Abstracts and Papers
Using ownership and control data for 905 firm-years, this paper examines the concentration of capital and voting rights in British companies in the second half of the nineteenth century. Both capital and voting rights were diffuse by modern-day standards. This finding implies that ownership was separated from control in the UK much earlier than previous scholars have suggested. It also provides evidence against the law and finance hypothesis, which argues that strong shareholder law is a prerequisite for diffuse ownership. In terms of the determinants of ownership, we find that the secondary trading of shares over time, and the appointment of large boards, were associated with less concentrated ownership. There is also evidence that many early companies made a particular effort to attract small shareholders, by severely limiting the voting rights of large shareholders, and by listing on multiple regional stock markets.
Combating Economic Decline during the Great Depression: Newspaper Chain Scripps Howard's Steps to Financial Recovery
Newspapers experienced a loss of revenue during the Great Depression. This paper examines one newspaper chain, Scripps Howard, to see how the chain weathered the financial downturn, and to assess the decisions and steps taken toward recovery. During the 1920s and 1930s Scripps Howard was the largest newspaper chain in the United States in terms of newspaper properties owned, and second only to the Hearst chain in total circulation. Several decisions contributed to the chain's ability to recover from the economic downturn. The chain changed the editorial-to-advertising ratio and implemented standardized formulas for all newspapers, allowed individual newspaper business managers to cut salaries, and created joint operating agreements with competing newspapers in money-losing markets. In sum, marketplace decreases and early decision making by executives kept the chain profitable.
Stephen B. Adams
America's Overseas Empire and the Begninnings of Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley's first major firm was founded in 1909 by an Australian (Cyril Elwell) using Danish technology. The Federal Telegraph Company set up its technical and manufacturing operations in Palo Alto, near Elwell's alma mater (Stanford University, known as "the Farm"). Federal garnered significant revenue only after the U.S. Navy became a major customer, seeking communications capabilities for its fleet and the bases of America's nascent overseas empire. The story of Federal Telegraph, and therefore the early history of Silicon Valley, is incomplete unless it is also framed within the context of American foreign policy. The Federal Telegraph Company was headquartered in San Francisco, which provided the firm access to customers, resources, administrative expertise, and political skill. America's largest city west of the Mississippi, San Francisco was a financial center and port near several major naval installations, and acted as a gateway to the Orientand to much of America's overseas empire. Therefore, while the technical operations of Silicon Valley's earliest major high-tech enterprise began in an agricultural region, the company began with far from a clean slate. Instead it is a story of both American nationalism and urban influence.
The Weight of the Company: Leopoldo Pirelli's Years in the Family Business, 1965-1992
This essay has its origins in a note written by Leopoldo Pirelli toward the end of his life. He was the heir of one of Europe's most important dynastiesone of the world's largest rubber producers, Pirelli. In 1992 Leopoldo left the company in almost the same state as he found it when he assumed leadership in 1965. So, in a certain sense, he did not follow the rule of the third generation ("from riches to rags"). Nevertheless, he was forced to resign when he failed to take over the German rubber producer, Continental. Over the course of his life, one of the major problems that haunted Leopoldo Pirelli was the limited amount of control exercised in the Group. The family holding owned little more than 7 percent of the operating companies that he was able to control thanks to the support of close friends like Gianni Agnelli (head of automobile manufacturer Fiat), the Orlando family (tycoons in copper), and the powerful banker, Enrico Cuccia (leader of Mediobanca, one of the few merchant banks in Italy). Leopoldo Pirelli was a prestigious figure in Italian capitalism and took on a central role in many episodes that make up the history of industrial Italyfor instance, the merger between the chemical company, Montecatini, and the electric company, Edison. He also held many roles outside Pirelli, but he was deeply committedalmost in a Calvinistic wayto his company. Pirelli expressed his endorsement of Thomas Edison's declaration that the activity of an entrepreneur is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. He was a day-by-day entrepreneur. But he constantly faced the problem that the company was divided into three sectors: tires, cables, and diversified rubber products. The latter two were doing well, but tires had a particularly turbulent market, afflicted by a saturation of demand and fierce competition. In the early 1970s Pirelli envisioned a merger with the British corporation, Dunlop. But that move was highly unsuccessful. One of the reasons for the failure was the different structure of ownership; while Dunlop was a public company, Pirelli was a family business that did not intend to change its corporate equilibrium. A decade later Pirelli tried another merger, this time with Continental, but it also was unsuccessful because the German stakeholders did not want a foreign company in command of one of their nation's most important firms. In a talk delivered to the Milan Association of Engineers in the late 1980s, Pirelli stressed that the duty of an entrepreneur was to give profits (or dividends) to shareholders. If the entrepreneur did not succeed the first time, he was to try again. But, Pirelli continued, if he does not succeed more than once, it would be time to resign. Faithful to this statement, after the Continental defeat in 1992, Leopoldo Pirelli resigned.
"A store is a citizen": Civic Culture and Consumer Culture at Lord & Taylor Department Store, 1945-1959
The trailblazing president of Lord & Taylor department store in New York City, Dorothy Shaver, summed up her belief in her store's social responsibilities with the simple phrase, "a store is a citizen." Shaver thereby marketed her store as a civic, as well as a cultural, institution, making it an important intersection between consumer culture and civic culture in the postwar "Consumers' Republic." This paper focuses on Shaver's efforts to build civic culture through the annual Lord & Taylor American Design Awards (1937-1958). While she began the awards to promote American fashion designers, they soon reflected her far-reaching civic engagement and liberalism. Shaver used the awards to advocate for racial and religious tolerance, defend the United Nations against conservative critics, and support the arts and sciences. All the while, the American Design Awards were also a key public relations vehicle for the store. This examination of Dorothy Shaver's civic activism as the head of her firm furthers our understanding of how business people, in addition to government officials and consumers, played important roles in linking citizenship to consumption in postwar America.
The Cultural Promises of the State: A Reconsideration of Corporate Social Politics in 1920s America
This paper describes how corporate elites in the 1920s turned to local government with new enthusiasm as a mechanism for reforming the culture of industrial America. Most historians tend to portray businessmen's social politics during the so-called New Era as focused primarily on private-sector experiments with welfare capitalism. In fact, corporate social politics were much more expansive and traversed the public-private divide. As this paper shows, in the years following the end of World War I, corporate interests lobbied local officials in cities across the country for a windfall of public spending on a host of social programs, from public schooling and the promotion of public health to the construction of decentralized cities featuring parks, playgrounds, libraries, museums and single-family homes. Rather than a social welfare state, these businessmen hoped to build what I call a civic welfare state, a network of programs that in the minds of elite businessmen promised to reform the culture of modern America by remaking American cities and the citizens who inhabited them.
Building the Bankers' Metropolis: The Politics of Labor, Capital, and Space in New York City, 1977-1981
In 1975, a combination of structural economic decline and a shaky credit market pushed New York City to the brink of municipal bankruptcya collapse that was averted only through aid from the federal government. The city's leaders, operating under conditions of fiscal austerity and mounting public disorder, faced difficult choices. One option was the embrace of what Housing and Development administrator Roger Starr termed "planned shrinkage" and a permanently smaller city. Given the political firestorm raised by Starr's suggestion, Edward Koch, who was elected mayor in 1977, along with other municipal leaders instead sought to capitalize on the city's remaining strengths in real estate and finance. The paper follows New York's political elites, the leaders of the city's major banking and real estate firms, and its labor unions as they searched for a development policy that could serve both private self-interest and preserve a modicum of social peace. The result of this settlement, I argue, was not the removal of the state from the marketplace, but rather a drive for growth based on the public-private mechanism of speculative "risk." The resulting policies of tax-subsidized development, in one of America's most liberal and unionized cities, were remarkably similar to those of its Sun Belt competitors.
Soft Power: The Media Industries in Britain since 1870
I discuss the emergence and growth of various media industries in Britain. I show how a rise in real wages and leisure time, rapid urbanization and the development of fast urban transport networks, and a rapid growth of the market's size led to a sharp rise in the demand for media and entertainment products and services, which was met by ever-new technologies coming from constantly emerging new industries, such as recorded music, film, radio, television, cable, videogames, internet, and social media. I argue these industries contributed to a sharp productivity rise by industrializing traditional media and entertainment, and to a sharp welfare growth as consumers valued them so highly that they were willing to incur ever-higher opportunity costs to consume them. I also discuss how four factorsquality races, marginal revenues equalling marginal costs, the superstar effect, and agglomeration benefitsshaped the evolution of individual industries, and assess the success or failure of British media across six distinct policy objectives. I also observe the external effect media had by improving the functioning of the market through better information transmission and the shaping of morals, reducing transaction costs, and how the media and the new forms of advertising they introduced affected market structure in various consumer goods industries.
This paper builds on previous studies of networks and their influence on business culture, practice, and values and extends this approach to investigate the linkages between professional associations and civic societies. Its primary focus is the Manchester Statistical Society, which was founded in 1833 and remains active today. Founded by a group of entrepreneurs, it underwent a series of mutations that reflected shared interests, collective objectives, and common aspirations. This paper demonstrates the significance of family ties among the business elite in civic societies in Manchester and also shows the extent to which these societies were more than merely social networks comprising business leaders and prominent citizens. Initially, speakers were gentleman scholars and business leaders. By 1900, papers tended to be given by academics and professional experts. With the identification of a web of activities and an enumeration of leading activists, we demonstrate the overlap between business, university, and civic societies. The Manchester Statistical Society provided a means for informal commercial education, served as a precursor to professional associations, and, in particular, promoted the creation of a university for Manchester. These developments influenced and were underpinned by laissez-faire economics, here epitomized by the "Manchester School."
Plantation Business Practice and Cotton Factors: Plantation Accounting in the American South
By the 1830s, cotton plantations dominated the Southern economy. Unlike the shopkeeper, printer, or even banker of the North, even small planters were required to manage dozens of coerced workers at a variety of constantly shifting tasks, while also attempting to control the details of their non-working lives. For all the complexity of these enterprises, nearly all cotton planters relied on cotton factors to secure credit and get their valuable crop to Atlantic markets. Establishing credit-worthiness was as essential as agricultural acumen for a cotton planter. Even the largest planters often found themselves deeply indebted to factors. This paper argues that cotton planters in the American South used the language of merchant clerks to establish themselves as creditworthy figures. In order to gain favor with (mostly northern) cotton factors, Southern planters presented themselves as modern, progressive entrepreneurs. They were able to present this image by mobilizing their networks of agricultural improvement, which advocated for advanced accounting practices. At the same time, the families of factors and planters cemented alliances through intermarriage.
Gustav Goelitz: German-American Candy Maker
Twenty-one-year-old Gustav Goelitz arrived in the United States with some experience in wholesale and retail sales. He settled in the predominantly German-speaking community of Belleville, Illinois, and used his contacts within the German-American town to learn a new trade and start his own business. He insulated himself and his family within the German nature of the town choosing to employ German speakers and participate in clubs and organizations with a distinctly German character. When his business failed in St. Louis, he chose an attorney who was fluent in German and who had a working knowledge of wholesale business. He returned to the insulated German-American community at Belleville and reopened a business with his sons. Goelitz was respected in Belleville as an innovative businessman who provided the community with quality goods. His descendants continue to apply the family-oriented business attitude and standard of high quality to their business, Jelly Belly Candy Company.
Jennifer M. Black
"Speaking by the Pen": How Epistolary Etiquette Shaped Advertising Practices in the Gilded Age
To nineteenth-century middle-class Americans, letter writing was an important mode of communication, relationship-building, character demonstration, and personal expression. In following the appropriate rules and language required to compose a truly sincere letter, writers strove for honest expression and overtly transparent language. Drawing upon letter-writing manuals, advertising treatises, and advertisements published between 1865 and 1930, this paper examines the ways in which advertisers appropriated epistolary etiquette in composing their appeals to the public. The art of letter writing, in advertising terms, evolved in these years from a formalized approach rooted in proper business etiquette to one that consciously built upon the intimate appeal of a personal letter in order to win additional sales. In epistolary advertising, admen utilized a language of personal, intimate expression typically reserved for letters of devotion circulating between close friends. In so doing, I argue, advertisers created an intersection of personal and commercial communication that shifted advertising strategies away from the formalized solicitations popular at mid-century. What resulted was a new mode of appeal that was uniquely personal, intimate, and friendly despite its underlying commercial character. As modern culture became more and more impersonal, advertising fought back by personalizing its appeals to the public.
Sandra L. Braun
Forgotten First Lady: The Life, Rise, and Success of Dorothy Shaver, President of Lord & Taylor Department Store and America's First Lady of Retailing
Dorothy Shaver was one of America's earliest female CEOs and a communications executive. In 1945, she was elected CEO of Lord & Taylor Department Store, a $30 million enterprise, becoming the first female in the United States elected to a corporation that size. She had a host of accomplishments, including providing much of the foundation for America's multi-billion-dollar fashion industry. Her work in the fashion industry, including innovations in publicity, promotions, merchandising, and advertising, brought her to the attention of management, other retailers, and industry leaders in the United States and abroad. She popularized many trends that form the basis of fashion and fashion retailing as it is known today. Yet there is no collective source of her life and accomplishments and very little scholarly study. This study introduces her to the literature, providing a brief biographical account of her life, documenting her rise through the corporate ranks, and discussing some her accomplishments and reasons for her success in her own words and the words of others.
Quantity or Expensiveness? Fabrication of a Luxury Industry, the Parisian Perfumery in the Nineteenth Century
The industrialization of the production of perfumery articles in the nineteenth century and their broader social diffusion invite us to question the relevance of the identification of perfume as a luxury product at that time. The innovations generated or adopted by perfumers, be they new extracting methods of raw materials or the use of smelling compounds from a synthetic origin, if they bring new creative possibilities to perfumers also allow wider margins on the sale of products whose prices remain stable. The switch from an artisanal fabrication to an industry of perfume manufacturing thus seems to go hand in hand with a relative price increase of these articles. I study the marketing strategies developed by perfumers of the nineteenth century to build the value of their products and to position them among the luxury goods triumphing on a large scale right from the Second Empire.
Selling Cosmetics in Pharmacies: Intermediaries and Institutions, 1960-2010
Economic sociology informs us that intermediaries are more than neutral platforms relating economic partners. These active entities are actors involved in the construction of markets and the dynamics of the values that drive them. As a consequence they have an impact on the cognitive categories and the values that order goods, people, and organizations on markets and institutions. This paper examines the historical significance of intermediaries and institutions in the case of the cosmetics industry. The paper is based the case study of Pierre Fabre Laboratories, a pharmaceutical and cosmetics company created in 1962 in the southwest of France by a pharmacist. It has developed into a 2 billion Euro multinational company with strong market shares in anti-cancer drugs and dermocosmetics. The paper looks at the development of the company facing much larger competitors such as the "big pharmas" or beauty products giants L'Oreal or Shiseido. The success of this family-controlled firm was based among other factors on its capacity to develop products from natural substances for a therapeutic or dermatology and cosmetic use. Using the archives of the company and interviews, we analyze the internationalization of the firm's dermocosmetics division to its present position, in which 60 percent of the company turnover is generated outside its home market. The paper will reflect on a series of cases illustrating the internationalization of the Pierre Fabre brands and the opportunities for collaboration with colleagues, prescribers, complementors, and competitors in achieving success. It will look also at international failures and at the issue of cultural adaptation.
"A Webb of Lies": How Business Decisions Shaped Public Opinion in the 1830s
The spending habits and business techniques employed by New York newspaper editor James Watson Webb have important implications for what historians call the "Bank War," as well as for broader discussions of the communications revolution and public sphere of the early nineteenth century. Most accounts of the Bank War tend to focus almost exclusively on elite politicians; doing so, consciously or not, robs editors of their individual agency. Webb's experience shows us that editors' business operations were intimately connected with, and often influenced by, party attitudes, personality traits, and lifestyle choices. While managing his newspaper, Webb accumulated suffocating debts in purchasing the latest technology and prioritizing prestige and image. Efforts to reduce these debts through stock speculations backfired, and Webb's abrasive personality alienated untold allies. Despite lengthy subscription lists, political connections, and generous loans from the national bank, Webb's business faltered. High rent and payment for workers' wages implied only modest profits at best. Lavish spending in his personal life, moreover, crippled Webb's ability to repay his loans. All of these factors helped undermine bank president Nicholas Biddle's ability to run an effective media campaign.
"Dear Friend:" The Rodale Press and the Business Culture of Direct Mail Marketing in the Postwar United States
This paper explores the history of direct mail marketing in the postwar United States through the story of one firm, the Rodale Press. The press was a publishing house that focused on natural foods and personal health and produced magazines like Organic Gardening and Prevention starting in the 1940s. Under the aegis of J.I. Rodale, a pioneer in organic foods and natural health publishing, the firm grew from a hobby operation to one that today produces titles like Men's Health and Runner's World. Although common in popular culture today, the types of natural products and health claims that filled the pages of Rodale's magazines in their earliest years fell well outside both mainstream biomedical thinking and midcentury mass media. Using direct mail to circumnavigate mass-market channels and grow an audience of repeat consumers, the Rodale Press developed strategies for understanding what its readers would consume next. Focusing on direct mail documents and the strategies by which they circulated, this story highlights how in the business culture of the postwar era, the ability to accrue, analyze, and deploy knowledge about a segment of consumers would become more valuable than the selling of a physical commodity.
Credit, Bankruptcy, and Extrajudicial and Judicial Remedies in Eighteenth-Century Northern Europe: Tales of Bankruptcy by Various Means
Recent work on pre-modern commercial networks has questioned whether they lowered risk or increased trust and re-examined the ways in which they achieved closure. The size and scope of networks has come in for some critical inquiry as well. This paper engages particularly with the latter two issues by examining several cases of bankruptcy or near bankruptcy that unfolded in northern Europe during the mid-eighteenth century, with the emphasis on Amsterdam, Emden, Hamburg, Göteborg, and Stockholm, all of which had East Indies ties of various sorts through the large, state-sponsored trading concerns of the day. In the hothouse world of East Indies finance, speculation as well as the access to credit that it presumed and, of course, bankruptcy were commonplaces. But did merchants, through their networks, and judicial and political authorities, through institutions, have a way to cope with these crises? Did any partnership or cooperation exist between these two groups of participants in eighteenth-century credit markets? I conclude that a common set of procedures relying on both network management of information, on the one hand, and the relative similarity of urban legal institutions and procedures on the other, enabled the commercial sector to weather the financial shoals of credit collapse and bankruptcy.
Institutional Changes, Social Networks, and the Development of Taiwan's Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Enterprises in the Postwar Period and from the 1950s to the 1990s
Chinese social networks have always played a significant role in Chinese business societies. The story of Taiwanese small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) is usually taken as a successful example of network-based business operation in our own day. Much has been written on the use made of social networks by these SMEs to facilitate their business operations, but some questions still remain. Why were the social networks not managed by the SMEs effectively before 1970? Why did the SMEs rely on the social networks for business after 1970? How much did the SMEs rely on the social networks for their business operations? The paper finds that the rise of the SMEs and the successful use of the social networks are related to an open market. Furthermore, the evidence explains and quantifies the SMEs' heavy reliance on the social networks by demonstrating the financial sources of the SMEs for business operations from 1970 to the late 1990s. The findings of this paper demonstrate that, as long as they had an open market, the SMEs, with the financial support of the social networks, were able to operate business notwithstanding institutional changes.
The Hero at the Drive Thru Window: Chicago's Black McDonald's Operators Association and the Redefinition of Community
Eight-and-a-half months after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the ensuing riots spurred by the announcement of the civil rights leader's murder, African American barber-turned-businessman Herman Petty opened the nation's first Black-owned McDonald's franchise. Situated on the corners of 65th Street and Stony Island Avenue on Chicago's South Side, the fast food restaurant represented the corporation's attempt to establish outlets in Black, inner-city cores. The McDonald's corporation ensured the safety and success of their franchises by promoting Black leadership of the restaurants, even displacing white franchisees in order to appease community concerns about the chain's encroachment among their neighborhoods. I examine the history of Chicago's Black McDonald's Operators Association, established in 1969, and their formation of a local and then national network of Black franchisees. These franchises played a critical role throughout the 1970s after rioting destroyed mom-and-pop stores and economic recession downgraded public services to cities. Black-owned McDonald's restaurants became the center of philanthropic outreach and job training, while shaping the business aspirations for Black entrepreneurs. I argue that these franchises developed and thrived with little criticism, despite their corporate ties, because they assumed responsibility for neighborhoods and filled various voids in employment, education, and community.
From Rueckheim to Schnering: Subsuming German Cultural Identities into All-American Marketing Images
At the end of the nineteenth century, Frederick Rueckheim, the founder of the Cracker Jack Company, embraced his German heritage and openly displayed a portrait of German Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg in his officean action that resulted in a Secret Service investigation in 1918. By 1922, Rueckheim had changed his company name from Rueckheim Brothers & Eckstein to the Cracker Jack Company and introduced the Sailor Jack logo. During the same timeframe, Otto Schnering, the inventor of the Baby Ruth candy bar, masked his German heritage and embraced "American" culture in his business practices. He claimed to have named the Baby Ruth candy bar after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, and he used his mother's maiden name, Curtiss, for his candy company. Why was it necessary for both the older and newer candy companies to mask their German heritage? Chicago's population was 25 to 30 percent German in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chicago's Germans had survived anti-German sentiments aroused by the 1886 Haymarket Affair. World War I and the American government's commitment to propaganda proved mighty. For German confection entrepreneurs to survive and to transition into national manufacturers, their German identities had to be subsumed into "all-American" marketing images.
SEPTA to the Metroliner: From a Culture of Mobility to a Culture of Speed
Commuter rail lines have long been vital to the provision of mobility in the Northeastern United States. This was particularly true in Philadelphia, where the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Company operated a 265-mile commuter network. In 1960 the City of Philadelphia established the Passenger Service Improvement Corporation (PSIC) to subsidize PRR and Reading commuter services. The following year, city officials created the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Compact (SEPACT), in an effort to bring suburban counties into the planning process associated with commuter rail. Federal assistance ultimately rescued Philadelphia's commuter-rail service, and likewise saved area residents and elected officials from internecine political battles over funding. The process of soliciting federal funds for local rail projects also immersed city officials in the rapidly changing arena of Washington politics. Among the chief beneficiaries were Philadelphia mayor Richardson Dilworth and city solicitor David Berger. Like many in the Johnson administration, they envisioned that the Pennsylvania Railroad might operate Metroliner service at a steady 150 miles per hour between the nation's political and commercial capitals. The same techniques that they employed in developing federal funding for local transit in the Philadelphia region they transferred to attempts to develop federal funding for regional high-speed rail.
Jessica P. Clark
A Glimpse into France as She Is on a Foreign Soil: Eugène Rimmel and London's Manufacturing Perfumers, 1851-1891
From his relatively humble locations in Soho, London, Eugène Rimmel (1820-1887) experienced breakout success when his elaborate perfume fountain became a hit of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Over twenty years, he developed a national brand, establishing himself as England's foremost manufacturer of perfumery and beautifying goods. Yet, the preeminent representative of English perfumery was not, in fact, English but French. Rimmel was simultaneously Continental and English, an outsider and a citizen. What his natal character reportedly lacked in business acumen, he made up by mimicking the inherent characteristics of his English contemporaries. Rimmel's story foregrounds the fascinating role of cultural duality in Victorian manufacturing perfumery, a quality that shaped both the management of his enterprise and the public personae that he cultivated. As a Frenchman living in London, Rimmel presents a story that offers perspective on personal and public representations of British nationalities, reflecting the complex experiences of white Europeans active in London's luxury commercial scene. This paper focuses on spaceon the local and national levelto highlight the ways that Rimmel exploited the conditions of possibility fostered by multiple national loyalties to align with an explicitly English narrative of business acumen.
Speed, Culture, and High-Speed Trains
This paper explores the multiple dimensions of speed as a theoretical and empirical construct. After presenting timetable data on the speed of French and American trains, 1890-1970, I explain how this data fails to capture the subjective-perceptual dimension of speed, its dialectical nature, and the way speed affects the uses of space in cultural and economic terms. The paper also looks at ways in which social class and culture mediate individual and collective memories of speed and how collective memories, in turn, affect the development of national transportation systems.
Beyond the Firm: Economic Indicators and the Visible Hand of Everyday Life
This paper explores how cost-accounting figures shaped cost-of-living statistics and the invention of the calorie by examining the lifework of Gilded Age manufacturer, nutrition reformer, and economic thinker Edward Atkinson. In so doing, this paper demonstrates that the managerial statistics that Alfred Chandler has famously documented ended up being used not only to manage American firms but to run American society. Chandler was one of the first historians to recognize the importance of data in managing a corporate capitalist society. And yet, his work focused mostly on firms. This paper suggests that we need to bravely go where Chandler rarely went before: beyond the firm. Instead of focusing only on the microeconomics of the corporation, we must explore the macroeconomics of the nation. Instead of analyzing only the "visible hand" of the firm, we must examine the visible hand of everyday life.
White Collars to Whiteness: Immigrants and Corporate Careers, 1910-1930
For European immigrants, social mobility was not only a matter of socioeconomics, but was also a strategy to shed their racial stigmas as "backward," "foreign," and "undesirable." To become an accepted part of the American mainstream, one needed to be white. Though several routes to whiteness emerged, European immigrants realized that the most direct route was economic success. This, of course, was easier said than done. Immigrant communities respected immigrant entrepreneurs, but they marveled at the men and women who moved beyond their ethnic group and entered mainstream society through white-collar work. These attainments offered sharp refutations of the charges by mainstream media sources that immigrants were not fit to be true Americans. Unfortunately, immigrants found the middle-class workplace rife with prejudice, forcing them to negotiate their understandings of race and gender carefully. This paper examines how European immigrants and their children utilized white-collar corporate careers as a route to American, middle-class normative whiteness.
The Anglo-American Tobacco War of 1901-1902: A Clash of Business Cultures and Strategies
The storypossibly apocryphal but frequently relatedof James Duke's opening remark to the upstanding Player brothers of Nottingham: "Hello boysI'm Duke from New York, come to buy your business," speaks volumes for the cultural divide between the leading tobacco firms of Britain and the United States at the start of the twentieth century. Duke's ruthless use of hostile takeovers as a method of rapid expansion contrasts starkly with the gentlemanly agreements that brought into existence the Imperial Tobacco Company (of Great Britain and Ireland) as the federated British antidote to Duke's international adventuring. The Anglo-American Tobacco War of 1901-1902 was undoubtedly a clash of business cultures, but it was also an example of American quick-witted business strategy, of which the brash cultural manifestation was merely an outward reflection. In the struggle for market share in Britain, the focal point of the conflict was the (non-hostile) takeover by Duke's American Tobacco Company of the Liverpool tobacco firm of Ogden's. The recently available archive of Ogden's business papers via the Liverpool Record Office allows the well-known account of the Tobacco War to be reconsidered from the point of view of the firm whose products were the focus of the competitive struggle.
Alex Sayf Cummings
Importing PhDs: How the Research Triangle Recruited Tech Firms and Invented the Creative Class City, 1953-1980
In 1955, a coterie of academics, business leaders, and politicians set out to change North Carolina's economic course by promoting the idea of a "Research Triangle" that embraced Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. Leading universities such as Duke and North Carolina State provided the anchors for a new metropolitan economy that outside firms in fields such as computing and pharmaceuticals would find irresistible. Boosters hoped that the Triangle would prompt Tar Heels with advanced degrees to stay home and cultivate local enterprise and innovation. North Carolinians campaigned vigorously to persuade corporate leaders that the Triangle cities offered a pleasant, culturally sophisticated milieu where the scientists that high-tech firms hoped to employ would be happy to live. They leveraged the academic and cultural institutions of the region as a source of value to attract better educated workers, whose high wages and tax revenues would elevate the standard of living for all. By 1980, Research Triangle Park had succeeded in drawing major employers (such as IBM and Burroughs-Wellcome), and "the Triangle" became a commonplace of metropolitan parlance. Yet whether the elites who envisioned the Triangle succeeded in achieving their goalsan early instance of pursuing a specifically "post-industrial" development strategyremains unclear.
Mary P. Follett (1868-1933) has been considered as a pioneer in management although her contributions have been eclipsed for a long time. She contributed to give some philosophical foundations to modern theories of management. Our research follows two objectives. It aims to highlight the nature and origin of the concepts and ideas she offered. More generally, it also aims to contribute to explain the genealogy and birth of management ideas. We focus our work on one of the pillars of the conceptual edifice of Follett: the concept of integration. From a systematic and comprehensive textual analysis of books by Follett and lectures she gave to figures from the business world of her time, we highlight three results: (1) the concept of integration is produced through a process of gradual labeling; (2) Follett deliberately maintains a high degree of pragmatic ambiguity to support her reasoning; (3) she systematically demonstrates the lack of autonomy of the field of management in relation to others (political science, social psychology, etc.) in order to give value to management ideas.
Management Innovation, a Genealogical Perspective: The Case of Drucker's Management by Objectives and Self Control
One could think that Peter Drucker's invention of Management by Objectives and Self Control (MBO) and its first implementation at General Electric in 1952 was a breakthrough in management techniques. Analyzing the history of MBO from a genealogical perspective, and taking into account Drucker's own intellectual trajectory, we suggest a different perspective: MBO is the logical signature of the multidivisional structure; it takes its roots in the "systematic management" movement initiated by Du Pont at the end of the nineteenth century and it also represents Drucker's attempt to reconcile corporatism and bureaucracy. Elaborating from Drucker's invention of MBO, we discuss the reasons why MBO and similar large-scale management techniques correspond to systematic design regimes, while the very process of their invention seems to be, on the contrary, the realm of a design regime much closer to "bricolage."
Making Markets Moral: Commercial Capitalism and Economic Behavior in Late Nineteenth-Century America
Modern understandings of the marketplace, driven by increasingly abstract economic modeling, often disregard judging economic behavior in terms of subjective notions of ethics and instead focus on instrumentality and rationality, and treat ends with more attention than means. This was not the case in America in the nineteenth century, a time when newer understandings of business came into conflict with cultural and political value systems that judged economic activity by different standards. This paper focuses on the importance that moral considerations of economic behavior played in the discussions and debates over economic reforms of the commercial class as represented by the National Board of Trade in the late nineteenth century. Using a variety of sources including organizational proceedings and prescriptive texts, my paper argues that the nature of the commercial economy led organized merchants to frame certain economic issues by blending economically liberal and republican approaches to political economy in an attempt to construct policy sensitive to qualitative as well as quantitative growth.
The Culture of Money in Nineteenth-Century China and the Coinage Act of 1873
This paper provides an overview of the coinage system of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and follows attempts by the United States to replace the Mexican silver dollar as the coin of choice among Chinese merchants through the minting of the U.S. trade dollar in 1873. The paper argues that conventional understanding of the Coinage Act of 1873 adopts the perspective of the 1890s and overlooks important developments in the changing role of the United States in East Asia during the late nineteenth century.
Alicia M. Dewey
Navigating Change in a Capitalist Economy: Ethnic Mexicans and Anglo-American Business Culture, 1880-1940
Between 1880 and 1940, the ethnic Mexican population of the American Southwest experienced tremendous dislocation, as the U.S./Mexico border region became more tightly incorporated into the global capitalist economy dominated by the United States and Western Europe. The costs of making a living off the land increased, and land loss accelerated among the rural population. Railroads brought an influx of new migrants and facilitated access to a wide variety of consumer goods, thereby expanding the potential for new business ventures in the towns and cities. Using property tax rolls, R. G. Dun Reference Books, census records, and bankruptcy case files, this paper explores the shifting landscape of business opportunities available to ethnic Mexicans as Anglo-American business culture penetrated the U.S./Mexico border region. It argues that many ethnic Mexicans were able to acquire credit and start small businesses in this period. These business owners, who formed the core of the emerging Mexican-American middle class, showed tremendous resourcefulness, persistence, and creativity, despite the limitations they faced in a competitive and often discriminatory Anglo-American capitalist economy. The geographic focus of this paper is the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, a microcosm of the region where these broader trends occurred.
Multinational Enterprises and the Globalization of Medicine: Siemens and the Business of X-ray Equipment in Emerging Markets, 1900-1939
This paper focuses on the expansion of Siemens on the X-ray equipment market in emerging countries during the first half of the twentieth century. The German multinational enterprise experienced slight growth from the mid-1920s onwards but relied mainly on two markets (Argentina and Brazil). However, it was overspecialized in providing large-scale equipment to a few urban hospitals and had great difficulty in expanding its business to include private doctors and inland outlets. This paper argues that these shortcomings stemmed from a direct application of the European strategy (high-quality, expensive equipment for hospitals) to emerging markets, where health systems were different.
The Conservative State in the New Deal: Public and Private Power in Los Angeles
The paper looks at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to understand the reconfiguration of public and private power in Los Angeles during the New Deal. In doing so, it charts a shift as business leaders in the city moved from looking at state power as a resource to maintain local control over the economic relations to instead viewing the state as a corruptive influence in the economy. Working within the New Deal, business leaders developed a critique of the state that emphasized the susceptibility of elected politicians to popular pressure while embracing the bureaucracy of works programs as a means to build up the city's physical infrastructure. As a result, the New Deal developed in Los Angeles outside the informal sphere of extra-governmental politics, and local civic leaders interacted with the state as consumers of government policy rather than as participants in state development.
Kevin L. Eades
The Shreveport Rates Case: Regulating Intrastate Commerce
In 1913, the Supreme Court delivered a decision in the Shreveport Rates Case, a combination of lawsuits involving the Houston East and West Texas Railroad (HE&WT) that allowed the federal government to regulate intrastate commerce as well as interstate commerce. The HE&WT operated a railroad from Houston, Texas, to Shreveport, Louisiana. The Texas Railroad Commission set the maximum freight shipping rate toward Shreveport higher than the freight shipping rate to Texarkana, Texas, a longer distance to the east, but still in Texas. This structure favored shipping freight to Dallas instead of Shreveport, despite the increased distance. As result of the decision, the Supreme Court expanded the power of the federal government to regulate any aspect of life. In this presentation, I hope to demonstrate the legacy of this court case in the area of regulatory reform, particularly in the railroad industry, which was a favorite target of the Progressive muckrakers. Second, I hope to show the local aspects of this court case, exploring the ways that it affected railroad development in East Texas and Western Louisiana.
"Rainbow Medicine": People, Passion, and PoliticsCultural Ingredients of a Post-Apartheid Company Turnaround in South Africa
Pep Stores was founded during the heyday of apartheid (1965) as a South African retail clothing company servicing the "cheap" (mainly colored and African) market. Despite a history of continuous growth, Pep Stores did not achieve budgeted sales for five consecutive years in the middle 1990s. The paper describes and evaluates the company's assessment of and reaction to this period of stagnation. It suggests that the 2000 turnaround of the company was achieved by the new management team that was appointed in 1998 because their response was more sensitive to and aware of the way in which the period of democratic transition and the resulting introduction of a new social-economic and political dispensation in South Africa in 1994 impacted the culture of their traditional retail environment. The result was a reinvented Pep Stores with a Sikhula KunYe (growing together) culture that was more compatible with the rising expectations of their newly politically and socially emancipated Black customers and employees.
Domesticating the Financial Corporation: The Material Culture and Civic Practices of Marine Insurance Companies
This paper will explain how marine insurance companies, among the most powerful of early American financial corporations, reduced their own risk by stressing their American identities, and by forging and advertising their relationships with the federal government. Marine insurance companies were known to be highly capitalized, internationally active, and controlled by partisan groups of elite merchants. While corporate charters theoretically secured their property, they still faced a number of risks: if their companies seemed untrustworthy or unstable, merchants might avoid them, legislatures might revoke their charters, and investors might jettison their stock. One solution employed by corporate leaders was to spare no expense in demonstrating their companies' civic commitments and American bona fides. They made expensive, public silver gifts to ship captains who protected insured property and attempted to define the protection of insured property as a patriotic endeavor. Company leaders commissioned portraits in which they closely resembled American government leaders, and they were commemorated in biographies that celebrated their American commitments and investments. By emphasizing their affiliation with the United States, American marine insurers made their companies appear safer and more stableand this appearance was soon indistinguishable from reality.
The "very fibre of personal finance": Changing Beliefs about Regulation and the Small-Sum Lending Industry in New York, 1900-1940
This paper explores the confluence of ideas that reshaped regulation of the small-sum lending industry in the first decades of the twentieth century. At the turn of the century, Gotham's small loan business was booming, but it operated in the shadows of the law. To make a profit, lenders devised elaborate schemes to evade state lending regulations. These maneuvers allowed them to provide loans to working-class households at interest rates well above the legal limit. But the growth of the industry and its impact on the urban poor captured the attention of reformers, who launched a campaign to combat the "loan shark evil." Many histories of the Progressive Era highlight reformers' desire to expand the role of the state in the marketplace and industry's aversion to regulation. Complicating the dominant narrative, this paper argues that lending reformers were not strong proponents of state action and that lenders were not, ultimately, averse to state control. Indeed, many lenders eventually came to see regulation as a boon to their business. By the early 1930s, industry leaders deemed legal constraints "the very breath of life to our business." Belief in the benefits of regulation was "woven into the very fibre of personal finance."
Dale L. Flesher and Gary J. Previts
The Railroad Influence on the Development of the American Accounting Profession
It is hard to overestimate the impact of the nineteenth-century railroad industry on American business and society. This paper examines the links and influences between the profession of accounting and the railroads by examining the early practice of Haskins and Sells, today known as Deloitte. Documents are available for this major firm with roots back to the late 1800s. From these, inference can be extended about the role railroads played in the early CPA profession. It should be noted that this study examines the railroads as one of the pillars of the U.S. accounting profession; clearly there were other influences such as the immigration to America of U.K. accountants in the late nineteenth century that helped form the profession. But one of the main sources of early public accounting talent was the accountants and auditors who had been trained by the railroads and who applied the early uniform accounts established by the Saratoga N.Y. Railroad Commissioner's Convention in the late l870s. Accounting practice and the profession were also impacted directly by railroads. Examples include the format and content of annual reports, the measurement of income with depreciation of long-lived assets becoming not only a theoretical but a pragmatic issue, the standardization of accounting methods and accounts to aid regulators, the concept of retained earnings being a source of capital, and the use of internal auditors, controllers, audit committees, vouchers, and controls over cash. The managerial accounting concepts of fixed costs and variable costs and the impact of efficiency (throughput) on the profitability of large-scale, capital-intensive businesses were learned at the railroads and later applied in heavy manufacturing. In addition, railroads became a type of "college" for accounting and auditing education for at least two generations of accountants.
This article aims to understand more about the origins of internal careers through a case study of accounting personnel at the French company Saint-Gobain at the turn of the twentieth century. The first section offers a review of various bodies of research that will allow us to define the notion of a career and explain its origins. Using this information, we outline our reasons for studying the careers of accounting clerks at Saint-Gobain. Drawing on quantitative data taken from staff registers, we reveal the emergence of an internal career practice marked by a certain hierarchy between the different positions within the company and access to hierarchically superior jobs through internal promotion. In the absence of regulation, this approach to internal career development can be explained by the needs that emerged from increasing bureaucratization and the development of companies. From this perspective, the introduction of career mobility among accounting personnel can be justified by the need for individual management of labor requirements.
To Help Build Bigger and Better Negro Business: The National Negro Housewives League, 1930s-1950s
The connections between individual consumption and collective activism are certainly not new. From T. H. Breen's "marketplace of revolution" to Lizabeth Cohen's "consumer's republic," various scholars have explored mass consumption as a strategy to reaffirm U.S. democratic values and to promote the fitness of the national economy. However, precious little work has been done on black women's organized consumer activism, particularly before the modern civil rights movement of the 1950s. This presentation will explore black women's consumer activism from the 1930s to the early 1950s in the National Negro Housewives League (NNHL), formed in 1935. It looks closely at the role of gender and class in reconfiguring the black group economy and in shaping the image of postwar domestic black femininity through business and consumption. The women in the NNHL and its local leagues advocated a number of civic-minded goals that they felt could only be achieved through the power of the black purse. It was with dollars and centsrather than the ballot or appeals to white consciencethat these women would achieve what the vote had not and, perhaps, could not have done: assert black women's economic independence and power.
The Arduous Rise of the Telephone in Postwar Europe: A View into, and beyond, the Inefficiency of the Bureaucratic State-Business Culture
In 1967, in France, an individual, or even a business, requesting a connection to the telephone network would have had to wait, on average, for three years before his demand was met. At the same date, in the United States, three days would have sufficed. The situation was hardly better in Britain. Why, in Europe's advanced industrial economies, was the national management of the telephone business profundly inefficient? To understand this economic failure, two sets of factors can be put forward. On the one hand, the problem largely derived from a pervasive lack of interest in phone technology. This 'cultural' factor was widespread among the masses, thus preventing the emergence of a large marketat least until the 1960sas well as within the political elites in power, thus preventing the expansion and modernization of the networks. On the other hand, the sectoral institutional arrangement in the two countriesa state monopoly run by a government department, the PTTshampered the rise of the telephone. This paper demonstrates how these two elements formed a synergetic vicious circle that led to economic backwardness, and how, in the end, the vicious circle was broken and business efficiency restored.
A Hungarian Bank in New York
On May 2, 1912, the Transatlantic Trust Company was authorized to do banking business in New York. The bank was a joint venture among three Hungarian banks with the stated goal of becoming the near monopoly transmitter of remittances to Hungary. The bank was successful if measured by the loan to deposit ratio or by the growth of its assets. To achieve its goal of attracting remittance funds the bank advertised heavily in the Hungarian papers. With the outbreak of World War I advertising increased in the Hungarian papers and the bank started selling Hungarian and German War bonds. A 1916 advertisement about a German submarine landing in Baltimore and returning to Europe with remittances caught the attention of several American newspapers. The American papers reported this advertisement as a symbol of un-American activity and called attention to the bank. When in April 1917 the United States declared war against Germany the tone of the advertisements changed. When war against Austria-Hungary was declared in December 1917, the Trust began to sell U.S. Liberty Bonds as well. In July 1918 the Alien Property Custodian arrested Julius Pirnitzer, the bank's president, and two employees of the banks. The tone of the advertisements changed again, with the emphasis on fund safety. In February 1919 the Alien Property Custodian closed the bank. The paper analyzes the history of the bank and the actions of the Alien Property Custodian.
Philip M. Glende
"What Are the Alternatives?" Organized Labor's Multimedia Campaign for Legitimacy in the 1940s
Conservatives conducted an extraordinary public relations campaign in the United States in the 1940s to counteract the growth of New Deal institutions and the rise of organized labor. Using archival materials and union publications, this paper examines the efforts of labor leaders to be heard by union members and the general public. Labor leaders used a wide array of communications tools, including the labor press, news releases, radio, public addresses, pamphlets, comic books, film strips, posters, advertisements, and plant-gate fliers, in an effort to define the issues and articulate a vision of the postwar nation. During World War II, union leaders sought to assure the public that organized labor was doing its part to win the war. Afterward, labor communicators fought to deflect blame for rising consumer prices and fend off attacks that sought to discredit organized labor. Throughout the decade, labor leaders asserted that they, too, supported free enterprise and that unions had a legitimate place in business operations. However, labor leaders could not muster the resources to match the conservative, pro-business campaign, and they lacked the credibility necessary to challenge the power of business leaders to define labor-management relations.
Timothy E. W. Gloege
Guaranteed Pure: Consumer Trust and the Making of Protestant Fundamentalism, 1880-1910
How did Protestant fundamentalists respond to the Progressive Era development of modern consumer capitalism? What does this tell us about the intersection of business and culture in the United States? Though cultural historians typically assume consumer capitalism was corrosive to religion, the forebears of the Religious Right embraced modern business techniques. Business methods have shaped fundamentalist belief and practice for a century. This paper uses the virtual headquarters of the early fundamentalist movement, the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago (MBI), to explore these connections. It focuses on the leadership of Henry P. Crowell. Known to business historians as the founding president of Quaker Oats, Crowell disrupted traditional retail distribution networks by using promotions, packaging, and trademarks to engender consumer trust in a corporation. He applied the same techniques to religion, creating trust in unaffiliated institutionsand subverting traditional denominations. These techniques were evident in his work on the Fundamentals, a twelve-volume theological manifesto distributed freely to every Christian minister and religious worker in the United States. Crowell and Union Oil president Lyman Stewart (who funded the project) created a generic Protestant "orthodoxy" compatible across denominations that helped bring the fundamentalist movement into being.
E. J. Brach: Confectionery Entrepreneur and Brand Pioneer
When Emil Brach died in 1947, the candy company he founded in 1904 was among the country's largest, with sales topping $21.5 million annually. While "Brach's" remains among the most recognizable brand names in America today, the stories of E. J. Brach's life and his company's growth have never received significant critical or scholarly attention. This paper focuses on the story of Brach's company from the year of its founding as a small German-American neighborhood candy shop in 1904 to Brach's death in 1947, exploring specifically how the company transformed from a local candy shop into a national confectionery operation. During an era of profound industrial changes, Brach broke from the typical immigrant pattern in his embracing of production-boosting technologies that would expand volume capacity. He also masterfully stimulated consumer demand to match the new capabilities on the supply side. A carefully constructed image of a family-run operation, a downplaying of the founder's German roots, a quality-control laboratory, and savvy marketing built confidence in his brand and made the Brach's name distinctive on the market. This study reveals significant insights not only about the power of branding but also about how ethnicity and the immigrant experience shaped Brach's entrepreneurial activities.
How to Describe and Understand Multicultural Management: From Essentialism to History and Anthropology of Business Cultures and Practices?
Commentators regularly attribute the failure of mergers and acquisition to cultural differences. The Daimler and Chrysler M&A failed because "German Rigidity" and "American Brutality" were incompatible. Many business academics or managers use the concept of culture to provide explanations for multicultural issues. From the perspective of anthropology or cultural history, most of the so-called cultural explanations can be seen as stereotypes or even racism. Nevertheless, the view is taught in business schools, used by consultants in multicultural management, and by managers involved in business relations with foreign people or companies. Despite its methodological and intellectual falseness, one must understand the origins of the concept's success in the management world. This presentation analyzes concepts of culture in business studies. It will underline the need to employ history and anthropology to describe and provide rigourous concepts and methodologies to analyze the influence of culture on corporate and management lives. This requires at least three steps: 1) The design of basic assumptions. We must agree that culture has a deep impact on management practices and even on tools and instruments, which are not only technical, but also cultural. It imposes modesty, long-term observation, and, because of its complexity, the need for a real multi-disciplinary understanding in order to go beyond clichés and essentialist approaches. 2) An effort of definition. After a long study of management books dealing with culture, I find that, though they realize the difficulty and complexity of this concept, most of them propose a single and simple definition mainly based on an essentialist approach. 3) awareness of bias attached to words, people, professional status, and business problems. The main issue is to take conscious note that, with the same "official position and status," people from different cultures and communities have not followed the same trajectory. This is why history is so important in multicultural management studies.
Motivation Goes Global: Selling Workplace Ideology in the Cold War
During the early Cold War era, the American motivational publicity businessa sector that came into existence during World War Ibegan to expand into Western Europe. In turn, the ideals promoted in motivational posters and other workplace publicity became entwined with American Cold War ambitions. This talk addresses the expansion of the motivational business through a discussion of the most successful American firm in this field, the Sheldon-Claire Company. I discuss the firm's European operations, its owner's 1957 trip to Moscow where he observed Soviet motivational techniques, and his subsequent media crusade warning Americans that the Soviet Union was winning the "motivational war." In its posters and supporting literature, Sheldon-Claire asserted the moral supremacy of the American/Western way of life, and claimed that Soviet motivation was premised on an amoral campaign to instill fear among Soviet workers. In this paper, I contend that beneath their capitalist and communist rhetoric, respectively, American and Soviet motivational initiatives involved a similar rationale: in each case, the objective was to connect workers' aspirations and identities to the goals of the state. Moreover, as Sheldon-Claire personnel acknowledged in private, its campaigns deployed fear just as much as did those created by their Soviet counterparts.
Tough and Safe: Corporate Research and Social Responsibility at Eastman Chemical
This paper examines how scientists, research managers, and product safety experts at Eastman Chemical commercialized Tritan, a clear, durable plastic utilized in housewares, medical equipment, and infant-care products. Created to provide Eastman with a compound capable of withstanding the high temperatures found in home dishwashers, Tritan's reliance on a previously discredited monomer initially provoked opposition within the company's Tennessee laboratory. The timely implementation of a new set of policies designed to foster exploratory research saved the project from cancellation, and in 2007 Eastman introduced Tritan to the public. Initially marketed on the basis of its physical strength and ease of processing, the new plastic benefitted from the revival of debates over the presence of endocrine disruptors (for example, BPA) in plastics such as polycarbonate. Working with members of the marketing and legal divisions, Eastman's leaders initiated a sweeping campaign to reconfigure Tritan's brand identity to emphasize safety as well as toughness.
"The Sun Never Sets on National Cash Registers": NCR Goes Abroad and Sells Itself as a Modern Company
The National Cash Register Company (NCR), founded in 1885 in Dayton, Ohio, quickly grew to international prominence selling cash registers. John Patterson, the company president, made international operations a key component of the company's policies and business strategy. The NCR customer was a small business owner, who had much in common with other small businessmen throughout the world, regardless of nationality. NCR viewed its customer base as a unified group with similar needs and thus used the same sales techniques throughout the world. Other companies of the time saw foreign markets simply as a way to unload surpluses, while Patterson used foreign business to create a distinct image for his company. The foreign sales were used widely in advertising materials and company publications, as well as in sales pitches and exhibitions. Foreign sales did serve a monetary function, but were more important because NCR then used its foreign business to sell itself as a modern and cosmopolitan company.
John C. Hardin
Selling the Sacred: Church Advertising and Public Relations in the 1940s
As Christianity expanded in American life in the postwar era, its primary retailers, local churches, embraced the popular promotional methods of the broader market. While industries diverted more and more resources to advertising and the burgeoning field of public relations, a few of its experts turned their attention to churches.They provided a conduit for religious retailers to adopt and adapt the methods of the marketplace to compete with other businesses for customers. In so doing, these experts of the 1940s laid a new foundation for the industry of religious retail. This paper considers the work of three principal church promotion experts, their careers, and their instruction guides: Roland E. Wolseley, John L. Fortson, and Willard Pleuthner. It examines how these secular consultants broadened the scope of church promotion by training ministers as journalists. It also explores the Religion in American Life campaign and how church promotion encouraged the pluralization of American Christianity by providing a platform for churches to cooperate. Finally, it considers how religious promoters used the concept of "dignity" to wrestle with the tension in selling the sacred. In the books they wrote, the speeches they gave, and the classes they taught, the church promotion experts of the 1940s set the basic patterns, dialogues, and issues that would shape the church promotion industry until new practices in church marketing would change the game in the mid-1970s. In their work, one can see the growth of a church promotion industry built on publicity and cooperation, proliferated through education, and uncertain about the "dignity" of its methods.
Trans-Atlantic Grade Crossings: The Influence of British Railway Regulation on America
My paper will examine the British regulation of their railway system in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a model for American reformers. Britain more tightly regulated everything from financing to operations to safety than the United States, and this structure served as a modelboth positively and negativelyfor American politicians and reformers. Through the early twentieth century, both reformers and railway officials crossed the Atlantic to examine operating and regulatory practices in the industry. Although information flowed both waysthe British Light Railways Act of 1896 was in part inspired by U.S. practicesBritain was far in advance of America in both regulation and operation. By comparing the British regulatory structure with what was developed in the United States we can better understand both the aspirations and successes of American reformers. My paper will develop the British regulatory scheme through the Railways Act of 1921 (which "grouped" over one hundred private companies into just four large railways) and examine how American reformers dealt with issues that were broadly similar to those handled by their British counterparts. In both countries, World War I effectively ended the first phase of railway regulation, and my paper will end with the coming of new regulations in the immediate aftermath of the war.
Justene G. Hill
"To Repress This Evil": White Workingmen, Slave Competition, and the Law In Antebellum South Carolina
This paper explores how slave hiring contributed to rising tensions between planter elites and white workingmen in antebellum South Carolina. White workingmena group comprising blacksmiths, coopers, and mechanicsfeared that enslaved blacks, particularly those trained in skilled occupations, would usurp their employment opportunities. To remedy the economic challenges posed by enslaved skilled laborersand slaveholders who accepted and at times encouraged slaves' self-hirewhite workingmen petitioned South Carolina's General Assembly with increasing frequency during the antebellum period. In such petitions, they communicated their frustration with ineffective laws that failed to regulate economic competition posed by skilled enslaved laborers, prosecute employers who hired black slaves over white workingmen, and fine slaveholders who consented to such slave activity. This paper considers white workingmen's concerns about slave competition in the labor marketplace. The paper also explores the ways in which white workingmen's legislative appeals exacerbated class tensions between themselves and the planter elite in antebellum South Carolina.
Sell in Good Company: Social Capital as a Strategic Tool in the Fine Art Auction Business
The ways intangible capital, and social capital in particular, makes players' actions more productive and efficient have been discussed early in the history of social sciences and further elaborated in economics. This paper discusses the impact of social capital on securing business in the tertiary art market and presents the first results of a study on the ways experts benefit from social capital during the consignment process, the most critical stage for success in the auction business. Focusing on social capital theory and considering aspects from strategic management, the present paper analyzes the process of obtaining consignments on Russian paintings in Finland from 2000 to 2007, concentrating on concepts such as competence, social skills, trust, and reputation. The sudden increase in prices, competition for market shares, and the challenging problem of paintings with uncertain attributions are considered to emphasize the role of social capital in the expert relations in this market. The managerial implications of the results of this paper suggest that social capital benefits the experts in securing consignments when used as a strategic tool in developing expertise, customer encountering, and value assessment. Results point to social capital being valuable in the strategy of fine art auctions.
The Impact of Commercial Freedom on Berlin's Entertainment Scene, 1830-1918
Until the mid-nineteenth century, Berlin's entrepreneurs of commercial and public entertainment were considerably hindered in their endeavors by police ordinances and lack of commercial freedom. Two main reasons account for the rationale behind stringent policies. First, Berlin's police and Prussian state officials sought to limit the number of theaters in order to "protect" theater, an institution of high artistic value, from profit-oriented amateurs. Second, ordinances were informed by a strong class bias that pertained both to audiences and prospective businessmen. Venues attended and/or operated by Berliners who were either deemed to indulge in "excesses" (a catch-all phrase for transgressions, such as drinking, rowdy behavior, prostitution, or gambling), or where performances were said to lack any artistic value, faced much harsher restrictions than middle- or upper-class venues. This situation changed dramatically in 1869 when freedom of trade was promulgated, removing previously existing barriers to licensing and repertories. As a result, Berlin's entertainment scene experienced an unprecedented boom. The newly emerged competition intensified debates about professional training and integrity among entertainment providers, and subsequently a number of artistic and theater associations were founded in order to separate the "wheat" from the "chaff." The immediate decades after freedom of trade were thus characterized by a fulminant expansion of Berlin's entertainment scene, but also by increased attempts to "professionalize" amusement businesses.
Corporate Risk Management and the Making of Industrial Medicine in the Early Twentieth Century United States
This paper sketches the rise and transformation of workplace medical examinations in the early twentieth century United States. The paper suggests that legislative changes as well as the independent actions of physicians helped create the conditions within which businesses made use of medical examinations, and that further legislative changes remade the purposes to which medical examinations were put. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the expansion of workplace medical examinations occurred in such a way that made use of medical technique to produce knowledge about populations and aggregates, in order to guide business practice and to provide some measure of medical improvement in employees' lives. After workmen's compensation laws, however, this corporate capacity for medical knowledge production became repurposed, becoming increasingly put to work to control employers' financial costs under workmen's compensation by screening out workers judged likely to suffer particularly expensive injuries. Ultimately, medical examinations in industry came to be used to care for the financial body of corporate employers, at least as much as the individual bodies of working people.
"Plucky women engaged in obtaining a living from the soil": The Businesswomen of California Horticulture, 1870-1911
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, commercial horticulture was an ambiguously gendered cultural space in the United States. The businesses of fruit, flower, and vegetable farming intermixed the private, female sphere of domestic gardening with the public, male sphere of capitalist agriculture. In this time period, periodicals shifted from describing women's work in commercial horticulture as limited and doubtful to praiseworthy and successful, with California leading the way. In the 1880s, two conflicting cultural ideas influenced these periodical articles: the belief that a white, middle-class woman's place was in the "domestic sphere," and the belief that settling the American West meant commodifying nature. However, by the 1890s a new idea had emerged in California, one that saw the state as a new Eden, a garden paradise of both domestic pleasures and business profits. This concept allowed for greater acceptance of California's women horticulturalists. As their numbers grew, Eastern periodicals also embraced these women. California's female horticulturalists then leveraged their success and cultural acceptance into demands for expanded roles for women. The rise of businesswomen in California horticulture was a key component of the state's women's movement, which pushed California to grant women the vote in 1911.
The Stars Ascendant: Financial Astrology and Market Rationality in the United States, 1970-Present
In 1984, Stanford Economics Professor and former Nixon advisor Ezra Solomon famously quipped, "The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable." Though intended as a jab at other economists, Solomon's claim also spoke to a growing trend in market predictionthe application of astrological tools and methods to financial forecasting. Financial astrology, also known as "market gazing," has, indeed, gained respectability (or at least popularity) over the past four decades. And as Solomon suggested, the failures of economists to predict the behaviors of markets undoubtedly played a role in that process. But the astronomical growth of astrology in the field of market prediction can be linked to other historical contexts as well. In this paper, I explore what the growing acceptance of financial astrology can tell us about market rationality in a neoliberal era. By examining the relationship between financial astrology and other attempts to predict markets over the past four decades, I show how astrology has helped make "the market" seem respectable by promoting a neoliberal rationality completely in step with contemporary economic theorynot opposed to itand by suggesting that this rationality is inscribed in the stars.
"We'll be on time or we're leaving the rails": Railroad Speed and the Perils of the New South
In the decades after the Civil War, the speed and timeliness of railroads took on heightened cultural importance in the American South, as the regional railroad network expanded and consolidated. For the men behind the New South movementnorthern investors, tourists, and southern boostersfaster railroads put the war in the past, increased enjoyment of travelers, and encouraged development of resources. Railroad speed was for these men a marker of southern progress, but it also served as a reminder of how far the South still had to go. The spread of fast limited express trains showed how speed could leave some towns behind, and on the South's shaky railroad networkthe most dangerous in the nationobservers often blamed excessive rates of speed for derailments and collisions. The controversial nature of speed can be seen not only in the immediate aftermath of wrecks, but also in the memory of these wrecks. In train wreck ballads like "The Wreck of the Old 97," and the saga of Casey Jones, the need to make up lost time went down in memory as the cause of the wrecks, making these ballads an apt metaphor for the experience of southern railroading in these years.
Redefining Intoxication and Alcohol's Place in American Leisure
This paper examines why anti-Prohibitionists and New Dealers regarded wine and beer not just as good for drinking but as "good for thinking" about the changing place of leisure and pleasure in American life. During the 1930s mass unemployment reinvigorated public conversations about how the state might encourage worthy uses of leisure. Congressional hearings on proposals to modify Prohibition to permit light wines and beer addressed similar concerns. Since the prospects of repealing Prohibition remained uncertain, anti-Prohibitionists sought to relegalize beer and wine on the grounds that neither was intoxicating. Modificationists championed European drinking cultures centered on wine and beer over the excesses of Prohibition-era "cocktail culture." This vision of the good life continued to resonate beyond the campaign to end Prohibition. When Rexford Tugwell, Franklin Roosevelt's Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, pondered how to achieve "a more abundant life for the American people," he imagined a state that privileged wine and beer above spirits in the interest of promoting economic security and national well-being. Like the modificationists, Tugwell represented a new kind of drinking reformer, one who resented excessive government intrusion in matters of consumer choice but embraced subtler forms of social control to advance their vision of the good life.
Noel D. Johnson
Legacies of the Past: The Long-Term Effects of Internal Tariffs on Industry in France
This paper investigates the formation and persistent economic effects of internal tariff boundaries in France. I use the census of industry conducted during the July Monarchy (1830-1848) to investigate whether the internal tariff boundary created during the Old Regime known as the Cinq Grosses Fermes (CGF) had persistent effects on firm performance and location. Assuming each firm was close to the capital of the arrondissement in which it was located, I investigate whether manufacturers on either side of the CGF border differed in terms of productivity, capital per worker, and size. I find firms just outside the CGF border were larger and more productive. I follow up these results by looking in greater detail at what determined the location of the CGF border. I use data on french comprehension from the 1864 survey of language conducted by then education minister Victor Duruy to show that the borders of the CGF are explained remarkably well by linguistic fractionalization. I interpret this as strong evidence that ethno-linguistic heterogeneity in France served as a barrier to the diffusion of production technology in Old Regime France indirectly through its effect on internal political boundaries.
Gentlemanly Business: The Influences of the Gentlemen's Club on Literary Life in Victorian London
London literary life for those who had power and influence over the production and consumption of art was a world of evening dinners and the entertaining of society elite at some of London's most exclusive gentlemen's clubs. Although from the outset, it appears that literary professionals spent their days socializing, in reality authors, publishers, and agents were immersed in establishing relationships with those they deemed to be the people of influence, as they could provide them with jobs or a route to market. Research on the Victorian publishing industry has highlighted that the institution of the gentlemen's club facilitated social networking and furthermore influenced the social construction of the industry. Although the gentlemen's club as an institution has been examined in terms of gender studies and in studies on social culture, the club has not been widely explored as a metaphorical facilitator for literary businesses in the nineteenth century. This paper is concerned with examining how the cultural institution of the gentlemen's club influenced business practices of those who worked within the Victorian publishing industry in London, through an analysis of primary source qualitative documents.
Power and Patronage: Southern California Edison's Corporate Art Commissions
In 1931, the Southern California Edison Company opened its new headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. The Edison Building symbolized corporate confidence, authority, and permanence during a time of economic instability and mounting criticism toward private utilities. Mitigating these threats, Edison embarked on a campaign to reshape public opinion with a sizeable portion dedicated to commissioning four artists to create artwork for the buildings lobby. This paper aims to resituate these commissions within an emerging understanding of modernity that pairs the time period's growing interest in arts education with a simultaneous distrust of big business. I argue that the inclusion of public art within the Edison Building was a way to transform an extremely private space of a powerful corporation into a quasi-public, museum-like space that emphasized Edison's message of claimed "public" ownership and their role as a benevolent public servant. This paper highlights the larger concepts that emerge beyond that of simple corporate branding in the works by Hugo Ballin, Conrad Buff, R. Merrell Gage, and Barse Miller. The themes of labor, modernity's notion of progress, public pedagogy, and civic identity within the artworks reflect the complicated, and often paradoxical, relationship among the general public, civic spaces, and private corporations.
Manly after All: White-Collar Workers and the Defense of Corporate Manhood in the 1950s
Often scholars use the rise of corporate workers to explain the emergence of a crisis of masculinity in a given period. White-collar workers violated a deep-seated American ethos of the independent producer and the small businessman. These men did not produce goods, and they had to answer to other men in their jobs. For many social commentators in history, the hierarchical nature of corporate work produced a generation of weak and effeminate men. This is especially true in the 1950s, when social commentators and popular culture obsessed over white-collar men's declining masculinity. These social commentators were not the only group exploring white-collar men's masculinity. The white-collar world was also concerned with masculinity, but white-collar leaders came to a very different conclusion. General Electric management guides and other business journals from 1946 to 1963, illustrate that the businesses did not view masculinity in crisis. White-collar leaders viewed corporate work as the pinnacle of modern masculinity. By focusing on how white-collar men viewed themselves, this paper argues a crisis of masculinity existed only for a specific group of commentators, while others gladly accepted the benefits and luxuries that came with white-collar work.
Profiting from Other People's Property: Tax Lien Speculation in 1960s and 1970s Chicago
This paper traces the emergence of a tax lien speculative market in 1960s and 1970s Chicago. Reforms to the Illinois tax sales law in 1951 gave rise to predatory tax buyers who reaped millions through fees, interest payments, and in some cases, acquisition of real estate for the price of a single property tax bill. As a result of systemic patterns of over- and under-assessment of property throughout the city, certain neighborhoods suffered from predatory tax lien buyers more than others. Tax buyers employed novel legal devices and exploited changes in the city's racial and class geography to reap millions. It also gave rise to grassroots movements for progressive property tax reform in Chicago and the nation. By excavating the history of this shadowy industry, this paper offers a new perspective on taxes and business in the age of urban crisis.
Comparative Analysis of the Culture of Financial Business in China in the Early Twentieth Century: The British and Japanese Experiences
The aim of this essay is to analyze the business behavior of two main international financial institutions (the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation[HSBC] and the Yokohama Specie Bank [YSB]) in two cities in China: Shanghai and Dalian. China, especially the coastal cities, experienced remarkable commercial and financial development with the opening of ports to international trade from the second half of the nineteenth century. Since then, the wave of internationalization reached Asia and a strong inter-relationship among foreign and local companies, as well as governments began. Some of the major coastal cities in China, like Shanghai and Dalian, were influenced by traditional practices of local commercial and financial culture (such as the adoption of a monetary system with multiple currencies based on silver and copper) and at the same time influenced by practices of countries of the capitalist system (which adopted the gold standard). These two cities seem to be part of one business culture but each developed its own practiceon the one hand, Shanghai with a strong British influence, and on the other hand Dalian under the Japanese presence. Shanghai was a region that witnessed development and expansion of international trade, while the main economic activity of the region of Dalian was agriculture. Thus the questions to be answered in this essay are: how did the international financial institutions adapt to local market practices (business culture) in different regions of China? What was the business orientation of these institutions that were also responsible for the management of their respective imperial government accounts?
Cultivating Classiness: Trade Journal Instructions on Strip Club Upscaling
In the late 1980s-1990s, the United States witnessed the rise of the "gentlemen's club"a self-described upscaled version of the "classic" strip club. This paper examines the ways in which the largest gentlemen's club trade journalExotic Dancer Club Bulletininstructed club owners and managers in the business of aesthetic overhaul, a process referred to as "upscaling." How have gentlemen's clubs been re-imagined and promoted by owners, managers, and other executives within the gentlemen's club industry in an effort to transform and re-craft strip clubs into more mainstream, socially sanctioned, and female-friendly entities? To get at these issues, this paper explores the various markers of middle-class respectability that have been suggested by trade journals, with an eye on the way such narratives reveal a longing for power, status, and recognition within the industry itself. In interrogating such tactics, this paper looks at the way a marginalized industry has attempted to re-craft itself and gain greater public acceptance and visibility.
Pamela W. Laird
Building a Canal and a Myth in the 1830s
For decades after its publication in 1838, dozens of newspapers and magazines printed excerpts or announcements of Clement Falconer, or, The Memoirs of a Young Whig. Most coverage highlighted the novel's passages about "self-made men," reflecting a significant feature of the cultural history that built mainstream America's business-related cultures. The 1830s' economic frenzies and rising democratic tensions accelerated the transition of the "self-made man" as a national exemplar from older religious and communal goals toward its place at the top of individualism's symbol system. Nonetheless, author William Price hewed to traditional values about self-making. A man of affairs, Price was a leading jurist who also participated in the era's great debates about internal improvements. He served on the board of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, fought a duel in 1840 with the board's president, and wrote his novel to attack the spoils system that threatened the canal's development. Ironically, Price admired Henry Clay above other politicians of his day, yet Clay pushed "self-making" toward its modern, individualist meanings. Price struggled with both real-world issues and the cultural values applied to justify men's actions, a participant in his generation's competition to define "self-made success."
The "Creative Revolution" and the Transformation of the Swedish Advertising Industry, 1962-1980: The Case of Ervaco and Arbmans
The "creative revolution," inspired by agencies in the United States, where Doyle Dane Bernbach, Ogilvy, and Leo Burnett developed a new type of advertising in the 1950s, transformed the Swedish advertising industry, not only when it came to the design of ads but also corporate governance and the structure and institutions of the industry. The "creative revolution" bred a new type of smaller agency that relied more on graphic design than on market research. During the period, the average size of advertising agencies declined significantly, and many existing large advertising agencies created smaller sub-agencies in order to become more agile. Further, the use of creative teams consisting of an account executive, a copywriter, and an art director was introduced in Sweden. In addition, and more important, the industry abandoned the previously mandated system where advertising agencies were paid a proportion of media buys, replacing it with hourly fees. At the same time, the market opened up for new competition, since existing barriers to entry were removed with the abolition of the requirement that advertising agencies were to be authorized by the Swedish Media Publishers Association in order to place ads in newspapers. This led to "unbundling" and the emergence of specialized media agencies, a development that took place in the United States only later. The development is analyzed using two cases Ervaco( of Erwin, Wasey & Co. descent) and StigArbmansAnnonsbyrô (Arbmans). Ervaco was a large established advertising agency before the "creative revolution" and Arbmans a newcomer that acted as one of the spearheads in the transformation of the industry. The case studies are based on interviews and previously unavailable archival materials. The two contrasting cases, even though neither of the two firms eventually survived, highlight different strategies used to address industrial change.
Toward a Fragile Compromise: Political Left and Right on Swedish Cartel Legislation, 1925-1993
Cartel agreements used to be a natural part of economic life in most European countries. Today, cartels are banned all over. Few if any studies have seen the drastic changes in cartel laws mainly as a consequence of ideological changes on the national level, leading to new compromises between the political parties and their closest allied interest groups. The most important ideological change, with effects on cartel legislation, can be found within European Social Democracy. As long as the idea of socialization was prevailing the Social Democrats wanted lenient laws on cartels, making possible a broad but fragile political consensus on treating them gently. Not until the idea of socialization was abandoned were the Social Democrats free to be much more critical of cartels. But in order to reach the opposite consensusprohibition of cartelsthe Social Democrats also had to give up the idea that competition laws should deal only with companies in the private sector. Integrating the public sector in the legislation was a demand made, for example, by the Conservatives, to whom such integration was more important than a continuous support for the cartel-friendly position held by private industry.
Technologizing Freedom: U.S. Media Industries and Human Rights, 1943-1950
My paper analyzes the relationship between human rights and U.S. media industries from 1943 to 1950. During the 1940s, diverse American business people as well as journalists, bureaucrats, and intellectuals sought to update the language of liberal press and speech freedomstraditionally understood as bulwarks against government interferenceto reflect and reinforce U.S. global hegemony. Technologizing press and speech freedoms provided the discursive solution to the liberals' dilemma: a transnational vector in which American self-interest appeared to converge with that of media audiences worldwide. The first part of my paper analyzes these rights adaptationswhich included "freedom of information," "freedom of the screen," and "freedom to listen and to look"and their dissemination in American mass culture. Second, the paper frames this discursive maneuvering in light of the expansion of U.S. capitalism after 1945. The anti-imperial critique embedded in technologized freedoms dovetailed with the economic prerogatives of U.S. media industries eager to expand their export markets, both at the expense of British and French colonial spheres of influence and in Europe itself. The onset of the Cold War would dampen hopes for domestic reform but would also clarify the economic motives fueling the United States' freedom-of-information agenda abroad.
Redefining the Function of Government in the Development of Chemical Industrial Enterprises in Republican China, 1927-1937
The 1920s witnessed the emergence of a domestic chemical industry in China. Chief among the newly established firms was Yongli Soda Company, Ltd. (reorganized and renamed as a division of Yongli Chemical Industries Co., Ltd., in 1934). This paper, then, is a case study of the relationship between the Yongli Soda Company and formal state institutions in Republican China in the context of a fierce foreign competition in the domestic market. I argue that the support of these state institutions fostered the development of the Yongli Soda Company as the leading manufacturer of synthetic soda ash in China during the 1930s. Given the large capital requirements of the modern chemical industry, the company sought investment capital through collaboration with the China subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries, a British multinational conglomerate known as Buneimen in China, during the 1920s and 1930s. The company also sought an infusion of state capital from the Nanjing government. For its part, the government offered to invest in the company by purchasing company shares. The government also granted the company the privilege of manufacturing industrial acid. These government policies and actions contributed to making Yongli Soda Company the leading Chinese chemical enterprise during this period.
Assistance and Oppression by the Beiyang Government for the Jiuda Refined Salt Corporation,1914-1927
The Jiuda Refined Salt Corporation had close relations with the Beiyang Government in its start-up and early period. Fan Xudong, the founder of Jiuda Company, was sent abroad by the government to study the manufacture of refined salt, so the starting of Jiuda undeniably fit the government's purpose. The Beiyang government helped Jiuda in getting market access, expanding salt sales areas, and competing with the old salt merchants. However, the government held a strong position, and oppression of the enterprise was inevitable. The tax from all levels of government was a heavy burden. The warlords even kidnapped Fan Xudong for money. In order to do better in this environment, Jiuda built the Refined Salt Group, which combined salt companies into a force to contend with the government.
Bankruptcies and the Development of Structural Interpretations of Failure in the Eighteenth-Century Merchant Republics
Bankruptcy was by no means new in the eighteenth century. Failure was ubiquitous, although the reasons for failures and the interpretations they evoked changed with time and place. Eighteenth-century arm-chair commentators found it easy to condemn bankrupts out of hand, but in cities like Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Hamburg, which lived from commerce and grew wealthy on merchant-banking, bankruptcy remained a considerably more complex and ambiguous issue. The apparently growing dimensions of the problem, particularly after midcentury, however, caused considerable disquietude. Moral condemnation of bankruptcy never abated, but it proved an ever less useful way to account for business failure in a situation where breakdowns appeared to have become organic parts of the very process of growth and expansion. More and more political economists, those who crafted bankruptcy laws or who were commissioned with enforcing them, came to recognize that the very structure of the economic world, and especially the world of international trade and finance, demanded "risk-taking," not only to succeed but simply to survive. The economic realm was thus perceived as inherently unstable and treacherous. Apparently, the very same conditions that nurtured the rapid rise of great houses and the accumulation of vast wealth also sped the disastrous plummet of big economic players whose shipwrecks sucked down smaller craft. While the analysis of "cascading bankruptcies" caused by big crashes presents its own methodological and explanatory difficulties, nonetheless the idea of the "big crash" went hand-in-glove with the development of these newer structural interpretations of economic life. This paper sketches the influence of "big crashes" on the shaping of a new political economy, on business practice, and on commercial law.
The Theory of Institutional Failure: A New Framework
This paper critiques the theory commonly used in analysis of pollution problems, the market failure/externalities model. The analysis begins by examining the model logically, then for empirical validation it turns to the historical experience using a case study of the Surgeon General's review of tetraethyl lead in 1925-1926. It is found in both analyses that the model has significant deficiencies, specifically that the theory assumes the incentive to pollute is a variable when in fact it is a constant. Because the starting point for explaining pollution needs to be a variable, externalities theory cannot be right. The paper then considers the possibility of developing a new framework as a replacement for the current model. The founding principle of the new framework is that pollution results not from market failure but from "institutional failure." Analysis of the history shows that the proper variable is the constraint of institutions that offsets the constant economic incentive to pollute and that the occurrence of pollution represents the failure of those institutions to counteract that incentivehence the term "institutional failure." The reconceptualization accomplished in this paper has broad implications. It suggests that many policy decisions are being wrongly reasoned, and that their success, if any, occurs by coincidence rather than because of a correct diagnosis.
Late Victorian Britain was very important in the development of British dominance in light consumer goods industries, such as alcoholic drinks, detergents, bicycles, steel pens, and ball games. Firms developed technology-based innovations and marketing-based innovations, creating abnormal peaks of trademark registrations in certain industries. This paper investigates those peaks and shows that factors usually pointed out as explaining British economic decline in heavy industries, did not have an impact on the development of competitive industries in light consumer goods, and on the contrary encouraged their fast growth during this period. Trademark registrations are shown to provide new insights into the debate on British relative decline, when combined with other industry and firm-level data.
This paper examines the evolution of corporate environmentalism in the West German chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. It focuses on two companies, Bayer and Henkel, and traces the evolution of their environmental strategies in response to growing evidence of pollution and resulting political pressures. It identifies major commonalities between the German and American chemical industries before the 1970s, challenging the international political economy literature which has argued that the varieties of capitalism model can explain different propensities to invest in green business. During the 1970s the two German firms did diverge from their American counterparts in using public relations strategies not only to contain fallout from criticism, but also as opportunities for changes in corporate culture. The article identifies regional influences as crucial factors shaping managerial strategies, supporting sociological theories about the importance of visibility in encouraging corporate green strategies.
Masscult and Bizcult: The Origins of the Postwar Mass Culture Debate in Commercial Market Research
Several of the key intellectual figures in the mass culture debate of the 1950sincluding David Riesman, C. Wright Mills, and Dwight Macdonaldwere influenced by, or directly associated with, a group of largely émigré social researchers led by the Viennese Paul F. Lazarsfeld, whose work consisted mainly of mass media analysis and market research. Lazarsfeld's cohort included the consumer motivational researcher Ernest Dichter and Frankfurt School refugees Theodor Adorno and Leo Lowenthal. This motley cohortcomposed of both radical critical theorists and positivist market researchersconducted studies and published its work in several Radio Research volumes and in marketing trade journals, uniting, ironically, the discourses of business pragmatism and Marxian criticism. An article published in 1944 by Lowenthal on "Biographies in Popular Magazines," for example, noted the shift from "idols of production" to "idols of consumption" in featured subjects, and observed the older paradigm of initiative and enterprise giving way to a trend of social adjustment. Riesman acknowledged that the piece influenced his substantially similar argument concerning "inner-direction" and "other-direction" in his 1950 work, The Lonely Crowd. Thus the hybrid work of the Lazarsfeld organization contributed both empirical studies and analytical interpretation to the intellectual debate on mass culture in the 1950s.
From Paternalism to Corporate Social Responsibility: Monopsony and Employer Benevolence in the U.S. Rubber Industry
In this paper I consider the link between market power and employer benevolence, specifically a firm's ability and willingness to provide its workers amenities such as housing, retail services, and health care and recreation facilities, through the lens of the U.S. Rubber Industry. The discussion takes the form of two snapshots of the industry and tracks the difference in the language, expectations, and boundaries of the rubber companies' expenditures on their workers: the early years of the rubber industry in Akron (1900-1930) and the Bridgestone/Firestone rubber plantation in post-conflict Liberia (2003-present). The goal of the discussion is to link monopsony rents from initial self-described "paternalistic" behavior in Akron, in the first case, to modern supposed "corporate socially responsible" outlays by Bridgestone/Firestone in Liberia, in the second.
Cynthia B. Meyers
Salesmanship vs. Showmanship: Advertising Agencies in Radio during the 1930s-1940s
Efforts to professionalize American advertising as a rational business practice were challenged by the rise of commercial radio in the 1930s. Broadcasters, eager to deflect the cost of programming, encouraged advertisers to "sponsor" programming. Advertisers, inexperienced in producing entertainment, turned to their advertising agencies to oversee entertainment designed as advertising vehicles. Agencies quickly dominated program production; for example, J. Walter Thompson produced Kraft Music Hall; Benton & Bowles oversaw Maxwell House coffee's Show Boat; and Young & Rubicam produced the Jack Benny program. Those who believed advertising should be based on sober rational appeals, such as "salesmanship in print" and "reason-why" advertising strategies, were appalled that radio advertising instead relied on "showmanship" to sell. These critics worried that radio would become an updated "medicine show," using entertainment to gather the crowd to sell them patent medicines. "Soft sell" advertising practitioners, on the other hand, argued that the integration of entertainment and advertising could lower consumer resistance and increase sales, as in Jack Benny's opening line for his General Foods-sponsored comedy program: "Jell-O again, it's Jack Benny!"
Apparel Price Control during World War II: How Uncle Sam Won the War, Battled Business, and Changed the Way America Dressed
This paper argues that shortages of low-priced apparel and a trend toward more expensive styles of clothing during World War II developed not as the result of changing fashion tastes among consumers but directly in response to the federal price controls of the Office of Price Administration (OPA). Beginning with the price freeze of the General Maximum Price Regulation in April 1942, the OPA issued several controls that sought to prevent apparel firms from exceeding their base period prices. As the costs of textile and labor inputs continued to increase, low-priced manufacturers of such items as women's dresses and coats faced difficulties in sustaining their production. In contrast, firms with higher price ceilings, especially new entrants that could claim exemptions from restrictions imposed on established sellers, continued to expand. Pricing formulas for certain items, most notably men's sport shirts, also created incentives to produce goods unwanted by consumers. By the end of the war, the apparel market reflected the reactions of manufacturers to the constraints of the OPA and not consumer demand, demonstrating the importance of price controls in structuring the wartime civilian economy.
"Take the Rich off Welfare": Rising Taxes, Glaring Loopholes, and the Temporary Triumph of Left-Leaning Tax Populism
This paper traces the origins of the well-known late-1970s' "tax revolt" to public frustrations over rising and inequitable taxes in the 1960s and early 1970s. Most accounts of California's Proposition 13 (1978) and similar property tax-slashing initiatives portray this "revolt" as a new and surprising triumph for conservatism, fueled by a resurgent business-funded right and an anti-liberal "backlash" of middle-class whites. In contrast, my research finds that public discontent over taxes cut across lines of race, class, gender, and party affiliation; began decades earlier than is commonly believed; and was first harnessed successfully by activists on the left, rather than the right. By the mid-1970s, the left seemed ascendant and the right seemed defeated on tax issues. Grassroots groups associated with Ralph Nader and Saul Alinsky, among others, scored notable victories on state and local levels; President Richard Nixon shifted to the left on taxes in an attempt to capture the public mood; and conservatives like Ronald Reagan saw their measures defeated by voters, despite overwhelming business support. The passage of Prop 13 just a few years later, however, did not mark the triumph of conservatism. Rather, it reflected both stagflation's increasing pocketbook squeeze and the failure of both parties to enact policies that effectively addressed the public's concerns.
Communities and Practices: Accounting for the Development of the U.S. Cable Television Industry in Pennsylvania's Anthracite Coal Region
During the late 1940s and 1950s, early cable television (CATV) entrepreneurs, particularly a critical cluster located in Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region, shared technical, business, and, eventually political advice with one another. Informal gatherings and the sharing of know-how gradually developed into a formal trade associationeventually a very large one, the National Cable-Telecommunications Association (NCTA). I draw from theoretical scholarship on the structures and processes of innovation as well as from the interdisciplinary fields of historical and economic geography in order to develop an analysis of the formation of the CATV industry. My main inputs come from management scholar Michael C. Porter, organizational scholar Etienne Wenger, and communication scholar Everett Rogers.
Anna J. Murphy
Corporate Culture: Cold War Management Theory and the Revaluation of the White-Collar Workplace
A history of management thought, this paper asks: how and why is it that corporationsand, more broadly, organizationscame to be thought of as spaces of culture? What does "corporate culture" mean? What distinguished it from other ways of thinking about management? And why did this interpretive framework rise to prominence at the time that it did in the early 1980s? The corporate form came under scrutiny in the 1950s, pinpointed by critics as the source of conformity, the destruction of individuality, the spread of empty consumer culture, and the dissolution of structures of value in American society. In the context of this crisis, behavioral scientists, social psychologists, and organizational theorists came together at places like MIT's Sloan School and the National Training Laboratories and started developing new conceptions of the organization that resolved some of these anxieties. I argue that "corporate culture" can be understood as an idiom that was developed in a way that would refashion the corporation into a positive, generative space: one that produced values, artifacts, and culture-marked subjects.
The Making of Japanese Patent Culture: The Impact of MNEs' Local Patent Management
This paper clarifies Japanese patent culture from the viewpoints of patent management and international business history. We examine the cases of Westinghouse Electric and Mitsubishi Electric. Although Westinghouse granted exclusive licenses to Mitsubishi, it controlled its Japanese patents directly through its own patent agent. Therefore, positive influences of Westinghouse's international patent management on Mitsubishi were limited. Rather, Mitsubishi developed its patent management comparatively independently. In 1923, Mitsubishi appointed a person to be in charge of patent affairs exclusively, followed by the formation of a patent section. In 1935, the patent department began administrating patent applications internally. Mitsubishi accumulated the organizational capability to apply for and administer a volume of patents in the course of technical tie-ins with Westinghouse. This is the context of the creation of a Japanese patent culture. On the enforcement side, Mitsubishi Electric created a reconciliation system with competitors. Japanese electrical companies did not claim their rights strongly, but instead acted harmoniously toward each other. The conciliation system consisted mainly of Mitsubishi, Shibaura Works, Hitachi, and Fuji Electric. This represents another feature of Japanese patent culture.
Jo Ann Oravec
Google's "Don't Be Evil" Motto: Implications for the Ethical Cultures of Internet Businesses
The corporate motto "don't be evil" often associated with Google has generated considerable controversy about the social and cultural impacts of search engines as well as those of other Internet-related businesses. After addressing the origins of "don't be evil," this manuscript positions the motto in the historical context of the various kinds of ethical codes and statements that are associated with computer networking. The manuscript then describes how the motto played a role in discourse on issues related to Google's operations, exploring how the motto was employed in discussions of advertising-related situations as well as international disputes. An assortment of ethical dimensions of search engines has been considered in the light of the "don't be evil" motto, including the fairness and legitimacy of various information-related practices. Analyses of how corporate mottos are utilized in viewing organizational activity can be useful for corporations that wish to frame more precisely their ethical positions and assumptions. Internet-related corporations often have only a short timeframe for establishing reputations and setting ethical tones, and clues to their corporate culture can be vital. The manuscript provides a sampling of the many "copycat" corporate mottos (take-offs on "don't be evil") that have had some influence in high-tech organizations. It ends with a discussion of the issue of whether a "large-grained" corporate motto as a cultural object can indeed serve to supply social and ethical guidance, as opposed to a complex, detailed code of ethics or comparable attempt at moral clarification.
The Rural Roots of Urban Deindustrialization, 1955-1970
This paper examines economic developments within southern Iowa in order to shed new light on the relationship between capital mobility, deindustrialization, and agricultural transformation within post-World War II America. While most studies portray corporate relocation as the product of regional competition or metropolitan expansionNorth vs. South, Rust Belt vs. Sunbelt, urban core vs. suburban fringethis paper argues that a major feature of postwar capital mobility was the decentralization of industry to rural and small town communities throughout the American heartland. In southern Iowa, the rapid decline of agricultural employment, caused by mechanization reducing demand for farm labor, produced significant outmigration as inhabitants fled these depressed economies. This mass exodus caused schools to merge, churches to close, and businesses to fold. In response, rural small-town business peopleprimarily bankers, real estate agents, and utilities representativesformed industrial development corporations to lure manufacturing firms away from urban centers to their local communities. During the 1950s and 1960s, rural areas helped to plant the seeds of urban deindustrialization by quietly siphoning manufacturing firms from major cities, such as Detroit and New York. As this paper shows, "the origins of the urban crisis," to use Thomas Sugrue's phrase, were located in the countryside.
Securities Exchanges as Nodes of an Expanding Neoliberal Network, 1945-1990
This paper examines how, after World War II, both existing and newly established securities exchanges in non-communist nations became nodes in an expanding network for disseminating what we would recognize today as core precepts of the 'neoliberal' political-economic paradigm: 1) That investors and investment deserve highest priority in economic policy and corporate governance. Government and corporate policy must favor the formation and accumulation of capital because more investment means more productivity-enhancing technology, more product, lower prices, and more jobsin summary, investment equals growth. 2) That financial markets and institutions pilot the investment process, directing capital to those best situated to use it and distributing risk to those best able to bear it. They also provide the source of genuine opportunity and security for individuals, in contrast to welfare capitalism or the welfare state. 3) That financial markets and institutionslike all markets and economic institutionsfunction best when privately administered, unencumbered by the regulatory state. At the center of this expanding international network stood the New York Stock Exchange. It provided other stock exchanges around the world with a wide range of materials and offered advice to expand share-ownership and to engage in political action.