of myriad transactions. A close look at the reasons given in textbooks on accounting and merchandising both British (Mair) and French (De La Porte, Barrême), and at the records of two large traders (Gradis of Bordeaux and Hollingsworth of Philadelphia), reveals that what a merchant “ought to know” was articulated around the notion of credit. Costs and profits were treated as inconvenient accounting elements to be sifted away in order to avoid any distortion of the credit picture; also left aside was the quality of the goods traded, which was dealt with on a qualitative basis. Accounts were credit accounts, which achieved a purpose similar to the clearing agreements developed between banks from the eighteenth century on. A sampling of the transactions recorded in Gradis' books shows that large amounts were cleared with no recourse to specie or to commercial paper; book credit was a large source of capital. I conclude that account books were used to keep track of the credit networks of a merchant. Profit and losses were sifted away more than analyzed, since accounts were primarily tools enabling a trader to build a qualitative assessment of individual credit relationships and the risks associated to each of them. The true goal of eighteenth-century accounts was thus to help determine whom to trust and to what extent.
Accounting Plug-Ins and Virtual Firms: A Brief History of Business Plan Guidebooks in the United States, 1970-2010
Business plans have been omnipresent in the world of entrepreneurshipif not beyondsince the early 1980s. The rapid emergence and survival of this market device on the market for entrepreneurial finance, over a period when business and economic planning have undergone harsh critiques, is a paradox that this paper aims to explain. Thanks to the qualitative, longitudinal study of a rich corpus of business plan guidebooks published in English since 1970, we show that business plans may first be considered as financial virtualities, thanks to which market actorsthat is, entrepreneurs and their fundersare able to coordinate and eventually agree on a business venture. But we also demonstrate that, designed to act as performative management devices, they are also meant to help entrepreneurs turn their projects into reality. Because according to business planning norms a good plan is a pre-realized plan, the business plan indeed appears less as a predefined constraint on entrepreneurial action than as a driver of entrepreneurial work. This ability of the business plan to accompany and even foster action rather than frame it explains its proliferation in liberal economies.
Philip M. Glende
Labor Makes the News: Newspapers, Journalism, and Organized Labor, 1933-1955
This study examines daily newspaper coverage of organized labor during the burst of union activity that began in the early 1930s. For labor activists and sympathizers, it was an article of faith that newspapers were deliberately unfair to unions. However, publishers and their employees responded to the labor movement with great diversity. Many publishers were politically conservative, but others were strong supporters of liberal causes. For all owners, organized labor was a challenge to the business class and a source of community discord. Additionally, the rise of the American Newspaper Guild threatened editorial prerogative and the right to manage. Many readers, though, were union members. Covering labor tested the boundary between personal and political objectives and the professional ideal of neutrality on news pages. For writers and editors, labor conflict was a natural news story, but one in which they were personally engaged. While publicly condemning newspapers, labor officials sought to use the press to establish their legitimacy and wage war against enemies, including others in the labor movement. Examining the treatment of organized labor in newspapers provides a window for viewing the sociopolitical and occupational goals of the publisher, the editorial worker, and the labor leader.
The Rise and Fall of America's First Bank
The dictatorial Dominion of New England (1686-1689) saw both the rise and fall of the first operational bank scheme in America. Both events resulted from the appointed rulers' attempts to profit personally from the real estate sector, subject to the same constitution imposed by England. The first, local ruler established a nominally private land bank. The subsequent, foreign ruler invalidated all land titles and thus killed the bank. This unique natural experiment demonstrates the relevance of Mancur Olson's model of stationary and roving bandits, and clarifies how economic development can be affected in different ways by different types of dictators.
Margaret B. W. Graham
The Unintended and Enduring Consequences of Antitrust Enforcement on Knowledge-Dependent Companies, 1938-1982
From 1938, when he was appointed head of the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, to 1943 when he accepted an appointment to the Federal Court of Appeals, Thurman Arnold carried out a startlingly effective enforcement campaign against numerous industries that he deemed to be either inhibiting the flow of goods at reasonable prices to consumers or hurting the war effort by colluding with foreign cartels to restrict the flow of technology. Scholars remain divided as to whether his vigorous and innovative enforcement program reflected a change of economic policy away from planning and toward competition on the part of Franklin Roosevelt. Either way, Arnold left a lasting legacy that endured in the Justice Department for more than a generation, and part of that legacy was a new emphasis on the misuse of patents and on ways to control their misuse. One of the key features of Arnold's program was to come down hard on the practices of technology sharing, especially international technology sharing, that had previously been widely tolerated on the grounds that companies needed scale to conduct expensive Research and Development. Certainly the companies that signed consent decrees and paid unprecedented fines did get the point that they would no longer be able to withhold key technologies from competitors; nor would they be permitted to use their control of certain patents to divide up markets, nationally or internationally. But just as Arnold's dynamic program inspired a new generation of trust-busters at the Justice Department, so the experience of having been publicly prosecuted, fined, and threatened with jail terms left a legacy in the companies that had been Arnold's particular targets. This paper looks at the enduring and unintended consequences of the prewar antitrust campaign and the related studies of the Temporary National Economic Committee for the intellectual property strategies and practices of several companies that either were chosen for punishmentGeneral Electric, Westinghouse, Alcoa, and Corningor were involved in some way in the settlements, such as RCA and AT&T.
David Lilienthal, the World Bank, and the Development of a Transnational Network of International Economic Advising, 1950-1960
International economic advising is built on the complex interaction between different actors on many levels. Multiple entities are positioned between international lending institutions and local governments in the coordination of development programs. Our paper focuses on the interaction between the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called "the World Bank," and David Lilienthal's consulting firm, "Development and Resource Corporation," which collaborated with the international advising missions led by the Bank during the 1950s. We analyze their first projects together, shedding light on the way in which their policies emerged and on the reception of these policies by host countries, through the development of a "know-how" in the interaction with international lending institutions. We examine, in particular, the first collaboration between Lilienthal and the World Bank, concerning the Bank's intervention in India (1950-1951), their intervention in Colombia in the creation of the Cauca Valley Corporation (1953-1956), and their negotiations with private Italian firms (1955-1960). Through these three cases we illustrate how the first steps of the collaboration between David Lilienthal and the World Bank contributed to the development of a transnational network of economic advisors that shaped development policies and projects as a body of knowledge continually re-adapted.
Bourgeois Migration and Knowledge Transfer: Evidence from U.S. Censuses and Who's Who in America, 1899-1938
Selection of high-quality immigrantsby age, condition, and human capital endowmentbenefited the United States, at the expense of Europe. Measuring the upper tail of these migration flows"brain drains"by educational diplomas is difficult before the later decades of the twentieth century, when formal qualifications became more ubiquitous, standardized, and systematically surveyed (and the adverse consequences of migrant flows more frequently ethically questioned). For earlier decades, Who's Who in America provides a proxy indicator of foreign contributions to the accumulation of the upper tail of U.S. human capital stocks. The results are consistent with status barriers against, or poor educational endowments of, immigrants, who generally experienced lower chances of listing than natives. Yet immigrants from Britain, Canada and Francethe majority of those entering the elitehad better chances than native-born Americans of success in business and the professions by this measure. This outperformance in a predominantly Yankee economic spaceprefiguring modern Asian immigrant outperformancewas associated with abundant social capital (network access and motivation to mix and succeed on American terms) and with human capital (education, training, experience, ability) apparently greater than that possessed by the average, early twentieth century, native-born American. This leakage of talent to the United States and elsewhere was severe for the United Kingdom, but was mitigated by the preference of many well-educated Germans and Americans for living and working in Britain.
Per H. Hansen
Making Sense of Financial Crisis and Scandal: A Danish Bank Failure in the Era of Finance Capitalism
In this paper I discuss a serious financial collapse and scandal in Denmark in the interwar period. I analyze the failure in 1922 of Scandinavia's largest bank, the Danish Landmandsbanken, and the downfall of its CEO Emil Glückstadt. While this is a specific case that cannot be generalized, I argue that the approach and the findings are useful in analyzing and understanding other cases of financial crisis and scandal and their outcomes. Thus, the wider perspective is to contribute to an understanding of and to exemplify how societies make sense of financial crises and of the rise and fall of financial superheroes and other icons. In the early 1930s it was financiers such as Ivar Kreuger of Kreuger and Toll, Oscar Rydbeck of the Swedish Skandinaviska Banken, Jakob Goldschmidt of the German Danat Bank, and Charles Mitchell of National City Bank who realized that success does not necessarily last forever. Today, obvious choices would be Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Joseph Cassano of AIG, Jeff Skilling of Enron, and, of course, Bernie Madoff. These scandals are cultural as much as economic events. They challenge conventional values and categories and force contemporaries to make sense of the dramatic fall of these icons and of their role in the collapse of their banks. In the paper I present a discussion of the sense-making process following Landmandsbanken's collapse and Glückstadt's fall from power. I argue that sense-making and narratives are of paramount importance in constraining or enabling institutional change. Whether change will be possible depends on the narrative that has come to prevail when the sense-making process has stabilized the meanings assigned to scandals and financial crises. In order for radical change to be implemented, the grand narrative has to be fundamentally challenged by the narratives that make sense of the concrete crisis and scandal. If the grand narrative is capable of assimilating or absorbing the dominant crisis narrative, fundamental change will not be possible. In the words of David Carr, "sometimes we must change the story to accommodate the events; sometimes we change the events, by acting, to accommodate the story."
In 1979, the Dow Chemical Company published an excerpt from a speech by H. Peter Metzger that announced an emerging conflict in American ideals and public policy. He stated that a new kind of individual inhabited Washington, people from the counterculture who were "coercive utopians" because they sought to achieve their agenda through covert actions and hoped to end the American free market economy. Following the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the subsequent banning of DDT in 1972, Dow and other chemical manufacturers fought to keep the regulatory climate favorable to industry. Dow found itself defending the phenoxy herbicide 2,4,5-T in particular for almost the entire decade of the 1970s. Using Dow Chemical Company records, trial transcripts, scientific journals, and writings by environmental activists, it becomes possible to see the contested landscape of scientific knowledge and chemical regulation. This essay argues that Metzger's "coercive utopians" challenged the assumed scientific basis of chemical safety and used the regulatory powers of the state to reassess the safety of everyday chemicals. This established a pattern of contested knowledge and ideological conflict that continues to form the core of debate between public safety and free-market prerogative.
Eric S. Hintz
The Post-Heroic Generation: American Independent Inventors, 1900-1950
My dissertation examines the changing fortunes of American independent inventors from approximately 1900 to 1950. By World War I, the public (and later, many historians) had come to believe that corporate R&D labs had displaced "heroic" individual inventors like Thomas Edison as the wellspring of innovation. However, a close look at the historical U.S. patent data shows that patents granted to individual inventors outnumbered corporate patents until 1933 and still represented 46.5 percent of total patents in 1950. Indeed, independent inventors continued to contribute many important innovations throughout the early twentieth century, including Samuel Ruben's Duracell batteries, Edwin Land's Polaroid film, and Chester Carlson's Xerox photocopying process. Thus, contrary to most interpretations of this period, I argue that "post-heroic" independent inventors remained an important, though less visible, source of inventions in the early twentieth century. Accordingly, my dissertation describes how this lesser known cohort of inventors navigated the evolving business practices and political-economic crises of the early twentieth century, a period of expanding corporate R&D, the Great Depression, and two world wars. More broadly, it helps explain how American independent inventorsonce revered as heroesgradually lost their cultural primacy while corporate brands became increasingly associated with high-tech innovation.
Eric S. Hintz
“Selling the Research Idea”: The National Research Council's Promotion of Industrial Research, 1916-1945
The National Research Council (NRC) was founded during World War I to mobilize scientists for national defense, but one of its primary peacetime goals was the promotion of scientific research within American industries. Thus, following the armistice, the NRC embarked on a thoroughgoing campaign to "sell the research idea"employing magazine articles, radio talks, and popular lectures to demonstrate the benefits of industrial research to the general public, while specifically targeting executives through its divisional meetings, how-to books, and highly publicized tours of the nation's R&D labs. Overall, the campaign was a spectacular success, as the number of American industrial laboratories increased nearly eight-fold from 297 labs in 1920 to 2,264 labs in 1940. Lacking funds following the Great Depression and convinced that it had fully achieved its goals, the NRC spun out its promotional activities in 1945 and formed the non-profit Industrial Research Institute (IRI), which remains today's leading R&D trade association. Based on archival research conducted at the National Academy of Sciences, this paper describes how the NRC and IRI not only raised awareness of industrial research, but also helped develop new knowledge and best practices for managing research within a corporate setting.
Screening for "Impaired Risks": Risk, Medical Examinations, and Hiring at the Pullman Company in the Early Twentieth Century
In 1920 the Pullman Company began conducting company-provided medical examinations, with dramatic consequences for who the company was willing to hire. Pullman's medical examinations came in response to three developments: laws on food handling, high rates of employee turnover, and changes in legal liability for workplace injuries. These developments led the company to view employees as posing a risk and to treat medical examinations as a way to manage this risk. Pullman Company records show how officials wrestled with the implications of medical examinations even as they worked to formulate the goals and techniques for conducting the examinations. D. A. Crawford, Pullman's director of safety, believed that employing people with health conditions or disabilities would raise costs for the company. For Crawford, medical examinations were a means "to prevent physical crooks from getting on the employment list." Pullman's medical director, Thomas Crowder, helped devise Pullman's physical examination program but realized that medical examinations resulted in some people being rendered unemployable. "Who hires those rejected?" Crowder wondered. Ultimately, Pullman considered as many as 20 percent of all applicants physically unfit to work.
A Collision of Aspirations: Elite Men's Clubs and Social Competition in Gilded Age New York City
The enlargement and enrichment of the New York City's upper class was the single most momentous event to hit the elite during the Gilded Age. These pressures had existed to a degree before the Civil War, but rapid economic growth heightened their intensity and made them the central feature of upper-class life in the second half of the nineteenth century. The intensification of demographic and economic pressures raised concerns within the upper class about the sources of its legitimacy and its need for more coherent and restrictive social and cultural codes. In this paper, I will use elite men's clubs as a lens for investigating the pressures that urban economic growth put on an upper class that no longer had control of its boundaries or the definition of its legitimacy, and the responses that upper-class New Yorkers made to these circumstances.
Who says It's Kosher? Authority, Knowledge, and Regulation in Modern Food Production
This paper identifies the shift between two modes of regulation of kosher food in twentieth-century America. These regulatory methods both rested on claims to knowledge over what constituted kosher food, but embodied authority and power in different institutions. The first regulatory phase, fully consolidated at midcentury, rested on linked spheres of religious law, union contracts, and government regulation. Its emergence in the first half of the century reflected the difficulties of controlling kosher food in what were largely localthat is, city or statemarkets. These regulatory methods were, however, inadequate to manage the growing national market for kosher products after 1960, especially the uncertainty introduced into kosher law by processed foods whose contents contained ingredients unknown to the pre-twentieth-century rabbinate that first codified kosher law. Hence, in the last third of the century a new constellation of practices emerged to supplant the old, consisting of rabbinical organizations, trademark law, and management control systems over factory operations. By the early twenty-first century, this second mode of kosher regulation had enabled hundreds of thousands of products to receive authoritative certification as meeting Jewish religious requirements as kosher.
Consumer Reeducation and Industry Rehabilitation: Seagram's Advertising and the Muddled Meanings of Moderation after Repeal
After the repeal of Prohibition, American vintners, brewers, and distillers faced a monumental consumer education challenge. Creating brand identities and raising brand awareness was the relatively easy part. Alcohol producers also had to teach Americans the etiquette (and imperative) of responsible drinking to bolster the legitimacy of their still morally suspect industry and products. My paper illustrates how Seagram, in both its institutional and brand advertising during the 1930s, championed responsible drinking but left the definition of moderation sufficiently vague to encompass drinking behaviors that could easily cross the boundaries of moderation. Seagram endeavored to create a respectable image, but it did so with a wink and a nod. Seagram's advertising campaign illuminates how the ethic of individual responsibilityso aggressively championed by purveyors of licit psychoactive commerce and fattening foodsbecame the dominant frame for evaluating how Americans should manage the pleasures and perils of potentially harmful commodities. Much as the alcoholism-as-disease paradigm shifted blame for problem drinking from alcohol producers to troubled individuals, Seagram's advertising performed similar cultural work by associating moderation with masculine virtue, middle-class respectability, and the achievement of financial security. Even as Seagram's advertising muddled the meanings of moderation, I argue, it enlisted these tropes of class and gender to help naturalize the ethic of individual responsibility as the common-sense solution to problems of liquor control.
Designing for Change: New Management Theory and the Open Plan Office
In the late 1960s, the American architecture and design community began buzzing about a new kind of office design that would transform the physical arrangement of offices for decades to come. Called "the open plan," this new office design concept was heralded by architects and designers as the spatial counterpart to the new ideas about management and work circulating at the time, particularly: a rejection of hierarchy and bureaucracy; an increasing emphasis on giving workers greater autonomy; and a belief that change was the new constant in American business. Drawing on the language and ideas of Douglas McGregor and Peter Drucker, architects and designers argued that the open plan would not only support this new office culture; it would help create it.
Kenneth C. Kimura
The Institutional Origins of Executive Education at the Harvard, Stanford, and University of Chicago Schools of Business from 1940 to 1955
The U.S. government's role in university research during World War II is well documented. What is less well known is how the state supported breakthroughs in university instruction. Though the government's intervention was temporary, it had far-reaching implications for who business schools teach and how they offer instruction. This paper explores why and how three schools reacted to World War II in unexpected ways by creating two forms of executive education that still thrive today. Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago developed twelve-week, full-time, Advanced Management Programs (AMPs), while the University of Chicago also established a two-year, part-time, Executive MBA Program (EMBA). My paper tracks the first AMPs and the first EMBA from 1940 to 1955. The analysis makes four important findings. First, the state challenged these schools to balance the nation's need for vocational training in war production with their traditional curricula. Next, the military draft of college-age men motivated faculties to design adult education for executives above the draft age. Third, the schools learned to partner with corporations that sponsored executive students. Finally, as the wartime emergency shifted to a postwar era, the government's intervention gave way to a nascent market for executive education.
Kairn A. Klieman
U.S. Oil Companies, The Nigerian Civil War, and the Origins of Opacity in the Nigerian Oil Industry, 1964-1972
Rooted in data derived from archival sources (U.S. National Archives, U.K. National Archives, Exxon-Mobil Archives, CIA documents), this paper analyzes the role that U.S. oil companies played in Nigerian politics and oil policies before, during, and after the Nigerian civil war. It argues that the actions of these companiesespecially the withholding of accurate data regarding reserves and production figures, as well as the six-month political and propaganda battle they waged against the Federal government to thwart the passage of a new Petroleum Profits Tax (or "Libyan Law"): exacerbated regional and ethnic rivalries that led to the war; led to an aggressive nationalist and regulatory stance on the part of Nigerian officials toward international oil companies after the war; and contributed to the creation of a Nigerian "oil culture" that was, from this formative period on, characterized by an extreme lack of transparency on the part of government and corporate actors alike.
The Making of the Civil Engineer in China: Railroad Companies, Technology, and Knowledge Transfer in the Early Twentieth Century
This paper explores the emergence of railroad engineering as a profession in the context of the business and institutional development of railroad companies in early twentieth-century China. It is argued that the acute shortage of trained professionals from railroad accountants and surveyors to mechanical engineers hampered the development of Chinese railroad companies as efficient business institutions operating under semi-colonial managerial arrangements. Disputes with Chinese government officials about the choice of teaching language, differing attitudes to field training, and the desire to protect specific national economic interests by securing the supply chain created multinational competition for control over Chinese engineering education. The paper discusses the challenges in knowledge production and cross-cultural transfer, the impact of Western railroad management on Chinese railroad companies, their growth after 1911 as part of the national industrialization effort, and the intense competition for Chinese engineering talent, as well as issues of social status and professional identity in a society modernizing its education and infrastructure systems at the same time.
The Nordic Timber Cartel and Government Intervention, 1931-1932
This paper studies the relationship between international cartels and politics, and discusses the impact that foreign political tensions and the Great Depression had on international cartels in the early 1930s. The paper presents a case of a Nordic timber cartel (NTC) that existed during 1916-1934 between the producers of Europe's biggest timber exporters, Sweden and Finland. The timber trade experienced two major shocks at the turn of the 1930sthe rise of the Soviet Union and the Great Depressionand as a result, Nordic government decided to intervene to the NTC's activities in 1931. The paper analyzes the intervention itself and the motivations behind it, as well as reactions of the cartel toward it. The results of this paper suggest that political reasons relating to the Soviet Union and Great Britain played an important role in the intervention, and that the timber cartel in fact became an instrument of a political rapprochement between Nordic countries and the Soviet Union in 1931. Results also indicate that Nordic banks were important mediators in the intervention. The key argument of this paper is that, despite the collaborative elements between the Nordic governments and the cartel, state intervention in 1931 was an unwelcome surprise for the Nordic timber industry. It made the cartel dysfunctional and led to its collapse.
The Second World War, Divided World Markets, and Swiss Multinational Enterprise: Roche, Nestlé, and Political Risks
This paper analyzes the organization and strategy of F. Hoffmann-La Roche (pharmaceuticals), and Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss (condensed milk) from the 1930s to the 1940s. It focuses on their organizational response to the political risks such as taxation and confiscation, and the new opportunities in emerging markets, through which it reveals how elements like war and security influenced the development of European multinational enterprises. It utilizes materials between the latter half of the 1930s and the 1940s held by the corporate archives of Roche and Nestlé. My analysis is centered on the double twin structure of these respective companies. One is the creation of a unique "parallel-type" corporate structure, which features two independent corporations with identical shareholders. The other is the planned or sporadic division of the control functions into two headquarters in the United States and Switzerland to accommodate the division of the world market during World War II. In Europe, the security concern was pervasive not only during the war but also in the postwar period. The cases of Roche and Nestlé are testimonials of how the experience of the war in their home market brought about the historically decentralized management structure and rather complicated holding structure of the European multinationals.
Matthew Gordon Lasner
"Con-do-min-i-um": Homebuilders, Mortgage Bankers, and the National Campaign for Multifamily Homeownership in Baby Boom America
Rates of homeownership rose dramatically in the mid-twentieth century United States, along with the kind of single-family suburbia exemplified by Levittown. By 1960, however, the share of families owning single-family houses began to flatten (in 2011 it remains effectively the same as in 1961). The demographic phenomena that generated such intense demand for houses in the 1940s and 1950s began to dissipate; the apartment became an important new focus. Not wanting to cede territory or profits to landlords, mortgage bankers launched a national campaign to stimulate individual ownership of multiple-family homes. The problem, however, was that after decades of eschewing this kind of tenure, co-ownership suffered from a marginal reputation, among both bankers and consumers. Until the 1960s, in fact, U.S. mortgage lenders refused to service co-owned apartments entirely. To effect the necessary reversal, mortgage bankers introduced a new form of co-ownership called "condominium." Although less distinct from the system it replaced (the cooperative) than they suggested, this strategy had a dramatic impact on the co-owned housing market. This paper explores how and why this effortwhich was as much about style as substanceproved so successful in reshaping U.S. real estate.
In 1999, as the Internet boom was approaching its apex, Lucent Technologies was the world's largest telecommunications equipment company. With revenues of $38.3 billion, net income of $4.8 billion, and 153,000 employees for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1999, Lucent was larger and more profitable than Nortel, Alcatel, and Ericsson, its three major global competitors. In fiscal 2006, however, Lucent's revenues were only $8.8 billion and its employment level stood at 29,800. Both figures were lower than those of its three major rivals. On December 1, 2006, the merger that created Alcatel-Lucent took place, making Lucent a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcatel. In this paper, we analyze the rise and demise of Lucent Technologies from the time that it was spun off from AT&T in April 1996 to its 2006 merger with Alcatel. Our analysis of the case of Lucent shows the ways in which strategy, organization, and finance interacted to enable both Lucent's rapid growth in the late 1990s and its loss of competitive capabilities in the first half of the 2000s.
When Precision Turns Dangerous: Regulation, Knowledge, and the Financial Collapse of 2008
International cooperation in financial regulation had disastrous consequences in the crisis that unfolded in 2007 and 2008. That cooperation began in 1975 with discussions between national regulators about ways to collaborate in overseeing international financial institutions. This process resulted in the Basel Accord of 1988, the first-ever international agreement on bank regulation. Around 1990, however, cooperation took a different turn, driven by the assumption that regulation was a scientific process and that careful analysis would reveal the optimal way to do it. The ensuing international agreement, known as Basel II, which was completed in 2004, contained very detailed rules linking banks' capital requirements to the riskiness of their activities, based on the assumption that regulators knew which types of activities were riskier than others. Large banks were allowed to determine their own capital requirements using proprietary models, which were thought able accurately to capture risks and potential losses from trading activities. All of this went badly wrong in 2008. Regulation driven by the exaggerated belief in scientific risk assessment made the financial crisis far more painful than it might otherwise have been.
George Perkins and the Corporate Reconstruction of Risk
George Walbridge Perkins, Sr., was a leading American financier at the turn of the twentieth century. A vice-president of the New York Life Insurance Company, partner in the House of Morgan, architect of corporate policy at the U.S. Steel and International Harvester corporations, prominent social reformer, his many activities all focused on a singular goal: to socialize risk under the corporate business form. This paper uses Perkins to establish the conceptual, ideological, and political-economic stakes at issue in the corporate reconstruction of risk at the turn of the twentieth century. As an entry point into this transformation, Perkinswhether through his activities as a financier, his conceptualization of risk as a "social" entity, his authorship of profit-sharing and corporate welfare schemes, or his more public political activitiesdraws together many of the seemingly disparate strands of this reconstruction, often treated apart from one another.
Susan Ingalls Lewis
Lilly Daché, Milliner Deluxe: The Self-Production and Self-Promotion of a Fashion Icon
A vivacious self-promoter as well as a talented designer, Lilly Daché combined the cachet of Paris training with a personal story of struggle and success retold in numerous interviews and two books, Talking Through My Hats (1946) and Lilly Daché's Glamour Book (1956). Daché was profiled in The New Yorker (1942) and appeared as a celebrity contestant on the popular TV show "What's My Line?" (1958). Articles about her business, her travels, and her signature building (completed in 1938) regularly appeared in newspapers and popular magazines. Her custom-made hats were worn by the rich and the famous, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Marlene Dietrich, photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue, and appeared on the cover of Life. After she branched out to design fashion and beauty products in the late 1940s, Daché's photograph or name was featured in glossy magazine advertisements for everything from color televisions to cigarettes to salad dressing. This presentation will analyze the multiple ways in which Daché produced and managed her image as an artist, an arbiter of style and beauty, and a symbol of both the American dream and American glamour with a French accent.
From Taylorism to Human Relations: American, German, and Soviet Trajectories in the Interwar Years
This paper describes the post-World War I transformation of the scientific approach to the mobilization of labor in a transnational perspective. In the interwar years, a new academic industry developed that opposed the dominance of Taylorism. Attention shifted from questions of mechanical rationalization and the planning of production processes to the humans toiling at the bench and assembly lines. The physiology and psychology of fatigue, the dignity of the worker, her social relationships with fellow workers and supervisors, and her emotional attitude toward the work process came under scrutiny. What was at stake was now nothing less than "the soul of the worker." In parallel developments, the move away from Taylorism to a new humanism in industrial relations took place both in liberal and illiberal settings. In the United States the Hawthorne Experiments, administered by Harvard experts, gave rise to the "human relations" approach. Meanwhile, in Nazi Germany the Labor Front's Institute of Labor Sciences endorsed "true rationalization," which "put the human being at the center of the work process." In the Soviet Union, Leonid Gastev's Central Institute of Labor was an embattled outpost of Taylorism, giving way in the 1930s to a genuinely Soviet form of rationalization: Stakhanovism.
European Immigrants and Commercial Design in the United States: Transnational Exchanges and Transfers in Graphic and Industrial Design, 1920-1960
Midcentury American commercial design is widely regarded as a hallmark of a uniquely American brand of consumer culture that became a global success in the postwar decades. The story was more complicated than that of an "American innovation" exported abroad, however, as this paper will suggest. I trace the careers of Ferdinand Kramer and Herbert Bayer as examples of the a vast number of industrial, product, and graphic designers who found their way from Europe to the United States between the 1920s and the 1940s. Many of them would have a profound impact on American industrial and consumer design during this formative period and helped shape the look and appearance of American postwar affluence. Studying their careers, this paper will suggest, helps to qualify conventional narratives of the emergence of professional industrial design during the 1930s as a quintessentially American story of streamlined consumer goods, of designed obsolescence, and of rapid style changes. Instead, mid-twentieth century commercial aesthetics were shaped by a constant and complex transatlantic back and forth.
In this essay I explore the role of knowledge in the financing of SMEs by combining the results of theoretical and empirical analysis with historical evidence. Theoretical explanations of the role of banks place particular emphasis on information asym-metries, thereby accounting for the privileged relationships that local banks have traditionally developed with small firms. However, as suggested in the "capabilities" literature, the concept of knowledge should be distinguished from that of information. Moreover, the operation of local banks has been strongly affected in the past by both government intervention and the attitude of the supervisory authorities. After providing a conceptual frame-work, I present some historical findings on the interweaving of economics and politics in SME finance with reference to the Italian experience. I then investigate the role of knowledge in the financing of SMEs in Trentino-South Tyrola region in northeastern Italyin the second half of the twentieth century. For this purpose, I draw mainly on qualitative evidence provided by the records of Mediocredito Trentino-Alto Adige, a public law credit institute established in 1953 to issue medium- and long-term loans to SMEs in the region.
Di Yin Lu
Shanghai's Art Dealers and the International Market for Chinese Art, 1922-1949
This paper examines ordinary people in the Shanghai antiquities trade, which dominated the international market for Chinese art in the first half of the twentieth century. I argue that the mid-century expansion in Chinese art collecting was a workingman's phenomenon, compelled by immigrant dealers who kept up with customers both in China and overseas. Their trade practices reshaped Chinese art collecting at an international level, making a business out of Chinese civilization.
This paper is concerned with business strategies of political risk management during the twentieth century. It focuses especially on Beiersdorf, a pharmaceutical and skin care company in Germany. During World War I the expropriation of its brands and trademarks revealed its vulnerability to political risk. Following the advent of the Nazi regime in 1933, the largely Jewish-owned and -managed company faced a uniquely challenging combination of home and host country political risk. This paper reviews the firm's responses to these adverse circumstances, challenging the prevailing literature that interprets so-called cloaking activities as one element of businesses' cooperation with the Nazis. We also depart from the previous literature in assessing the outcomes of the company's strategies after 1945. The article examines the challenges and costs faced by the company in recovering the ownership of its brands. While the management of distance became much easier over the course of the twentieth century because of communications improvements, this paper shows that the management of governments and political risk grew sharply.
Bunking with Strange Bed-Fellows: The Social Foundations of Interregional Capital Flows in the Late Nineteenth Century
In the aftermath of the Civil War, capital from the cities of the Atlantic coast financed railroad construction, mineral extraction, farmland expansion, and industrial manufacturing across North America. Bankers, merchants, and brokers directed this unprecedented wave of capital migration. Far from lurking in back rooms, these men traveled extensively throughout the continent. They observed development, gathered information, and built networks of business connections. These men of capital wielded immense power in shaping the contours of economic activity in the West and across the border in Mexico. The paper attends in particular to the unlikely relationships that underpinned the process of capital movement. It shows how elite Easterners forged webs of interaction that controlled investment patterns. Reaching across class and geographical divides, they overcame the impulse to insulate themselves and instead joined forces with ambitious men of humble backgrounds. Old and new wealth thus socialized in a variety of venues, including feasts hosted by chambers of commerce in aspiring new towns, exotic hunting trips in untamed "wilderness," and luxurious railroad cars in the vast expanses of the West. These encounters presented opportunities for the two groups to mediate political, social, cultural, and ideological differences. Despite wide gulfs separating them, they formed a shared vision of economic development that helped power the second industrial revolution in the United States.
The Table of Clearances to Combustible Construction, an American national engineering standard for the insulation of boilers and other heating devices, was established in 1943 as a collaborative project of the insurance industry, fire protection organizations, and the federal government. This standard, published as NFPA 89M, was to have exceptionally enduring economic, legal, and medical implications. NPFA 89M, incorporated into hundreds of building codes at all levels of government between 1943 and 1991, approved as code compliant only nine insulation assemblies, of which eight contained asbestos. The ninth could be used on boilers and furnaces but not hot pipes. Thus, all insulations for hot pipes were, in almost every jurisdiction in the United States before 1991, required by law to contain asbestos. Despite the ubiquity of asbestos in building codes before 1991, all U.S. manufacturers of heating equipment, and most contractors and suppliers in the marketplace during the NFPA 89M period, are now being sued for billions of dollars because of their use and/or sale of asbestos in insulation, gaskets, and seals. This essay addresses the collaborative process by which the Table of Clearances to Combustible Construction became a national standard and its current relevance to asbestos litigation.
Massaging the Mass: Psychographic Market Segmentation in Postwar America
This paper analyzes the the influential theory on product personality and design, consumer motivation, and psychographic market segmentation produced by market and motivational researchers Pierre Martineau, Ernest Dichter, and Leo Bogart in the late 1950s and 1960s, and the practical application of corporate and brand identity theory in the image programs of Walter Landor, an industrial designer who developed some of the most iconic package designs and corporate images of the twentieth century. The success of Landor's designs, supported by the consumer research conducted by his in-house companies, realized the theory of market researchers. The practice of differentiating products through brand image to create designs that appealed to the basic desires of psychographic market segments was more effective in motivating consumer desire than the practice of physically differentiating product qualities. This basic concern for the consumer's motivationswhich often rested on unconscious, irrational desiresled to marketing appeals directed toward consumers defined in psychographic categories, which often transcended the demographic categories of age, sex, race, and class. I argue that the special knowledge of market researchers and industrial designers, combined with their skill in creative symbolism and acuity in communication, enabled them to influence consumer subjectivity and direct desire through psychographic marketing.
Controlling Currency and Smuggling Specie in the Arabian Sea, 1873-1966
This paper argues that mercantile networks in the Arabian Sea were engaged in opaque, speculative, and rent-seeking endeavors that Fernand Braudel describes as capitalist in his classic work Civilzation and Capitalism. The monetary policies of the British Empire sought to regulate and constrain these merchant networks while guaranteeing those monopolies that served the empire and British businesses. Yet Indian and Arab merchant networks were resilient, operating through cunning to escape regulation and to co-opt state monopolies. First, the smuggling of money and specie directly undermined British policies. Second, the plethora of monies and jurisdictions created significant loopholes through which merchant networks could circumvent British policies while skirting the edges of legality. Lastly, the shallow penetration of British businesses into these colonial economies necessitated both state-sponsored monopolies and the complicity of Indian and Arab financial networks to sustain their profitability in the formal economy. British monetary policies and financial regulations did not establish British control over the trade of the Indian Ocean, nor did they regulate and foster a free market; rather, they allowed British banks and the colonial state to skim monopoly rents off the top of existing networks of expropriation.
“Our Worst Enemies, the Merchants”: The Panic of 1819 on the Missouri Frontier
This paper explores public debates about the economic stresses resulting from the Panic of 1819 on the Missouri frontier. Settlers contested the causes and meaning of economic developments and strongly correlated them to their own definitions of the common good. In particular, their attacks on local merchants, and the defenses those merchants offered, show how economic interactions and negotiations shaped a sense of belonging on the Missouri frontier. This economic crisis brought economic fault lines to the fore. Yet even as farmers criticized the self-interested merchants, they realized that merchants played a crucial role in the development of the society when they exported the farmers' crops. Thus, while the ramifications of the 1819 Panic brought to the fore tensions between different economic groups, it did not cause a major reordering of the frontier Missouri society. This paper explores these specific tensions to see how settlers and merchants defended their own roles in the local society of the Missouri River Valley and how the definition of the common good was being negotiated on the frontier in this period.
When SMEs Encounter Globalization: The Interrelation of Past, Present, and Future in the Strategic Process
When it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the impact of globalization over the last twenty to thirty years, our knowledge is fragmented. For many companies, globalization is equated with a pressure to change. In the case of SMEs, we know only a little about how this challenge has been dealt with. That is to say we know only a little of the strategy of SMEs. It is a general assumption in research though that if a SME has a global profile it is a rational result of an interrelationship between the company's resources and its market. In my paper l seek to clarify how the Danish SME Fiberline has encountered globalization in its first ten years of history. The aim is to show that the company has acted through a strategic process that was based on its particular perception of the world, which inclined it to tread a particular path. As such the strategy of Fiberline was not a causal effect of an interrelationship between the company's resources and its market. Thus in starting to fill up the gap in our knowledge of SMEs' encounter with globalization, I will be challenging the general assumptions of the field of small business research.
Sharon Ann Murphy
Banking on the Public's Trust: The Image of Commercial Banks in Kentucky, 1816-1820
In the aftermath of the War of 1812, commercial bank charters proliferated throughout the country. As the story is often told, these banks performed poorly, particularly during and after the Panic of 1819, fueling the anti-banking backlash that culminated in the rise of Andrew Jackson. Yet to date, no one has attempted to study directly the attitude of different groups of people toward early American banks. Rather than treating commercial banks as interchangeable parts in a monolithic system, this project is examining the popular reaction to specific banking actions and functions within their communities. This paper examines the swiftly shifting banking environment in Kentucky from 1816 to 1820particularly the state-run Bank of Kentucky and their short-lived experiment with independent bankingto understand why this system was created, who initially supported it, why it failed so quickly, and what were the longer-term consequences for the public opinion of banks. These banking debates in Kentucky dovetailed with larger conversations about the place of corporations more generally in American life, including debates about what types of corporations actually served the public interest, and what type of regulatory oversight was permissible by state legislatures over their chartered progeny.
James Webb, "Space Age Management," and Post-Capitalist Ideas
In 1968 James E. Webb, leader of the American civilian space agency during the Apollo era, was invited to deliver a series of lectures at Columbia University. He chose the title: "Space Age Management: The Large Scale Approach." The lectures explore the possibility of more broadly applying the managerial and organizational techniques and lessons learned by the leaders of the soon to be triumphant American Moon landing effort. Since the 1980s Webb's vision has sometimes been criticized as the epitome of Great Society liberal overreach, dismissed as a peculiar artifact of the 1960s, or rejected as a regrettable capitulation to the technocratic impulses championed by the Soviet Union. Alternatively, I believe, its origins and development can be usefully contextualized as an expression of pervasive, long-standing strands of American political/social thought. Howard Brick, in Transcending Capitalism, provides a very different framework for examining the origins, context, and functioning of the vision of "space age management." This paper explores how the ideas of an influential public and corporate administrator developed in the years predating the Cold War, highlighting aspects that directly reflect the contemporary post-capitalist thinking discussed in Howard's challenging book.
Industrial Britain, from 1851 to 1914, enjoyed great success in producing and marketing consumer goods to both domestic and overseas markets. This paper examines the production of such an object for the Victorian homethe piano. Piano manufacture required craft skills and usually took place in relatively small-scale business units that were clustered in one location. Such clustering facilitated the accumulation and spread of knowledge both within and between piano manufacturers and from firms aligned to piano making. It allowed firms within the cluster to take advantage of knowledge spill-overs. Piano manufacturers required knowledge of the instruments they were making, the music that these instruments produced, and the markets that they were selling to in order to be successful and grow. The paper will analyze the production and marketing of pianos during this period, in the context of consumer income, expenditure, and tastes, and the knowledge that was required of both home and overseas markets by piano makers and dealers.
International Patent Control and Transfer of Knowledge: The United States and Japan before World War II
My aims in this essay are to clarify the role and effect of the international patent control carried out by the General Electric Company in the interwar period on knowledge transfer between the United States and Japan, and to examine the effects of this process on Japan's innovative behavior. In previous studies on GE's international patent control, I showed that in order to transfer technological knowledge safely, GE made its Japanese affiliated companies set up a patent department and transferred functional capabilities of patent control to them. After the organization of an international patent control system, GE transferred a good deal of technological knowledge continuously and utilized it in Japan until the outbreak of the Pacific War. In the interwar era, GE obtained about 12,000 patents that were applied for and registered in the United States. In Japan, GE applied for and registered about 3,000 patents in the name of affiliated companies. Therefore, GE transferred about one-fourth of its U.S. patented inventions to Japan, and made patent portfolios in both countries. In this essay, I will compare GE's U.S. and Japanese patent portfolios and analyze how they were linked.