Abstracts and Papers
Avoiding "Negligence and Profusion": The Failure of the Joint-stock Form in Anglo-Indian Trade, 1813-1870
In the nineteenth century, firms operating in the Anglo-India trade were organized using a variety of ownership forms including the partnership, joint-stock company, and a hybrid form known as the managing agency. Faced with both an increasing need for fixed capital to undertake investments into manufacturing facilities and high principal/agent costs due to the distance between owners and managers, the firms adapted and increasingly adopted the hybrid managing agency model to overcome these problems. Organized as partnerships, these firms promoted joint-stock ventures in both the British and Indian capital markets, while providing managerial capabilities to manage activities on the ground. Using new data from Calcutta and Bengal Commercial Registers and detailed case studies of the Assam Company and Gillanders, Arbuthnot and Co., this paper demonstrates that British entrepreneurs did not see the choice of ownership as a dichotomy between the partnership or joint-stock form or firm boundaries as fixed, but instead innovatively drew on the strengths of different forms of ownership to successfully compete and grow.
This paper deals with inward FDI spillovers on host economies. In particular, it explores how multinationals promote talent within and around their subsidiaries, and how local talent might shape the multinational's operations in the country. In order to do so, we first propose our literature-grounded definition of local talent to examine afterward the operations of two prominent MNEs, Bayer and ITT, in Spain during the second industrial revolution. We pay particular attention to these companies' mode of entry, how they got in contact with their future local partners, how management positions were distributed within their subsidiaries, and which in-company training activities were carried out and how they were organized. Our ongoing research shows, first, that local partners played a key role in MNEs' operations in the country, enabling foreigners to obtain information about the local market and to deal effectively with economic nationalism and other adverse situations. And, second, subsidiaries' local managers contributed to the process of knowledge transfer promoted by MNEs' headquarters at least through their educational background and contacts. We argue, to conclude, that this interplay between MNEs' operations and local managerial talent is a key element to understand FDI spillovers in the long term.
Studies on British workers up to World War II show that they slowly adapted to new saving methods. Precautionary saving dominated, while saving for old age was unusual and grew first when old age pensions were introduced. This has been explained by workers having small and precarious surpluses. This paper concerns Swedish urban workers' saving habits. Data from probate inventories in 1900-1905 and the Cost of Living Investigation in 1913-1914 show two great changes between 1870 and 1914. Sickness and burial funds became common at the end of the nineteenth century, and there was a breakthrough for saving in life and endowment assurances in the beginning of the twentieth century. The first meant that precautionary saving was made easier, while the second indicates that saving for old age became more widespread even before the introduction of old-age pensions in Sweden in 1913. Still, savings were not enough for retirement in old age. Briefly, Swedish workers seem to have changed their saving habits at a quicker pace than did British workers. The results indicate that the development of working-class saving behavior could differ between countries and that it may be inappropriate to use the British example as the only benchmark.
Public Goods or Business Opportunities? Ideas, Intellectual Property Rights, and Business History
This paper aims to offer, in essay style, a brief comparative, case-based reflection on the history of intellectual property rights and the implications for the development of business and the economy. It focuses on how a series of intellectual property rights transformed public 'knowledge goods' into partially private goods, often toll goods, which are nonrivalrous but excludable. This paper takes a broad view in that it discusses many different property rights over several centuries in Britain, the United States, and several other countries. It is able to do so by discussing a series of relevant cases. Having a broad exploratory character, and drawing informally and implicitly on institutional economics, it discusses cases from the history of various intellectual property rights such as the copyright, the trademark, the patent, image and design rights, and assesses their benefits and costs.
The Room for Maneuver for Firms in the Third Reich
Since the mid-1990s, the question of the role private firms played during the "Third Reich," why they supported armament, exploitation, and crimes by the Nazis until 1945, is a central focus of German economic and business history. Numerous case studies have demonstrated that, despite the increasing impact of political and ideological factors, private firms never ceased to pursue their economic self-interest. Even under the extreme ideological circumstances of the Third Reich, their strategic decisions remained geared to economic criteria. A broad consensus has evolved that the state control of firms took place more by changes of framework requirements than by using direct coercion. Actually, the regime was especially able to establish a successful control of the economy when it operated with economic incentives and left some room for maneuver, even if the latter became increasingly smaller toward the end of the war as a result of increasing state intervention and government control. This scope may explain the considerable differences in the behavior of firms, especially in respect to their involvement in Nazi crimes. The contribution will present a general overview on the current state of discussion, strengthening the view that, although case studies will never allow us to identify the exact extent of entrepreneurial freedom of action during the Third Reich, they comprise the only methodological way that enables sound conclusions about the general evaluation of state-business- relations during the Nazi period.
Following the crisis of 1825/6, the 1826 Bank Act allowed the creation of joint-stock banks in England and Wales. A plethora of mainly small-scale joint-stock banks were formed between 1826 and 1870. The amalgamation movement of the 1870s-1890s then saw a concentration in banking whereby 1900 saw a few large-scale, joint-stock banks, with extensive branch networks, dominating the UK retail banking sector. This paper examines these joint-stock banks, their propensity to branch, and the part that branching played in their successful progress, at the expense of private banks, during the nineteenth century. These new joint-stock institutions took to branching vigorously. This paper will examine the patterns of branching over the nineteenth century by mapping banks and their branches and analyzing the motivations for branching. Were banks driven by a virtuous desire to serve their customers, shareholders, and local communities? What were the vices involved in branching, such as over-extending and consequent bank failure, with disastrous consequences for customers, shareholders, and local economies? The research aims to add to the debate on UK banking, primarily concerning the virtue of its stability but also the vice of its conservatism.
Foreign Computers in 1960s India: Job Eaters, Consumers of Foreign Exchange, or Export Creators?
The Indian information technology (IT) business, today generating $100 billion in revenue annually and employing nearly 3 million people, had its origins in the 1960s, a time when the foreign computer was highly controversial in India. Trade unions, using information from the United States and Europe, argued that the computer was a job-eater that would destroy the Indian economy. They organized protests, called for anti-computer legislation, and blocked the installation of computers. The Indian government, trying to minimize imports, imposed heavy duties on computers and required purchasers of computers to guarantee that they would generate foreign exchange. In this environment, managers of the Tata business group, which long prided itself on acting in the interests of India, developed an IT firm, Tata Consultancy Services. TCS developed a business that wrote software for foreign companies, most notably the American computer manufacturer Burroughs. Tata managers argued for loosening of government restrictions, asserting that its computer business brought concrete benefits to India.
The Banque de France's Privilege as a Balancing Tool between Private Vices and Public Virtues, and Vice Versa
The French Revolution did not revolutionize everything, but it did reverse the hierarchy of legal norms. While customs (common law) tended to be the most eminent source of law before 1789, once codification was completed, around 1810, written law became the the fundamental basis upon which a judge's decision had to rest. Nevertheless, the market's failure to provide the economy with an adequate amount of currency at a reasonable cost led to the same solution before and after 1789a privileged body, even thoug privileges had been ruled out by the Revolution. The role of the privilege was to allow for a balance between private viceslust, speculation and monopolizationand public virtueswider access to cheap credit, currency, and state funding. The negotiations over the different aspects of the privilege, between 1776 and 1897, show that this delicate balance was never permanent, even though it retained overwhelming elements of continuity. It had to be adjusted from time to timemost notably when the Banque's charter was renewedin order to adapt to the changing conditions within the banking sector, state finances and monetary practices. One of the most striking features of the negotiations concerned the distribution of the Banque's profits. On the one hand, the Banque's general aim was to lower the rate of discount and promote cheap credit, which had a depressing impact on its profits. On the other hand, currency management by the Banque led it to raise its discount rate when a crisis occurred. This raised profits to a maximum when the economy was in distress, a contradiction that fueled public outcry and menaced the Banque's position and its monopoly. The way out of the contradiction was designed within the framework of the privilege, and led to ever more complex fiscal rules related to the Banque's profit. These rules aimed at two main objectives: to limit the incentive to raise rates, and to channel "excessive" profits toward the state or toward "socially useful" investments. The Banque de France's prestige on the eve of the First World War bears witness that, through privilege, a healthy compromise between private vices and publics virtues could be achieved.
William H. Becker
Theory and Empiricism: Economics and Business History
A theoretical preference for free markets shapes professional economics in the United States. Public discourse about free markets privileges deregulation because it promotes competition. Business historians are often familiar with economic, political, sociological, and literary theory. Nevertheless, the field has produced substantial knowledge about business through empirical research, which should be relevant to public discourse about free markets. Legal historian William J. Novak, well known for controversial scholarship on a long-lived robust American state, has recently challenged neoliberal theory. Because regulation was part of a durable state, he faults free market economists for assuming that the New Deal marked a turning point between laissez-faire and stronger government. He also argues that regulation was often used to limit private capture of government, which posed a challenge to democracy. Likewise, business historians' empirical research has produced substantial evidence that firms did not favor competition. Margaret Levenstein discussed the lack of enthusiasm for competition in her 2012 BHC presidential address "Escaping Equilibrium." Indeed, the evidence is strong that businesses avoided competition by seeking new markets, technologies, and innovative manufacturing techniques, while engaging in cartels and mergers, and flaunting the antitrust laws.
The Case of LIP in Besançon, France: From industrial Work-In to a Set of Worker Cooperatives
When the workers of the watchmaking factory LIP in Besançon, France, went on strike to save their jobs in 1973, they took to unusual means: They occupied their plant and they "illegally" produced and sold watches on their own accord. In the end, they successfully forced shareholders and the state to rescue the business. In 1976, following another bankruptcy, the workers almost naturally took recourse to their previous experiences. Several industrial co-operatives were founded from 1977 onward, which pursued variousin part contradictorygoals: they situated the economic task of earning a living in a wider political and cultural context of social politics in the Besançon neighborhood of Palente. Did these cooperatives form a part, however fragile, of a new business culture that had grown out of the workers' contesting of the conventional management practices over the years of struggle? What were its characteristics and how was it influenced by the wider context of political discussions about "autogestion"worker self-managementin France during the post-1968 years? Is the story of LIP to be interpreted as a success story or a failure in terms of the original motives of the workers?
Knowledge Sharing in War and Peace: Patents, Inventors, and the Arms Industry in France, 1816-1914
The development and circulation of military technology is based on conflicting needs and requirements. In times of war, patriotic interests seem to command the immediate sharing of relevant inventions, even when these would normally be kept secret in order to secure a business advantage. In peacetime, private economic interests may take precedence over the interests of the nation. Therefore, as regards military technology, degrees of openness in the exploitation of innovative knowledge strongly depend on the context. The purpose of this contribution is to analyze this kind of variation by studying the relationship between inventors, the military, and the defense industry in late nineteenth and early twentieth century France. First, we will consider the specificity of the French arms industry in the nineteenth century. Then, we will consider the Franco-German War of 1870-71, when committees for invention were created in response to a patriotic fervor. Then we will focus on the practice of knowledge sharing by describing the case of Eugène Turpin, the inventor of mélinite, an explosive of major importance to the French artillery. Particular attention will be paid to how Turpin was wedged between the interests of the French army and those of the armament industry.
Matthew J. Bellamy
The Public Relations Committee of the Ontario Brewers and the Defence of Brewing and Beer-Drinking during the Second World War
In the summer of 1941, Matthew H. Halton, a war correspondent, arrived in Solum, an Egyptian village near the Mediterranean Sea, just east of the border with Libya. The British army there was under heavy attack by General Erwin Rommelthe fabled "Desert Fox." As the shells of the German AfrikaKorps rained down on Solum, Halton fearlessly recorded the fighting and dying in the searing sands of North Africa. The fact that "one brigade with a few guns" ultimately held off the German assault left Halton "shaking with pride." When the fighting was done, a charming young British lieutenant approached Halton and offered him a drink. But Halton knew that it was an unforgivable sin in the desert to accept water or other drinks from people, and as a result he declined. The lieutenant, however, insisted. "Save your protest and drink the beer," he commanded. "It's Canadian." Versions of the story appeared in various Canadian newspapers during the Second World War. There was nothing factually wrong with the reporting. Nevertheless, the facts were presented in such a way as to portray the brewing industry in the most positive light. At a time when the industry was under renewed attack from temperance advocates, Halton's article and others like it were designed to highlight the brewers' contribution to the war effort, by demonstrating that beer was necessary for maintaining the health and morale of Canadians. These "news items" were a part of the brewers' public relations campaign to keep Canada wet during the war. This paper examines the unfolding of the brewers' campaign in Canada's most populated province, Ontario. By casting light on the cultural basis, organizational structure and rationale, and day-to-day practices of the Public Relations Committee of the Ontario Brewers (PRCOB), it aims to add to our understanding of what Robert Jackell and Janice Hirota term "the ethos of advocacy."
A Tale of Two Markets: Accessing the Queer Consumer in Pre-Decriminalization Britain
Long before homosexual activity between consenting men was decriminalized in Britain in 1967, the international film magazine Films and Filming subtly established its queer leanings. From its initial issues in 1954, it sought what we would today call the Pink Pound, or Britain's queer market segment. This included commercial advertisements for queer-friendly businesses as well as articles on censorship, profiles and images of sexually ambiguous male actors, and homoerotic photo spreads. The magazine's contact ads further helped foster a network of queer men across Britain and internationally. Despite its respectable credentials, international success, and mainstream accessibility, Films and Filming was, in fact, queer. But this duality was key to both the magazine's mainstream financial success and its appeal to many gay men who would not buy more explicit publications. Interviews with editors and contributors, and reminiscences from readers further reinforce the magazine's role in pre-decriminalization British queer history. Films and Filming was in fact the longest-running pre-decriminalization magazine to gain success and respect in the mainstream while actively courting a queer market segment. Surrounded by the victimization of queer men by the state and press in the early 1950s, publisher Philip Dosse recognized both a thriving subculture and a potential market.
This paper explores strategies to accomplish energy transition in the Swedish pulp and paper industry during the 1970s and the 1980s. In the wake of the first oil crisis in 1973 until the late 1980s, the use of fossil fuels within the sector was reduced by 70 percent. The lion's share of this reduction was achieved by the substitution of biofuels for oil, which, besides cutting the costs of energy also resulted in significant environmental improvements. Substituting biofuels for oil proved to be the overall most reasonable way to decrease the use of oil, even though alternatives such as coal were considered. Initially, oil reductions and energy conservation were accomplished by relatively small measures, but there was a great need for long-term R&D to push the technology development further. Inter-firm and state-firm collaborations therefore became strategically important. The strategies for substitution interacted, however, strongly with institutional changes in the energy area, the ongoing greening of the industry as well as an urgent need to enhance international competitiveness. Our study concludes that the oil crises enforced a more sustainable production in a dynamic way, which, according to our knowledge, has been overlooked in the business history literature so far.
The Circulation of Corporate-Based "Scientific" Philanthropy in Europe and the United States, 1880-1940
By the end of the nineteenth century, Belgian industrialist and philanthropist Ernst Solvay and his family deemed it necessary to "pay back to the advancement of Science a part of the prosperity [they] owe to it." To American observers, the examples of Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford first come to mind when it comes to the creation of science-oriented philanthropic foundations or institutes. Yet, such practices, deeply rooted in the progressive credo and the gospel for industrial capitalism, have their counterparts in Europe. This paper seeks to examine some core aspects of the diversity of philanthropic cultures on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. National models (American, German, French) often prevail and are generally accepted prima facie without questioning the practices these "models" are supposed to encompass. It is the ambition of this paper to provide the first ingredients as a means to bring out a synthetic view on the divergences and convergences of such models.
Managing Risk or Appeasing the Nazis? British Banks and Standstill Debt in the 1930s
In July 1931 financial crisis led Germany to declare a de facto moratorium on its international debts, including normal commercial debts. These became subject to a Standstill agreement, which provided for limited payments to creditors; it was renegotiated and renewed regularly until the outbreak of World War II. British creditors, including the banks, were heavily exposed to German debt, which had suddenly become subject to sovereign and, with the abandonment of the gold standard, currency risk. The British banks appeared less aggressive than most Standstill creditors in reducing their exposures, in what is regarded variously as enlightened pragmatism or economic or financial appeasement. Under pressure from government and the Bank of England, both of which wanted to keep Germany integrated with the international financial and trading system and defuse economic tensions, the banks were obliged to balance patience against their desire for repayment. This paper argues that the major British commercial banks dealt with Standstill debt, notwithstanding its unusual character, in a manner broadly consistent with their management of risk arising from other types of lending. I reinforce those interpretations of economic appeasement which assert that the outward appearance of a common approach by "City interests" oversimplifies a more complex picture.
The Risk of Noise: "Talkies," Market Speculation, and Dangerous Animal Spirits
In 1928 the League of Nations created an International Educational Cinematographic Institute to support the widest possible circulation of films that promoted the "Spirit of Geneva." The institute endeavored to negotiate a reduction in tariffs for qualifying films, accomplishing in one sweep the League's dual mandate of facilitating international cooperation and supporting freer trade. And yet, the League's efforts played out not only in the context of global depression, but also in a moment of rapid changes in the film industry. This paper uses the records of the League to explore critiques of "noise" as a dangerous feature of modern cultures and economies between 1929 and 1933. Linking the role of the spectator to that of the speculator, noise emerged in multilateral conversations as something that both produced (in the case of talking films) and was produced by (in the case of market speculation) unruly crowds. Furthermore, fears emerged about the extent to which noise in both films and markets could create globally contagious strains of political or economic disorder. These discussions led to debates about the extent to which populations, markets, and borders should be regulated. The League of Nations engaged with and influenced these trends until the time of the Cinematographic Institute's closure in 1937.
Fahad Ahmad Bishara
A Sea of Debt: Histories of Commerce and Obligation in the Western Indian Ocean, c. 1850-1940 [Krooss Session]
A Sea of Debt is a legal history of economic life in the Western Indian Ocean during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The project unpacks the ontologies, practices, and shifting juridical landscapes that shaped how Arab, Swahili, and Gujarati commercial actors fashioned exchange, and how they transformed commercial and legal categories and instruments to adapt to the emergence of modern capitalism in the region. As the world of Indian Ocean commerce confronted a burgeoning British Indian empire, its participants had to cope with the growing presence of British judges, Parsi lawyers, and Indian court personnel, all of whom brought their own notions of contract and economic order. The encounter between the two legal cultures set into motion a long process in which merchants and plantation owners clashed over the legal and epistemological foundations of economic life, inside and outside of the courtroom. Through this history, A Sea of Debt argues for a rethinking of the place of Islamic law in the history of modern capitalism. It highlights how Indian Ocean actors mobilized legal concepts to facilitate expanding commercial activity, and how they constructed and negotiated these concepts within a changing juridical, political, and economic world.
Cooperation: A Virtuous Business Model? The Case of Wisconsin Cooperators, 1870s-1930s
The paper studies how Wisconsin cooperatorswho played an important role in the American movementconsistently sought to define cooperation as a virtuous business model between the 1870s and the 1930s. During those decades, they used different, and sometimes contradictory, lines of argument in order to link their way of doing business to the wider society and to the common good. This definition enabled cooperators to distance their organizations from other kinds of businesses, especially traditional corporations. It was also instrumental in determining cooperators' relations with the state at different levels. From the late nineteenth century to the New Deal era, Wisconsin cooperators maintained an ambiguous relationship with the state and federal governments. Their claim to represent a form of business that benefited the general interest carried a "public" dimension, which led cooperators to both seek and refuse state protection. Defining cooperation as a virtuous business model allowed cooperators to combine private and public elements, and to define their organizations as a beneficial middle ground.
Property, Control, and Room for Maneuver: Royal Dutch Shell and Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Nationalistic Nazi politics created problems for foreign multinational firms in Germany. Although currency restrictions and the Nazi economic boom caused Royal Dutch Shell's subsidiary Rhenania-Ossag to grow luxuriantly during the 1930s, the question was to what extent the major allocation decisions were taken in Royal Dutch's headquarters in The Hague or London or in Hamburg. Under Nazi dictatorship and occupation, in particular, the management of foreign multinationals was limited by regulations and increasingly controlled by the regime. Although the room for maneuver had decreased in the course of time, it was not always clear who had been in control. A complicating factor was Rhenania's relationship with IG Farben. Royal Dutch Shell became involved with IG Farben to gain access to its technology. Under the Nazi regime, however, IG Farben became the favored instrument of autarky, undermining the position of foreign oil companies in Nazi Germany. The entanglement with IG Farben thus complicated Rhenania's position in Nazi Germany. The paper examines to what extent the parent company and the German subsidiary were able to control their businesses in Nazi Germany and what their room for maneuver was.
Historical Methods and the Study of Innovation in Action: A Collaborative Research Project on Innovation Management
The Innovation Working Group at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business is engaged in a study of innovation management by leading U.S. corporations. This study employs the methodologies of historical research and analysis, particularly oral history. Research of this nature offers exciting opportunities for the historian, such as substantial access to company managers and to internal documents. But it also imposes real limits, enshrined in confidentiality agreements, which historians do not often encounter. This paper describes our methodology in action and offers some reflection on what historians can learn from participating in multidisciplinary management studies that, due to the nature of the evidence, will not allow for typical historical studies and publication. It concludes that historians have a particular interest in and a unique perspective on innovation. Collaborative research that reaches atypical audiences and that inflects our teaching and research agendas is essential if we are to ensure that our perspectives reach today's business and social innovators.
Strategies of Information Acquisition: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century U.S. Credit Reports
Until now, scholarship on nineteenth-century American mercantile credit reporting agencies has implicitly assumed that agency subscribers primarily used credit reports to screen all potential trading partners. However, the study of how and why subscribers used the reports remains to be undertaken. I argue that the R. G. Dun Credit Report Collection at the Harvard Business School, the primary source for the study of mercantile credit reports, allows scholars not only to read the credit reports that subscribers may have used, but also to determine which subscribers accessed each report. In this paper, I study the credit reports that the Mercantile Agency wrote between 1850 and 1860 on mercantile concerns in New Orleans. I conclude that it is unlikely that subscribers obtained reports for all potential trading partners. Further, while subscribers may have used reports to screen some potential partners, they also used reports to monitor existing trading partners. I argue this lack of screening implies that mercantile concerns in the mid-nineteenth century had broader access to credit than has been previously acknowledged.
Scholarship on economic imperialism has analyzed this phenomenon as a unidirectional one in which the 'colonized' country is affected (negatively or positively) by the actions of the empire. However, the literature has overlooked the strategies developed by the colonized countries to exploit internal imperial conflicts in order to reduce the net transfers of wealth to the empire. We examine a paradigmatic case of economic imperialism: the U.S. support for the separation of the Colombian province of Panama in 1903. Despite its relative weakness, Colombia eventually received $25 million reparation from the United States. Contrary to previous interpretations, we show that this payment was not a product of a new vision within the United States on how it should relate to its southern neighbors. Rather, this was possible because Colombia developed strategies to induce the U.S. oil multinational Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (SONJ) to lobby for Colombia in the United States for the payment of reparations. Our calculations show that, although SONJ gained oil concessions as a result of this operation, the average U.S. taxpayer lost. The main winners in the United States were the oil refiners, while Colombia reduced its losses from the separation of Panama.
Fashion Copying as Virtue or Vice: An Examination of André Studios as a Case Study
This paper and presentation tells the story of André Studios and puts the company in the larger context of fashion copying, considered as either virtue or vice (or both) depending on which side of the transaction one happens to be on. It also introduces a remarkable primary source collection of sketches (and their digital surrogates) that is representative of a most critical step in successful fashion copying. André Studios was a sketch subscription service for garment industry professionals. The sketches created for subscription distribution are important artifacts for technical analysis regarding a design's creation. The company was founded by designer Pearl Levy and her business partner, salesman Leonard Schwartzbach, in 1930. While it is impossible to say exactly how Levy and Schwartzbach conducted their daily business, the historical record indicates that André Studios was one of the many design services that relied heavily on copying and adapting existing clothing models to supply a sufficient up-to-date product for customer satisfaction. The industry has from time to time attempted to self-regulate outright fashion piracy; nevertheless, it is one of the industry's open secrets that for generations the appropriation of designs has been de rigueur for any fashion company that wishes to flourish and survive. The commodification of copying as a singular industry did not occur until the rise of the haute couture in Paris and the concurrent growth of the garment industry in New York City. The André Studios sketches offer a tangible window into the workings, both virtuous and otherwise, of a great American industry at its twentieth-century zenith.
A leading supplier of networking equipment since 1986, Cisco Systems is emblematic of the form of business organization that develops new innovative capabilities largely through acquisition and development (A&D) rather than R&D. As the company seeks to transform itself from being a hardware to a software vendor, however, organic revenue growth has proven elusive, suggesting that over-reliance on the A&D framework is not without long-term risks for firms whose long-term prosperity depends on their ability to develop innovative capabilities. Addressing the hypothetical question of whether a company would have been more successful if it had followed a different strategic path requires detailed analysis of the technologies, customers, and competitors in the segments where the company sought new business in order to compare those where it succeeded and those where it failed. A three-decade-long study of Cisco's development allows us to evaluate key sectors where potential success proved elusivenotably, optical networking and mobile backhaulas well as those sectors such as data centers where the company continues to build its presence, albeit from a very low base. As part of our forensic research into Cisco's strategic decisions, we examine in parallel top management's focus on the company's share price, a central component of this new economy business model. Since 2002 and the bursting of the dot com and telecom bubbles, Cisco has engaged in massive stock repurchase programs and sequestered billions of unpaid taxes outside of the United States while calling on the government to increase education spending in the areas of science and technology. In both 2011 and 2013, Cisco announced significant lay-off programs at the same time as it returned huge amounts of cash to shareholders and granted millions in stock options to top executives. In addition to the potential harm that such financialization by high-tech firms may inflict on U.S. employment and the corporate tax base, we argue that by over-focusing on its stock price, Cisco has failed to build on its accumulated capabilities to establish itself as a leader in the most sophisticated segments of communication technology.
Business Practices and the 1937 Revolt in Barbados
Historians have argued that the workers' revolt in Barbados in 1937 was primarily a result of external factors such as the Great Depression and the closure of migration outlets. While these factors placed pressure on the black majority, it is necessary to examine closely the local factors which also irritated the workers. Using the evidence of the commissions that investigated this revolt, I argue in this paper that business practices represent a significant causal factor, because they led to considerable hardship and generated resentment among the population. Such practices, existing long before the depression, were characterized by a strong business/political nexus, the persistence of a low-wage regime, the formation merchant combines, price-fixing, and the undercutting of small rural shopkeepers by provision dealers. Moreover, the pattern of attack during the revolt, manifesting itself in the assault on Broad Street businesses, plantations, and rural shops, suggests that unfair business practices constituted a major grievance of the workers in 1937.
Christy Ford Chapin
Virtue and Vice? Non-Profit and For-Profit Healthcare Companies
The health care field hosts numerous nonprofit organizations, ranging from hospitals to insurance companies. This paper examines the history of nonprofit Blue Cross plans, which traditionally supplied subscribers with hospital insurance, and Blue Shield plans, which provided insurance for physician bills. Initially, during the 1930s and 1940s, nonprofit insurers behaved quite differently than commercial firms in their pursuit of the "public interest." In exchange for their socially responsible behavior, states awarded nonprofit plans tax-exempt status and relief from numerous insurance regulations. Moreover, when federal policymakers passed Medicare in 1965 and created administrative positions for insurance companies, they granted Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans the vast majority of these lucrative intermediary positions. However, by the 1960s, nonprofit plans closely resembled and operated like their for-profit competitors. This analysis has current public policy implications for nonprofit insurance companies and hospitals.
William R. Childs
Bringing Economics Back In: Business History, Political History, and the Natural Gas Industry
Since the mid-1980s, some business historians have utilized ideas, culture, and politics to analyze business-related topics, but have ignored (ironically) the role of economics. Here, I resurrect and extend an approach developed by the late Thomas K. McCraw, who in a seminal article and a Pulitzer Prize-winning book offered this insight: More than any other factor the economic structure of an industry shapes the context in which regulatory policy is discussed and implemented. Focusing on the history of natural gas in the United States, I retell a politicized story from 1949, contrast it to the electric power story of the 1930s, and outline the disastrous natural gas policies from the 1950s to the 1970s. Only in the 1970s did policy makers begin to make more effective choices for natural gas, in large measure because the deregulation and environmental movements forced them to understand the economic structure of that industry, how it related to other energy industries, and how all of them fit into the broader economy. In the conclusion, I suggest how my approach might be applied to other business-government topics. Business historians need to put the "economy" back into "political economy."
The Chinese Fashion Industry, an Industry under Control: How to Develop a Creative Industry in a Planned Economy
This paper considers the influence of a centralized state on the emergence of a creative industry, as illustrated by the issues faced by the Chinese clothing industry as it strives to become a creative fashion industry. Under the economic reforms of the 1980s, the clothing industry was strategic in creating wealth and employment. Within two decades, China became world leader in the production and export of textiles and clothing. Early in the twenty-first century, the development of a creative economy became a new objective for the government, following a global awareness that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1990s. Innovation, scientific research, and the promotion of cultural heritage have been key assets for developed countries to acquire competitive leading roles, which is now also the goal of China, as mentioned in the 2006 Five-Year Plan. Shanghai, as the center of trade and internationalization for China, has recently joined UNESCO's network of creative cities, and has implemented policies toward creativity. However, this paper highlights that under a strong state intervention, a unique historical and cultural context, and a fast-moving, but mass-oriented market, the feasibility of developing a creative fashion industry raises more challenges than in liberal economies.
Britain's newspaper and magazine publishing business did not fare well during the 1950s. With leading newspaper proprietors placing their desire for political influence above that of financial performance, and with working practices in Fleet Street becoming ungovernable, many leading periodical publishers were on the verge of bankruptcy by the decade's end. The chain of enterprises controlled by Roy Thomson provided a notable exception. Having established a base in Scotland in 1953 through the acquisition of the Scotsman newspaper publishing group, the Canadian entrepreneur brought a new commercial attitude and business strategy to bear on Britain's periodical publishing industry. In 1959 Thomson bought a place in Fleet Street through the acquisition of Lord Kemsley's chain of newspapers, which included the prestigious Sunday Times. Early in 1961 Thomson came to an agreement with Christopher Chancellor, the recently appointed chief executive of Odhams Press, to merge their two publishing groups and thereby create a major new force in the industry. The deal was never consummated, however. Within days of publicly announcing the merger, Odhams faced an improved offer from Cecil King, chairman of Daily Mirror Newspapers, Ltd., which the shareholders duly accepted. The Mirror's acquisition of Odhams was deeply controversial, mainly because it brought under common ownership the two left-leaning British popular newspapers, the Mirror and the Herald. Our paper utilizes archive sources from the Cabinet Office to explore the political dialogue that enabled the controversial takeover to proceed unopposed by the regulatory authority of the Monopolies Commission. It analyzes the implication of the successful prosecution of the King-led deal for magazine publishing in Britain: namely, the creation of a virtual monopoly through the formation of the Mirror-controlled IPC Magazines.
Why Did the Swedish State Regard the Cement Monopoly as Beneficial?
This paper deals with the question of monopoly and the Swedish state. In 1974 the two Swedish cement producers Cementa (subsidiary to Euroc) and Gullhögen merged. Thereby a monopoly was created. The common attitude in Sweden was negative toward monopoly, and there was competition legislation that did not support monopoly. Nonetheless, the state did not interfere in the process around the merger. The question asked in the paper is: Why was the cement monopoly not a problem? Why was the monopoly regarded as beneficial? The process around the creation of the monopoly is discussed. It is found that the state and the minister of building had a central role in the creation of the monopoly; the idea of the monopoly actually came from the minister. The argument for allowing the monopoly was that the industry was of great interest for the state and that it was not desirable to have foreign ownership in the industry. The state demanded insight into the monopolist and kept control over prices. The state tried to neutralize the negative aspects of the monopoly.
The Impact of Colonial Development Debates on the HR Policies of Imperial Business in Ghana and Nigeria, 1940-1960
Colonial practices of managing labor were becoming the target of critical scrutiny by the Colonial Office and the wider public in the middle of the twentieth century. Even though the Human Relations School had yet not become as widely influential as it would be in later decades, the way conceptions of managing labor were shifting in North America and Western Europe was influential in the debates on colonial development. This was linked to the fear of greater mobilization of workers through trade unions and Communist groups. In the British colonial empire, caught between a brief resurgence of an imperial sense of mission and its eventual decline, this led to a politicization of labor relations in public and private businesses, which shaped the emerging employment relationships in these emerging states in a variety of ways. Finally, it served to de-politicize difficult issues of social development in favor of allocating entitlements that could not feasibly be extended to the working population at large. This paper presents evidence from the corporate archives of five British companies active in West Africa: two banks, two trading companies, and the largest mining firm in Ghana. It also draws on reports published by the Colonial Office on the issues of labor and social development. Over twenty years, a clear shift from disinterest to paternalism and further toward a more limited conception of advancing Africans within the economy is evident, and the way this developed in different sectors of the economy had a long-term effect on how employment practices developed in West Africa, which encapsulated the shift from ethnocentric toward polycentric staffing policies described by Howard Perlmutter.
he Risks and Benefits of Local Business Entrenchment: The Fur Industry as a Local Production System in Leipzig, 1918-1933
This paper views the restructuring of the international fur industry in the 1920s and its bearings on the Leipzig fur cluster. According to handbook literature, macroeconomic restructuring entails more continuous and formalized collaboration among economic actors in a regional cluster. The paper has attention for new business practices and formation of firm groupings that enabled commerce with the Soviet Trade Agencies. In particular, attention is paid to the networks between local finance and industry in the readmission to the Russian market. The Soviet preference for larger-sized contracts and deals stimulated cooperation between bank divisions in Leipzig and fur industrialists. The new arrangements in the cluster and increased collaboration between economic actors and firms allowed for a boom in the fur industry in the second half of the 1920s. It will be shown, however, that the growing entanglement and amalgamation of interests of local finance and business was a risky regional business model. The paper casts attention to growing asymmetries produced by the strengthened networks, in particular how the recovery of the fur industry went along with an externalization of risks upon local banks and how this reinforced the effects of the economic depression of the 1930s on the fur industry.
Ferry de Goey
Consul General Ferguson and the Ethics of the Chinese Coolie Trade, 1850s-1890s
The British Anti-Slavery Campaign led to a growing demand for contract laborers from India and China. This paper focuses on the Chinese coolies and attempts of the Dutch authorities to enable the free emigration of Chinese laborers to tobacco plantations and mines in the Dutch East Indies. These efforts were frustrated by Chinese authorities who at first outlawed the emigration of Chinese and next tried to regulate it. Chinese middlemen (known as coolie brokers) and their main partners, the British traders and shipping companies, also prevented the Dutch from establishing a direct migration of free Chinese laborers to Sumatra. The Dutch planters successfully lobbied their government to appoint a consul general to protect their interests in China. The selected consul, J. H. Ferguson, despised the coolie trade as a new kind of slavery. This led to confrontation between, on the one hand, the planters and the Dutch government and on the other hand, Ferguson. Using mainly archival sources from the Dutch National Archive in The Hague, I will argue, in contrast to other authors, that Ferguson did not oppose the coolie trade as such, but only the (many) negative features of the trade. Ferguson wanted to modernize and civilize the coolie trade; he pleaded for active government involvement in the trade.
Nathan D. Delaney
Transnational Liberalism: Two German Mining Firms in Nineteenth-Century Mexico
My presentation will examine two German mining firms in Mexicoone during the early years of the republic, the other during the Porfiriato&in an effort to help answer the questions: when is foreign business beneficial to domestic communities and when is it merely extractive and disruptive? I argue that the answer to this question depends less on the mentalité of the foreign business migrants and more on the technology and legal structures of nineteenth-century Mexico. Mining groups such as the Deutsch-Amerikanischer Bergwerksverein (1824-1838) lacked the technological and institutional support to succeed over the long term and thus contributed very little to the well-being of local communities through taxes, infrastructure investment, and steady wages. Conversely, during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz (1876-1910), mines owned by the Frankfurt firm Metallgesellschaft (MG) reaped tremendous profits and raised revenues for local and national governments in Mexico. While MG contributed to local infrastructure development, imported new mining technologies, and provided work for thousands of people, it also benefited (largely at the expense of the working poor) from strict anti-union laws and generous land subsidies.
Pablo del Hierro
"The Bank Job": La Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and Its Activities in Spain, 1941-1946
The aim of this paper will be to analyze the activities of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) in Spain from 1941 until 1946, in an attempt to understand not only the Spanish economy during the first years of the dictatorship, but also the economic expansionism abroad of fascist Italy. Furthermore, this work will attempt to shed light on how companies like the BNL were able exploit the opportunities that arose when different national cultures for business-government relations collided. It will also be important to analyze the role of the BNL firm as a mediator between various actors from different national cultures with different value sets, and the extent to which this could facilitate participation in a number of enterprisessometimes even criminal.
In Good Company? How to Introduce Morals into Business: A Case Study of the Carl Zeiss Foundation
How can morals be implemented into business? The paper investigates this issue by having a closer look at the German physicist and entrepreneur Ernst Abbe. He instituted his own personal values into a new corporate governance structure, when he transferred one of the leading companies in the optical industries, the workshops of Carl Zeiss and its partner company Schott, an innovator in glass chemistry, into the ownership of a foundation with legal capacities in 1889. Abbe was able to convince his business partners that a successful company can operate best when without personal ownership. The two pillars of the Carl Zeiss Foundation were to manage the businesses in its possession and to promote science and support the social needs of the local workforce in the small town of Jena. With its distinct approach, the Zeiss Foundation therefore contributes to recent debates about the role and possibilities of corporate governance and social responsibility.
This paper explores the relationship between foreign MNEs and the transfer of knowledge and technology in emerging markets. This crucial yet under-researched aspect of FDI is approached in two ways: first, through a review of the concepts proposed by the literature of international business; and second, through a long-term, empirical analysis of the operations of a prominent MNE in Cuba in the nineteenth century. We examine the transnational operations of the French firm "Derosne & Cail," one the most innovative engineering firms in the mid-nineteenth century as well as one of the first European companies supplying advanced technology to sugar industry and railway equipment through an extensive network of factories, representatives, agents, and branches across four continents. We will focus especially on one of these branches, sugar machinery, taking into account that this firm was one of the world's main developers, producers, and sellers of sugar technology in the nineteenth century. The transfer of technical innovations in the Caribbean was probably its main goal. Derosne and Cail followed a global strategy from its beginning in 1812 using foreign agents and offices, the management of intellectual property rights, and encouraging the relationship of the firm with local "agents." Our case study will demonstrate an early experience (much earlier than the proliferation of MNEs) of an astute, successfully global strategy of diversification and internationalization, effectively harnessing an extensive international network of intermediaries that turned this company in one of the first European multinationals.
The Temptation to Advance Private Interests at the Expense of Public Duty: The Role of the British Consul in Facilitating FDI in the Nineteenth Century
In December 1882 Edward Briggs, a British textile manufacturer, wrote to the British consul at Warsaw, announcing his intention to build a factory in Russian Poland. This paper will explore the pivotal role played by British consular offices to facilitate British FDI in the late-nineteenth century, despite domestic condemnation of increasing capital export and general disgruntlement among British industrialists at the perceived unfair advantages to manufacturers abroad. It will show how the consul's official duties placed him in a unique position to take an unofficial consultative role, or even share, in private business ventures which contributed nothing to the British economy. He used the cachet of his connection to the British government to engender the trust of foreign traders and authorities alike to assist venture capitalists and increase his own income. But although the lucrative personal possibilities of the posting are strongly implied and despite contemporary accusations of corruption, this paper will consider whether consuls were forced to nurture close associations with commerce in order to fulfil their official mandate and to gain the assistance of informants and the respect of their home and host states.
Multinational Enterprises and the Globalization of Medicine: Siemens and the Construction of Hospitals in Emerging Markets in the 1950s and 1960s
This paper tackles the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs) marketing medical equipment in the globalization of medicine and healthcare systems during the 1950s and 1960s, using the example of the German company Siemens-Reiniger-Werke (SRW). Specializing in X-ray instruments, this firm held a large share of various world marketsespecially in emerging countriesuntil 1939, but war put an end to its leadership. At the end of the 1940s, because of the tough competition it faced in Latin America, SRW adopted a new strategy that centered on supplying fully equipped hospitals rather than exporting machines and instruments. Thus, in 1949, SRW founded an association comprising some thirty German companies (Deutsche Hospitalia) to take charge of this activity and built about one hundred hospitals in emerging countries by 1964, when a formal firm (Hospitalia International GmbH) was created for this business purpose. This paper argues that, through this activity, SRW contributed strongly to the diffusion of a standardized hospital model in developing countries and later of a Western hospital-based healthcare system.
Hip Hop Genealogies and Black Entrepreneurship in the Worlds that Marcus Garvey and Jay-Z Made
Focusing on Marcus Garvey and Jay Z (aka Shawn Carter), this paper analyzes how these men fashioned businesses through various forms of nationalism that enabled them to reimagine blackness in socially empowering and financially lucrative ways. Garvey and Jay Z both registered the bleak opportunities offered to them to become businessmen, so instead, they made themselves the business. They branded themselves as businesses that were raced and gendered, blending it with a propaganda that over the course of time manifested as the "swagger" of contemporary hip hop. This paper analyzes the nuances of how what I refer to as a "hip hop genealogy" infuses how these men imagine black entrepreneurship as a nationalist site of redemption that would literally position them at the helm of empires. A distinctive difference between the advocating by Garvey for black economic empowerment and that of his most prominent contemporaries, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, was Garvey's separatist stance and his establishment of a business conglomerate that included the masses and instilled in them a nationalist business ideology: any redemption from the past or true citizenship was linked to their ability to produce their own goods and services and own property. The self-help business model that Garvey designed and employed through the Universal Negro Improvement Association serves as a compelling lens for thinking about how black entrepreneurship could become a new space for black empire building over fifty years later through the birth of hip hop in the Bronx. There are two connections then that create a genealogical link between Garvey and Jay Z. The first is a nationalist framework that critiques racial inequalities and supports a subculture within which resistance can take place; Jay Z does this through his lyrical aptitude. The second is Jay Z's capitalist enterprises that Garvey heralded. The nationalist-oriented art coupled with the capitalist pursuits situate Jay Z as uniquely modern, because he takes an indigenously black art and culture and uses it to literally turn himself into a product that can be marketed and consumed. Like Garvey, then, Jay Z amasses a global black empire, but unlike Garvey, Jay Z is successful at rooting his empire in both ideology and commercesomething he is able to accomplish due in large part to the crossover appeal of hip hop (Garveyism was adamantly opposed to such pursuits) and due to the buying power of African Americans in the late twentieth and twenty-first century.
Money and Crisis: Rethinking the Transition to Capitalism with the Stamp Act Crisis
Most American historians agree for good or ill that the American Revolution itself was a watershed moment in the development of American capitalism, an "explosion of economic and popular energy" that wiped away not only British sovereignty but also the mercantilist structures of value and exchange that had come with it. The dynamics associated with this "explosion," however, remain inadequately understood. This essay will suggest one way that the American Revolution and the transition to capitalism it initiated could be tied together in a more satisfactory account. The debates surrounding the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765 offer an overlooked insight into the interplay among sovereignty, money, and power in the minds of the Revolutionaries and the structural forces at work around them. A new reading of these debates suggests that the Crisis itself was about making money, quite literally: The debate, in essence, is about which governing body, Parliament or the colonial assemblies, defined value in the colonies, about the sovereign relationship between money and power. Debates around the Currency Act of 1764 are well known, but historians have overlooked how the Stamp Taxes themselves threatened to disrupt colonial definitions of value in real and revolutionary ways. The latter debate suggests that when Americans seized control of their political destiny they were also struggling for the right to constitute their own regime of value and exchange, a regime, once constituted, that they would then extend across the North American continent and beyond. Freedom, these debates suggest, was about more than political self-determination; it was, to a surprising degree, about making money: about defining value in society. Likewise, the Stamp Act Crisis shows how money, "the palladium of liberty, the band of gentle dependence among freemen," could easily become about power. The conflict around the Stamp Act suggests, then, that the American transition to capitalism in the Revolution was, at least in part, about creating an American capitalism defined by Americans for their own ends, and that freedom was as much about value as it was about values.
A Cooperative Approach to Employee Relations: Office Automation, Worker Alienation, and Human Resources in the 1970s and 1980s
New management strategies in the 1970s and 1980s challenged the adversarial model of employee relations that had driven the success of traditional trade unions. As women office workers in banks and insurance companies expressed dissatisfaction with their increasingly automated jobs, managers aimed to improve clericals' quality of work life, using new and rediscovered approaches to worker productivity. These theories promised employees greater influence over daily tasks, and they encouraged greater communication between employees and employers. However, shifting management strategies also undermined clerical workers by undercutting unionism; clerical unions struggled to take hold. Thus, a cooperative approach to employee relations represented virtue and vice for clerical workers, who constituted one-third of all women in the paid labor force in these decades. In model firms, human resources (HR) would provide individuals with access to a variety of positions based on their skills and interests. Yet the evolving field of HR management, which made development of human capital central to a firm's core strategy, weakened clericals' economic claims. Workplace fairness came to mean providing employees with opportunities to find their best fit within an organization. While emerging HR standards functioned well for professionals in higher-salary and higher-status positions, they did not help clerical workers in their efforts to reappraise the economic and cultural value of clerical work itself. Movement out of sex-segregated jobs became the solution to low pay. Without strong equal employment opportunity mandates, labor-management cooperation meant that women who remained clericals had no recourse for pay inequity or dead-end jobs in the modern corporation.
In this paper we explore the underlying factors behind gender discrimination in Swedish health insurance societies during the period 1901 and 1910, a period where health insurance was voluntary and organized along mutual principles. In previous research, mutual societies have been recognized for their ability to mitigate informational asymmetries. Although efficient, many societies excluded women as a rule, and the exclusion practices of mutual societies involved a remarkably unequal access to health insurance. To trace the mechanisms of gender discrimination, we employ a panel of Swedish health insurance societies across the country. The study shows that mechanisms applied to exclude women did not provide higher efficiency in underwriting risks, although the supposedly high sickness frequency of women often was put forward by societies to justify discrimination. Additionally, efforts to mitigate moral hazard, the monitoring of members through social ties and social pressure, could also be generated successfully in gendered-mixed societies. The results show that the excluding mechanisms were rather a result of power relations between men and women and socially constructed perceptions regarding the role of women and men in society.
The Discontinuous Shift to Digital Exchanges in Sweden, 1985-1992
Based on a historical innovation process study of a Swedish entrant firm that introduced the world's first commercially successful digital option exchange and the first privately owned exchange, we study the entrepreneurial and institutional conditions for the introduction of a discontinuous innovation and business model in finance. Previous research has argued that there are prohibitive barriers for de novo entrant discontinuous innovation in finance due to extensive regulatory barriers and elite power interest in retaining status quo. We argue that a key to understanding the pioneering discontinuous technological shift was an adaptive techno-social system that was open for both technological and business model experimentation in the first phase of the era of ferment, coupled with a deliberate regulatory process that enabled the entrant to influence the policy process in the second phase. Within this process, the entrant had a key role in changing the status quo by acting as a dual technological and corporate political entrepreneur. As a proactive corporate political entrepreneur, entrants had a key role in the initial phase to gain supervisors' approval and mobilize partners for temporary experimentation with the new business models, and in the second phase to influence the regulatory policy toward change in favor of its business model.
The "Mussolini Hometown Effect" on Local Industrial Development: The Case of Forlì
This paper will trace Forlì's long-term economic development, its transformation from an agricultural to an industrial community, and the alteration of its industrial development path due to its being the birthplace of "il Duce." Forlì's aircraft industry, which could be described as having been "artificially" created at Mussolini's behest, did not survive the war, while its chemical industry, established and developed by Orsi Mangelli, managed to survive until the end of the 1960s. No trace of state-backed firms remains today except for the airport (albeit currently under compulsory liquidation), which, according to Mussolini's vision, was to form part of the Forlì aviation hub. The history of fascist intervention and rescue of banks and firms (either through nationalization or direct aid) throughout Italy in the interwar years is well known. Yet, I think the case of Forlì offers an original perspective: entrepreneurs who chose Mussolini's hometown to obtain special concessions, a novel element in the crowded panorama of special relationships between government and industry in Italy.
The Battle for the Migrants: The Introduction of Steamshipping on the North Atlantic and Its Impact on the European Exodus
The presentation will summarize two chapters of my recent book, which looks at how steamshipping transformed the transatlantic migrant transport market into big business. Based on shipping company archives, the organization of the market is discussed on three different levels based on the company's relations with: 1) the independent migrant-agent network in Europe and the United States which sold transport tickets and constituted the direct link to the migrant; 2) other shipping companies, with the rise and functioning of shipping cartels; 3) the state, and its role as middlemen between authorities and the individual migrant. I will argue that the shipping conferences originated on the North Atlantic and not on the Calcutta route. Besides mitigating cut-throat competition by concluding price agreements, sailing routes, advertising, and so forth, cartelization was spurred by the need to get control over the independent migrant agents. This gave rise to the establishment of three sub-cartels regulating the North Atlantic passenger market according to three geographic areas: the Mediterranean, Continental, and British-Scandinavian. I show how continental lines took over the dominance of the third-class passenger market from British lines by introducing pool agreements. The paper underlines that conversely to the findings on the unsuccessful preWorld War I freight shipping cartels, the North Atlantic passenger conference managed to create relative market and price stability.
Mexico and the "Multinational Dilemma" in the 1970s: Views from the Global Periphery
The paper deals with the international debate about multinational enterprises in the 1970s that was marked by a conflict line running between First World and Third World countries. More specifically, by means of the Third World country Mexico, the paper analyzes Mexican businessmen's and scholars' views on the conflictive issue, and compares them with views expressed by scholars from North America and Western Europe. One conclusion is that one should investigate the debate about multinational enterprises also considering the credibility attributed to government regulation in Western capitalism. In the 1970s, from a Mexican perspective, not only the First World countries and private business, but also the government severely lacked legitimacy. Another conclusion is that the debate has to be studied in the light of earlier debates about foreign capital, especially in Latin American countries that had been confronted with the conflicting interests of preserving political sovereignty and achieving economic development since the nineteenth century.
From Fast Fashion to Luxury in the Fashion Business: The History of the H&M Designer Collections, 2004-2013
The Swedish retail chain H&M, today present in fifty-three countries worldwide, is one of the key players in the creation of an accessible fashion for an international clientele, and is thus also one of the largest players in the global market. In 2004, when H&M, after nearly sixty years of operation, began its first design collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in Paris, this immediately attracted major interest. Lagerfeld created the first "Luxury Designer Collection" for H&M. This was followed by a dozen other designer collaborations with top names in the international fashion scene in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan. This paper examines how and why a world-renowned clothing brand, well-known for its fashion status, but also for its low price point and "Fast Fashion" reputation, decided to cooperate with top international designers of a different category and in a completely different price range. What was the goal and purpose behind these collaborations? What was the background to the decision and what was it hoped to achieve? How were the designer names who collaborated with H&M chosen? The paper also explores how connections between "High" and "Low" fashion are creating new constellations and at the same time allowing companies with very different business models to take advantage of new collaborations.
A Policy (Still) in Search of a Rationale? Accounting for British Telecom's Privatisation
In 1986, the Economic Journal published an article entitled "Privatisation, a policy in search of a rationale"; since then many have sought to identify such a rationale. However, the multidisciplinary literature that resulted has overall failed to provide a satisfactory framework accounting for the historical origins of the phenomenon. By focusing on a case study, the selling of British Telecom (BT), I argue that historical research is best equipped to conduct such an inquiry. The case study reveals that the most common explanations accounting for the emergence of privatization in Thatcher's Britainlike the ailing performances of public enterprises, for instancewere actually not as decisive as is usually thought. Rather, I demonstrate how a "crisis of capitalization," born from the unique agency of technological change and monetarist policies, was the key determinant to BT's privatization. The paper also explores the importance of ideas in the design of the British privatization program and notably highlights the influence of neoliberal and Conservative ideologies.
The Long-Term Interest Rate, John Maynard Keynes, and the Creation of U.S. Housing Policy
Most researchers who have looked at housing policy in the early New Deal have focused on the influence of real estate interest groups in urging federal support for incipient suburban development. This paper will argue, first, that New Deal housing policy emerged mainly out of a change in economic thinking among a subset of American institutionalist economists who had close contacts to the Roosevelt administration; second, that this intellectual change had an important influence on the thought of John Maynard Keynes; and third, that Keynes himself had a direct impact on developing this strand of thought and then lobbying directly for a change in U.S. housing policy. The tie between all of these economists and policymakers was a concern with how the government and central bank could control the long-term rate of interest. While ideas about long-term debts have received relatively little attention from historians of monetary thought, this paper hopes to show that attempts to manipulate them were crucial in the development of both the discipline of economics and U.S. policy.
Innovation and Research in the Steel Industry: A Collaborative Project? (1950-1990s)
From a Schumpeterian point of view, innovation comes when an invention is transformed by an entrepreneur into a new type of product or production process. This linear march toward change and progress relies on a rational and linear set of steps from a concept to its realization, implying collaboration among different categories of actors, either individual or collective. But what about when a network of corporations is in charge of designing and implementing new ideas, either for the entire network or some of its members? Are they "innovating" in a Shumpeterian sense? Do we have to rethink the classical concept of innovation and its linear approach to the process? The French steel industry after World War II represents a good example of this in-between collective organization. In April 1944, the steel industry decided to organize its research on a shared basis; at the same time, the French state was establishing a series of new research institutions like the Institut National d'hygiène (Public Health Institute). Nevertheless, the new research unit, the IRSID (Institut de la Recherche Sidérurgique) was a private initiative designed by the French steel companies. This initiative could be seen as real progress toward a better research organization in the steel industryor as a clever tactic developed by the companies to avoid a possible nationalization and increasing control by the French state. This paper will discuss how IRSID has influenced the innovation and research strategy of steel corporations and the industry from the point of view of a single company, Usinor. At the time the IRSID was created, Usinor has launched a new continuous rolling mill for the first time in France. From 1944 until 1968, Usinor used IRSID facilities for fundamental research, data processing, and for chemical, mechanical, and physical processes. In the 1970s, Usinor decided to develop its own research unit. This changed the equilibrium among IRSID partners. The IRSID history is a good example of the diffusion of engineering models and knowledge from the private sector to public administration and to some schools as well. IRSID could be seen as an opposite model to Schumpeter's innovation process. Can one conclude that innovation is stimulated by the market and practical needs?
Manuel Alejandro Bautista González
Making Monies in the Global South: Foreign and Domestic Currency Circuits in Antebellum New Orleans
Before the Civil War, New Orleans was the central entrepôt of the Cotton Kingdom, uniting and reuniting the interests of wealthy Yankee and English merchants with Southern planters and slave traders. However, a rendering of this Atlantic network is incomplete without considering that New Orleans was also the main antebellum U.S. port of trade with Latin America, especially Mexico. Latin American traders bought American and British goods and paid with them in silver dollars, even more so after the Mexican-American War, when considerable amounts of foreign metallic currency were injected into New Orleans and its hinterland. This paper is a first approach to explore the importance and linkages of foreign traders in this prime entrepôt of the antebellum era. The paper will be guided by Akinobu Kuroda's theoretical framework to explain the diversity of means of payment as an optimal solution for the demand of monies by different monetary circuitsthat is, economic actors who required monies in different localities and temporalities due to a) their geographic dispersion, b) the temporality of their money usage, c) the seasonality of their activities, d) the varying degree of state intervention in the money, and e) the preferred denomination to conduct transactions within their short- or long-distance trade. This paper adopts the Kurodian concept of currency circuits to illuminate the functioning of a multilayered market demanding several differentiated monies. Particular attention will be paid to the behavior of the Mexican silver dollar and its exchange rates vis-à-vis notes from New Orleans and Northern banks. The paper will also assess the impact of the influx of foreign metallic currency into the region, with consideration of the actors benefiting from its intermediation and final usage.
German Scientific Connections in Early U.S. Materials R&D
American scientists trained in Germany shaped the emerging institution of U.S. industrial R&D from 1900 to World War II. Inside early corporate laboratories the way R&D was conducted reflected the critical role of German science, especially physical chemistry, in the electro-chemical revolution. U.S. scientists educated in Germany were essential to mounting an industrial research effort before World War I. They formed networks that transcended institutional boundaries. During the war some produced substitutes for unobtainable German products. After the war, in new materials such as specialty glasses and strengthened aluminum, the German connection became even more valuable to U.S. industry. Following the lead of the "Pioneering Laboratories," American companies snatched up German-trained scientists in a race to establish corporate laboratories. Though emphasis has been placed on their scientific approach, in all materials-related research it was the ability to transcend the boundary between science and practice that made these men successful. Their familiarity with German industry and their shared philosophy of how to run productive research programs influenced the problems they chose to pursue, and provided channels for knowledge and know-how to spread among U.S. corporate laboratories, even across related industries.
Bankers, Entrepreneurs and Bolivian Tin in the International Economy, 1900-1932
After the silver expansion, Bolivia was involved again in the global economy with the discovery of tin in the early twentieth century. Beyond the tin exploitation, the determining factor was the involvement of the entrepreneurs with the support of the international banks in the construction of a global tin network. This network was a breakthrough for entrepreneurs and also in the construction of a global governance structure of the tin industry. This paper examines the Bolivian tin industry and the establishment of a global network, which became one of the most prosperous businesses in the first third of the twentieth century.
IBM as the Very Model of a Modern Major Corporation
From its foundation in 1911 (as CTR) through the late 1970s IBM has made vigorous efforts to define itself as a virtuous company. In the 1920s and 1930s it was a leading proponent of welfare capitalism and world trade, building its corporate culture around a personality cult and a song book. It built a strong relationship with the federal government from the New Deal onward, growing during the Second World War. In the 1950s it remade itself around electronics and government contracts in the early Cold War, building American strength in high technology. It embraced sleek design, enlightened management, and modern architecture. From the late 1960s it committed to boosting the position of women and minorities. IBM provides a window onto changing constructions of corporate vice and virtue. As time went by, some virtues, such as its 1930s focus on employee rallies with company flags and songs, no longer seemed quite so wholesomely American. More fundamentally, I argue that IBM's cultural prominence and political influence gave it an outsized role in shaping accepted notions of corporate virtue, and so in reshaping the aspirations of managers and workers in other firms.
"An Instrument of Moral Persuasion"? Multinational Enterprises and International Codes of Conduct in the 1970s
By the late 1960s, a seemingly new phenomenon called the multinational enterprise (MNE) grasped the attention and imagination first of economists and technocrats and later of politicians, diplomats, journalists, and activists. Although agreed facts on MNEs as well as basic statistics had yet to be generated, it was obvious to many observers that the rise of the postwar MNEs in the United States and Western Europe marked a new era in international business. Given the initial paucity of agreed MNE concepts, the nature and effects on society of MNEs were contested and at best seen as ambiguous. On the one hand, they were considered the harbingers of wealth and development, as champions of the efficient management of capital, innovations, and people. On the other, they were deemed a threat to organized labor and even to sovereign governments, particularly in the developing world. This ambiguity, what I call the "multinational dilemma," was at the center of a political debate about MNEs in the early and mid-1970s. Given their global reach, a large portion of the MNE debate took place in international organizations, where governments reacted to the MNE dilemma by arguing over rules for multinationals. In the course of this political and ideological confrontation, the first norms of behavior for business or so-called codes of conduct were adopted by governments, and thereby the idea of "corporate responsibility" (CR) was institutionalized, at least on the international level. In this paper, I trace the global origin of CR in three steps. I first explain the "MNE dilemma" through two central UN reports on the nature and role of MNEs. The reaction to these reports took the form of international codes of conduct. I analyze the development and conceptual substance of the two most eminent and antagonistic codes, drafted at the United Nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and at the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Finally, I conclude with a few observations on the legacy of the codes and link my historical insights with today's debate on global norms for business.
The Commercialization of Charity: Progressive Era Debates about Philanthropic Foundations
In the midst of Progressive Era market reforms that reshaped the way for-profit corporations, like Standard Oil, utilized trusts and combinations, corporate leaders attempted to use and describe the market as a powerful resource for social reform. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and Andrew Carnegie, for example, used corporate profits to fuel philanthropic foundations with state and federal charters. They applied some of the most controversial organizational technologies used in their for-profit corporations to create charitable foundations. However, just as monopolies and trusts among for-profit corporations inspired policy debates, these nonprofit corporations, which proposed to use the corporate form for social good, inspired intense popular and regulatory responses. In this paper, I examine the relationship between social regimes of reform and the corporate form in the Progressive Era in order to consider what these historically contingent debates about welfare practices and policies might tell us about the formation of modern American philanthropic foundations and their influence on the greater nonprofit sector. In the midst of contemporary debates about neoliberalism, markets, and social policy today, I wish to suggest that one might find a longer history of social enterprise outside contemporary narratives of neoliberal corporatization and marketization in the nonprofit sector.
William J. Hausman
Howard Hopson's Billion-Dollar Fraud: The Rise and Fall of Associated Gas & Electric, 1921-1940
In the summer of 1940 Howard Colwell Hopson, already in a feeble state of mind, was indicted on federal mail fraud and conspiracy charges. He was accused of defrauding investors in the (by then bankrupt) utility holding company he had engineered to prominence in the late 1920s, the Associated Gas & Electric Company (AG&E). Specifically, he was accused of receiving $20 million in unlawful profits (roughly $1.3 billion in 2012 dollars, hence the title of the paper). He was convicted on December 31, 1940, and sentenced to five years in prison. He gradually went completely mad and died in a sanitarium in 1949. Examining how Hopson got into this predicament, and exploring the implications (particularly regarding holding company legislation passed in the 1930s), is the purpose of this paper.
"For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?" The General Post Office and the Birth of a British Brand Icon, 1930-1939
This paper examines the development of an iconic corporate brand by the General Post Office (GPO) in Britain in the 1930s. It does this by adapting the work of Douglas Holt (2004) who has developed much of the work on iconic branding. It argues that the GPO was able to construct an iconic brand by responding to anxieties in British society generated by social tension and global and imperial decline. It did this by the establishment of a public relations department, which created and broadcasted stories or 'myths' of national identity and imperial unity through communication and of national strength through technology. These myths assuaged social anxieties and enabled the GPO to construct an iconic corporate brand, which reinforced the organization by improving its organizational image, strengthening its relationship with stakeholders, and improving its position in the marketplace. Furthermore, the paper argues that these myths were created not by advertising, but by an original and pioneering use of public relations. It provides an important insight into iconic branding, which examines corporate branding rather than product branding, where research has predominantly focused.
Saving without Banks? Rural Creditors on Both Sides of the Gulf of Bothnia, 1796-1830
In the early nineteenth century the whole concept of saving was understood differently on both sides of the Gulf of Bothnia. Rural communities in these areas got their first official banking institutions in the late nineteenth century. Those freeholder peasants with surplus funds had few ways to conserve their capital: by storing in chests, by investing, or by lending. The latter option required trust between partners and formal means of lending made the creditors really see their savings as more secure. In the early nineteenth century, credit markets were more informal than formal, part of everyday life and intertwined relationships. Formal lending can be seen as one of the first signs of official banking institutions, but there were more. Parishes, granaries, and so-called "parish bankers" made the credit markets more formal, thereby creating the prerequisites for the official banks of the future.
Justene G. Hill
Slave Economies and the Paternalist Ideal in Antebellum South Carolina
Over the past several decades, historians of slavery in the antebellum United States have challenged and reframed the scholarly conversation about slaveholders' visions of themselves as benevolent masters. This is a controversial ideology known as planter paternalism. In a related, but separate, literature, historians have illuminated enslaved African Americans participation in local market economies. This paper unites these scholarly discourses by posing two questions. Assuming that southern planters lived by paternalism as a philosophy, how did they apply this philosophy in their daily interactions with enslaved people? Specifically, how did slaveholders' practical application of paternalism influence enslaved peoples' participation in networks of trade and commerce? This paper offers a new perspective on the paternalism debate. First, it considers slaveholders' practical application of the paternalist ideal. Second, it examines the ways in which paternalism influenced the slaves economy in antebellum South Carolina. Using plantation account books and ledgers, in this paper I interrogate trade arrangements between slaveholders and slaves. I argue that slaves' interest in trade and slaveholders' ideals of mastery supported the growth of internal plantation economies in South Carolina between the 1830s and the late 1850s.
Microfinance: A Transatlantic Progressive Reform
Before the late nineteenth century, many anti-poverty reformers blamed working-class poverty on personal character flaws like intemperance and improvidence. With the discovery of structural unemployment as an economic concept in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Progressive reformers abandoned the shrill moralizing that characterized earlier efforts to alleviate poverty. Instead, during the Progressive Era, American reformers sought ways to build working-class wealth. They regarded thrift as a major component of this search for economic security among wage earners. However, few financial institutions catered to small savers and borrowers. Savings banks, formed in the 1820s, served mainly the northeastern United States and had little presence in other regions like the South. Savings banks, moreover, did not make personal loans. As a result, two institutions arose during the Progressive Era to reach the unbankedthe postal savings system and credit unions. This paper uses the records of the Post Office Department, Russell Sage Foundation, National Civic Federation, and the Credit Union National Association to examine the history of these microfinance institutions from an international perspective. Both institutions were European in origin and were elements of a broad transatlantic Progressive movement. In the American context, however, the postal savings system was largely a failure, while credit unions succeeded. This difference indicates an aversion to state action in preference to private efforts, a preference that explains a great deal about the history of anti-poverty efforts in the United States.
Md Khalid Hossain
From GCC's Scepticism to WBCSD's Advocacy: The History of Corporate Response to Climate Change
Corporations formed the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) in the late 1980s to counter their liabilities behind climate catastrophe. GCC intensively funded climate skeptics in its attempt to oppose the call for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, subsequent success of environment-friendly but profit-oriented business models have resulted in the emergence of the concept of "new environmentalism" in the business activities of corporations. While climate change impacts are becoming increasingly prominent, a transformation toward environmental pragmatism providing importance to sustainability, profitability, and environmental responsibility has also been viewed within corporations. Because of this transformation, although the GCC was deactivated in 2002 after losing its large corporate members, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), formed in 1995, has been increasingly attracting as members large corporations committed to sustainable development. In this paper, the historical shift from GCC's scepticism to WBCSD's advocacy regarding corporate response to climate change is presented through the example of a multinational corporation, British Petroleum (BP), while arguing that this historical shift is somewhat attributable to transaction cost analysis applied by the corporations.
Banging the Tin Drum: The United States and the Quest for Strategic Self-Sufficiency in Tin, 1840-1945
Ever since the arrival of the Mayflower North America has been considered a continent blessed by Divine Providence with all kinds of natural resources. Yet tin was found only in meagre quantities, even as the United States grew into the world's largest consumer of tin for civilian and military purposes. This paper discusses the various American strategies for coping with its import dependence and for diminishing the British control over the international tin industry. The methods ranged from support for domestic exploration, the use of tariff barriers to protect the infant industry, subsidies for mining and smelting, to the wooing of foreign ore suppliers from the British fold. Yet not even the U.S. Congress could decree the existence of natural resources in the bedrock, and it took the global conflagration of the Second World War to break the British stranglehold on tin smelting.
Sponsored Film and Subtle Salesmanship: John Sutherland Productions' Cartoon Films for Economic Education
In the quarter century following the end of World War II, thousands of educational, promotional, and persuasive short films were made with funding from large American corporations and allied industrial trade groups. These films live on in pop culture as stock footage and as fodder for humorous commentaries, but are often ultimately dismissed as curiosities of Cold War propaganda. Recent scholarship reflects burgeoning interest in non-theatrical films from the midcentury period, but sponsored economic education films have yet to receive scholarly attention. This essay recounts the case of John Sutherland Productions' economic education cartoons: a collection of films viewed by millions of midcentury Americans in cinemas, in classrooms, in workplaces, and on television. Discarding the frame of propaganda in favor of questions about the rationale for and response to the films, this essay argues that a managerial narrative of promotional subtlety, conventional cultural wisdom about the persuasive power of film, and structural conditions of midcentury media distribution all informed the industrial sponsorship and professional production of American economic education cartoons in the 1940s and 1950s.
Conflicting Interests? Danish Manufacturing in China Today and the Challenge to Be Both Competitive and True to Company Tradition
Danish manufacturing companies have, like their Western competitors, invested heavily in China during the recent wave of globalization in order to establish Chinese production-oriented subsidiaries. Based on Joanne Martin's "three perspectives" theory on organizational culture, and through interviews with executive and middle-level managers at Grundfos and Maersk Container Industry at their Danish headquarters and their affiliates in China, this paper explores how Danish companies today navigate in the tension between a proud Danish heritage and an increasing need to compete head-on with fast-growing Chinese competitors.
Subversion or Cooperation? The Exchange of Proprietary and Patentable Knowledge among Corporate Engineers
Historian of science Derek DeSolla Price once wrote that one dimension of the distinction between science and technology was that while scientists produced texts, engineers did not. One reason Price saw for this difference was the fact that so many engineers in the twentieth century either worked for corporations or gained competitive advantage from their knowledge, which produced a disincentive for sharing knowledge in a verbal formthat is, knowledge was viewed as proprietary. Contra Price, engineers do write and in some cases they write prolifically in multiple media: patents, articles in the engineering press, and technoscientific articles. In this talk I will discuss the way that engineers use patents as both a mode of communication with their communities and as a means to allow open discussion of technological ideas and devices. Drawing from the development of automobile exhaust and emissions control devices in the 1970s, this paper looks at patent exchange and use among automotive engineers in the United States and West Germany. Because the case study is transnational, it also provides a window on international business practices in a highly globalized commodity.
David K. Johnson
DSI: The 1960s Gay Consumer Culture Revolution
Founded in 1963 in Minneapolis, Directory Services, Inc. (DSI) had a simple business model: market directories of physique photography studios, book services, and bars to gay men throughout the country to help them navigate an increasingly dense web of gay commercial enterprises. Soon DSI owners Conrad Germain and Lloyd Spinar expanded their mail order business to market a host of items, including physique magazines, books, toiletries, and clothing. By 1967 they employed fourteen full-time employees, making them arguably the largest gay-owned and gay-oriented enterprise in the world. DSI represented a major shift away from small, independent outfits such as Bob Mizer's Athletic Model Guild toward corporate conglomerates that controlled numerous gay businesses and had the income to fight and win legal cases against the forces of censorship. In 1967 DSI won a crucial, but virtually forgotten, legal victory against the U.S. Post Office that allowed male full frontal nudity in American magazines, ushering in an era of open homoeroticism. Looking at the history of DSI and its relationship to its customers, federal censorship authorities, and homophile organizations, this paper explores the important, overlooked role that such gay enterprises played in the history of gay community formation and resistance.
White Privilege or Transactions Costs? Early Colonial Attempts to Regulate the Lake Victoria Rice Trade
This paper examines the ambitious commercial schemes and lobbying efforts of Carl Jungblut, a settler in the Mwanza district of German East Africa from 1906 until 1916. It aims to analyze Jungblut's career as an introduction to turn-of-the-century colonial business politics, and as a case study of the economic motives behind the heightened nationalist rhetoric and more virulent racist political agendas of struggling European planters or would-be businessmen. The sources for this paper offer seemingly contradictory testimony. At the end of his career Jungblut produced a memoir, VerzigJahreAfrika, 1902-1940 (1941), in which he championed his pioneering investments in steam transport, improved rice seed, and industrial milling. The records of Jungblut's distribution agent, the Mwanza branch of William O'Swald & Co., however, undercut his claims, and instead indicate that his transport and milling enterprises were rarely profitable. In fact, Jungblut was heavily indebted to German investors, utterly dependent on metropolitan shippers, and repeatedly resisted by local African and Asian rice traders. Therefore, Jungblut lobbied the colonial administration for protections and concessions, extolling the virtues of his own "patriotic" enterprise while railing against the "uneconomic" practices of his Asian rivals.
Becoming Evil: The Seveso Chemical Incident and Hoffmann-La Roche, 1976-1996
At 12.40 p.m. on July 10, 1976, there was a disturbance at the Icmesa chemical plant located in the Seveso area, a little town near Milan, Italy. Dioxin was emitted into the environment. Seveso was not the first environmental disaster in central Europe, but it was the first one gaining huge public attention. In the eyes of the environmental movement of the mid-1970s, it furnished evidence that the chemical industry as a whole was extremely dangerous. From now on, this critical sentiment determined public attitudes. Therefore, the Seveso incident marks a turning point in European industrial history. This is especially true for Hoffmann-La Roche, the parent company of Icmesa, which was afflicted by a whole slew of crises until the mid-1990s. Before Seveso, the pubic perceived Roche as a shy and untouchable corporation. Now, Roche became the most evil company of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry. The company had to learn to communicate andmore importantto deal with business crisis. Using neo-institutional organization theory, the paper analyzes how the change in public perception and therefore the changing social expectations influenced Roche. In a second step, it will ask why this event became such a disaster for Roche and the entire industry as well, although the company undertook all (financial) efforts to parry negative effects for health and the environment. Research is based on a first exclusive access to the so-called Seveso inventory of the Roche Historical Collection and Archives. The documents, which are currently registered by the author and the archive, allow for new insights into one of the most complex events of contemporary business history.
B. Zorina Khan
Related Investing: Corporate Ownership and the Dynamics of Capital Mobilization during Early Industrialization
Scholars engage in extensive debate about the role of families and corporations in economic growth. Some propose that personal ties provide a mechanism for overcoming such transactions costs as asymmetrical information, while others regard familial connections as inefficient with the potential for corruption and exploitation of minority shareholders. This empirical study is based on a unique panel data set comprising all the shareholders in manufacturing corporations in Maine during the period of market expansion. Related investing was widespread among both elite and small shareholders, and seems to have been pervasive throughout the firm and the corporate economy during the critical period of early industrialization. Such ties were especially evident among ordinary investors in emerging industries and in the newer, more risky investments. "Outsiders" were able to overcome a lack of experience and information by taking advantage of their own networks. The link between related investing and the concentration of ownership in the corporations suggests that this phenomenon was likely associated with a reduction in perceptions of risk, especially beneficial for capital mobilization in manufacturing and transportation. These patterns are consistent with a more productive interpretation of related investing and its function in newly developing societies.
The Changing Nature of Corporate Philanthropy in Response to Growth and Conflict: A Case Study of Alcon Laboratories
The decade after World War II ushered in immense praise and public support for the pharmaceutical industry because of innovations in antibiotics and corticosteroids. In the late 1950s, however, firms faced accusations of price fixing and misleading marketing practices, which were compounded by discontent over the high cost of prescription medications. Further, concern over the tragic prescription of Thalidomide to pregnant women, which led to birth defects in the form of shortened or malformed limbs, shifted public support to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulating the industry. This environment prompted pharmaceutical companies to change their approach to public relations. This case study follows the philanthropic work of Alcon Laboratories, Inc., in response to this regulatory environment and criticisms of the pharmaceutical industry. Alcon began as a specialty pharmaceutical manufacturing firm, specifically serving the needs of ophthalmologists through both over-the-counter and prescription treatments. I argue that changes in Alcon's philanthropy represent larger changes within the pharmaceutical industry. These changes reveal the mounting political economy of pharmaceuticals in the second half of the twentieth century.
Business and Regional Economic Decline: The Political Economy of Deindustrial-
ization in Twentieth-Century New England
The paper summarizes the content of the presenter's recently published book, Confronting Decline: The Political Economy of Deindustrialization in Twentieth-Century New England (2013). The volume examines the responses of business organizations and other groups to the dramatic downsizing in textiles and other industries that began in the New England region during the 1920s and continued for much of the twentieth century. Three responses to industrial decline in New England were pursued. Manufacturers in the declining sectors lobbied for cutbacks in social legislation and taxes, arguing that such steps were necessary to restore the competitiveness of regional industry. Labor unions and their liberal political allies pressed for large-scale federal government assistance to downsizing industries and areas. Service-sector companies that were tied to New England and had a vested interest in renewed prosperity endeavored to develop new regional industries to replace those in decline. The study describes the outcome of each of these initiatives and considers the implications of New England events for broader questions of economic development and political economy.
The Scarcest Resource: Strategic Competition among Foreign and Multinational Companies for Managerial Talent in China, 1890s to 1930s
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the majority of foreign businesses active in China consisted of European, North American, and Japanese trade and manufacturing firms trying to gain access to an economy on the eve of industrialization. This paper analyzes the human resource strategies of companies such as BAT, Siemens, and MAN in their attempt to deal with changing industry structures, economic frameworks, and political scenarios dominating prewar China and the global economy. I argue that the early period of foreign business development in China elucidates the challenges of cross-national and cross-cultural knowledge transfer and professional managerial communication within the firms and outside with business partners and consumers. However, even more important, the intense competition for managerial talent able to operate successfully in a structurally and spatially complex Chinese business environment reflected the political and economic competition between foreign powers backing private foreign and certain domestic companies in their negotiations with the Chinese government.
The paper studies the close links and interaction among consumer cooperatives, ideologies, and politics in Finnish society. The aim is to examine how business developments intertwined with the ideological and political main currents of the twentieth century, capitalism and socialism. The closeness of Russia, from which Finland declared independence in 1917, accentuated the ideological struggles. The Finnish cooperation rose at the beginning of the twentieth century as a third path between capitalism and socialism. However, strong ideological disagreements quickly reached a critical point. The civil war of 1918 broke connecting ties, and the cooperative movement split into two separate political lines. After the war in 1919 the bourgeois residents of Helsinki established their own consumer co-op, HOK, to compete with workers' Elanto, founded in 1905. The competition between the two political constitutions and consumer co-ops continued through the Age of Extremes and the Cold War. In the 1960s consumer cooperation was faced with troubled times, which lasted almost unbroken for forty years. Ultimately, the severe recession of the 1990s wrecked most of the "red capital" of the labor movement and forced the competing groups back together. The merger of HOK-Elanto occurred in 2004.
Sewing for Hitler? The Clothing Business during the Third Reich
The history of the consumer industries during the "Third Reich" was for a long time a neglected topic in business history. However, there seems to be a growing insight into that the sole focus on big business merely conveys an incomplete image of the German economy during the Third Reich. The presentation gives a short overview on the development of the clothing industry, which was an economically important branch but of little importance for the German war effort. During World War II, the industry suffered from a growing lack of raw materials and workers. On the basis of three case studies, the presentation deals with the questions of how the economic policy of the Nazi regime affected the clothing industry, which possibilities existed for entrepreneurs to escape the latter's decline, and how the freedom of action of entrepreneurs was affected by the Nazis' economic policy. The argument is that the latter forced companies into a thorough specialization; firms relied on orders from the state, the party, or the military, to survive. While this greatly restricted the entrepreneurial freedom of action, it led, on the other hand, to a massive rationalization that contributed to the industry's initial postwar success.
Building the Modern Nation? Tata's Philanthropy and Development in India
In this paper, I discuss critically the dominant and underlying conception of modernity and nation-building that informs modern business philanthropy in postcolonial India. In so doing, I discuss the philanthropy of the Tata group, which is one of the leading Indian corporate groups with wide-ranging business interests, and which was responsible for the institution of some of the leading research and teaching institutions of science and technology, social science, and performing artsm as well as, more recently, extensive funding to address the problem of poverty and under-development. For more than a century, their philanthropy has largely been animated by the desire to contribute toward the development of India into a "modern nation." However, I argue that the underlying imagination of a nation, and also what it means to be or become modern, have not remained constant or stable, unlike what the received accounts suggest. It is this shifting conception of what a modern Indian nation might be that the paper, as well as my on-going research, is invested in.
Pamela Walker Laird
Where the Legislative Model Failed: Civil Rights Enforcement and the Glass Ceiling
For decades following the 1964 United States Civil Rights Act, activists sought to eliminate workplace discrimination by advocating for additional legislation and enforcement. Initial successes reinforced expectations that law-based actions could best serve discrimination's victims. However, integration's early successes obscured corporations' complex social and organizational dynamics and overestimated what legal approaches could achieve. Law-based reforms that had brought millions into entry-level and middle management jobs failed to move them farther up corporate ladders. The term "glass ceiling" entered the language in 1984 and expressed rising frustrations among African Americans and white women whose career paths stopped before their ambitions did. The federal Glass Ceiling Commission (1991-1996) and the U.S. Senate's 1991 "Glass Ceiling Hearings" revealed deep divisions and uncertainties about how to advance equal opportunity employment at that stage of civil rights history. Witnesses in both venues cited countless cases of "blatant discrimination" but rarely distinguished between reform strategies that worked below the glass ceiling and those that could move people through and beyond it. Resulting legislation yielded nothing enforceable to conquer the glass ceiling. Instead, non-litigious strategies based on different narratives have challenged the glass ceiling by broadening and changing business and national cultures.
The Advertising Industry and the State: The Case of Sweden
In the 1960s the Swedish government though its various agencies became an important customer to the advertising industry. The development was a result not only of the expansion of the public sector but also of a new attitude toward advertising. Advertising now emerged as an important tool for public information. During the 1960s and in following decades a number of large and well publicized public advertising campaigns were run. The campaigns covered topics such as traffic safety, the need for energy savings (after the 1973 oil crisis), and HIV/AIDS. The emergence of the government as a customer also changed the advertising industry. Advertising companies that saw this opportunity and understood how to get government contracts could reap significant profits. The business logic in this segment was however not the same as for commercial advertising, and the companies that succeeded in the government advertising segment were not necessarily the most successful elsewhere. In this paper the history of the Swedish government as a buyer of advertising services is explored. Also covered are the methods used by advertising companies to position themselves as eligible for government contracts and the role of political connections for getting contracts.
Kristoffer Lund Langlie
Pushing the Boundaries of Integrity? Det Norske Veritas and South Korean Shipbuilding, 1976-1986
For classification societies, the concept of integrity is of paramount importance. Such societies establish and maintain technical standards for ships and mobile offshore units, and are central to the regulative scheme within the maritime industries. To keep being central, they need to maintain a reputation for being honest, technologically capable, and an independent and impartial third-party actor. This paper will look at how this concept of integrity was challenged for the Norwegian classification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV) during the 1980s, seen through the context of the South Korean shipbuilding industry. The society gradually began doing work as a technological consultant to inexperienced Korean shipyards, thus stepping out of its traditional role as a neutral third-party actor. This proved successful as a way for DNV to enter the rapidly growing Korean market. However, it also led to a loss of trust from DNV's established client-base. Ultimately, DNV's perceived loss of integrity meant that the classification society had to readdress its role as a consultant.
The Changing Role of International Fashion Fairs: The Case of Pitti Immagine in Florence
The fashion industry has grown considerably into one of the world's most important creative industries. The growth and success of fashion firms largely depend on the dynamic network of old and new intermediaries that aim at putting the designers' activities within a business context, acting as connection between the local and the global. However, the role of intermediaries in the fashion industry, and in general in the cultural industries, is largely understudied. The paper will try to address this gap by focusing on one specific intermediary: the international fashion fair. It will give a glimpse on the changing role of this intermediary in the fashion industry through the lens of the fashion designers. The relations between designers and fairs will be analyzed via the historical evolution of Pitti Immagine in Florence and interviews with fashion designers in Italy and the Netherlands. We argue that there is a complex intertwinement of roles among intermediaries, designers, and consumers, reflecting the complexity, fragmentation, and segmentation of the fashion industry. The changes in the fashion system have strongly affected the role of the fashion fairs.
Public Relations, National Development, and Foreign Policy: Italian State-Owned Enterprises in the 1950s
The vast majority of Italian large-sized enterprises did not establish a public relations department until after World War II. The first adoption of well thought out public relations campaigns was related to the Italian "economic miracle" at the end of the 1950s. But there is another important reason that can explain the timing. Before World War II, the number of giant enterprises in Italy was very small, and the majority of them had strict relationships both with the fascist regime and with major national newspapers. With the advent of a democratic regime after the war, major economic actors needed to search for consensus. This institutional change influenced the behavior of both private and public enterprises, but the public sector reacted more quickly. During postwar reconstruction, state-owned enterprises found themselves in the middle of a fierce debate about their role in the market and, more generally, their own existence. The paper, focusing in particular on Eni, the main Italian oil public holding company, shows that the imitation and adaptation of the American model of public relations was, in fact, a consequence of the U.S. productivity campaign developed along with the European Recovery Program. But it was also a result of the new needs of Italian large-sized industrial groups.
Innovative Enterprise and Shareholder Value
This paper invokes the theory of innovative enterprise to analyze the relation between value creation and value extraction in the evolution of the U.S. economy. Beginning with a managerial, as distinct from a financial, explanation for the separation of ownership and control in the U.S. corporation a century ago, I focus on why and how a "retain-and-reinvest" corporate resource location regime has been a necessary condition for innovative enterprise in the U.S. economy. On that basis, I demonstrate that the ideology that the economy will achieve superior performance if business enterprises "maximize shareholder value" (MSV) is a theory of value extraction that promotes a "downsize-and-distribute" allocation regime that results in employment instability and income inequity. Like the neoclassical theory of the market economy in which it is rooted, MSV lacks a theory of innovative enterprise, and hence cannot explain how, through the investment strategies and organizational structures of its major business enterprises, a national economy might achieve stable and equitable economic growth.
The Evolution of Cotton Textile Industry and Elite Family Business in Early Twentieth Century North Carolina
In the cotton textile industry of early twentieth century North Carolina, family businesses played an important role in the state's rise to the largest producer state. They were unique in that they expanded their production capacity by opening new mills continuously. This was a good strategy because newer mills could use newer and better technology. Moreover, economies of scale were not an important factor in the cotton textile industry. They promptly adopted new technology, electrifying cotton mills, and actively managed sales channels because demand was one of the most important factors for performance in this industry. Doing so, they maintained competitiveness. They were more productive than other single-unit mills and as productive as new generation mills until 1926.
Chinese Debates on Industrial Policy and the Influence of Japan, 1900-1940
This paper examines debates concerning Chinese industrial policy in the first four decades of the twentieth century. Although industrial policy is largely associated with state-led economic strategies in postwar Japan and the Tiger Economies, recent historical works have identified the importance to late nineteenth century Japan's success as an exporting power to Asia of a set of rural and bottom-up government institutions aimed at providing overseas market and technological information to traditional industries. As a result of China's defeat by Japan in 1894-95, Chinese policymakers and local elites paid acute attention to developments in Japan, and attempted to implement the program in Zhili province in North China. Despite the "Japanese" origins of these policies, their lack of explicit ideological or political character and the relevance of the program to labor-intensive activities meant that they continued to inform Chinese thinking in the interwar period, even in the absence of a strong Chinese state and the deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations after the mid-1910s.
Where Imperialism Could Not Reach: Chinese Industrial Policy and Japan, 1900-1940 [Krooss Session]
Where Imperialism Could Not Reach explores the impact of the Japanese model of industrialization on China. In the aftermath of China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), Chinese visitors to Japan learned a Japanese-style industrial policy that focused on the government's use of exhibitions and schools to disseminate technological information and stimulate rural innovation. Under the leadership of the regional viceroy Yuan Shikai, the Chinese set up a pilot agency in the treaty port of Tianjin and attempted to implement the system in Zhili province in North China. In focusing on the treaty ports and the impact of Europe and the United States, most historians have not emphasized the policies and practices of rural-based labor-intensive industrialization that underlined the vital intra-Asian dimensions of China's economic development. Despite the deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations in the aftermath of the Twenty-One Demands of 1915, commercial competition with Japan ensured that the policies of the Zhili Industrial Crafts Bureau continued to inform Chinese industrialization strategies. Throughout this intensely turbulent period, Chinese thinkers remained deeply committed to the idea of the Chinese state, as well as to a strategy that emphasized bringing industries to rural areas and preserving the customs and morals of the Chinese.
The U.S. pharmaceuticals industry dominated global output and new drug creation from the 1940s to the 1970s. The development of the industry's research capabilities that led to such success has previously been explained as the outcome of deliberate investments by the leading U.S. firms in in-house research. This paper challenges this interpretation of the emergence of the U.S. pharmaceuticals industry by highlighting first how German firms' research efforts continued to lead in global pharmaceuticals innovation through to 1940; U.S. pharmaceuticals R&D remained relatively underdeveloped. The undisputed research leader in the U.S. industry by 1940 was Merck & Co. The paper then analyzes this critical case study, showing how Merck & Co. actually acquired its research capabilities only in the late 1930s. The paper shows that much of this was actually as a result of a transfer of knowhow and technology from its former parent, E. Merck of Darmstadt, rather than from its own internal investments. Given Merck & Co.'s prominence as the sector's research leader, the paper concludes that the U.S. pharmaceuticals industry's research capabilities were developed significantly later than is reflected in the current literature, and that these new capabilities were in fact far more dependent on a transfer of technology from one of the leading German producers to its former U.S. subsidiary.
1973 and the Roots of Deregulation
Deregulation was one of the most important economic developments of the late twentieth century. In country after country, industries that had long been subject to government control of pricing, entry, and service quality were thrown open to market forces. The deregulatory wave began in the United States, but it quickly spread internationally. The question I explore in this paper is why the deregulatory moment arrived when it did. The answer, I suggest, has to do with a precipitating factor that has received little attention in the deregulation literature: the first OPEC oil crisis of 1973. When the crisis struck, regulation kept oil and natural gas markets in the United States from adjusting to the new conditions. In a matter of months, public anger at higher gasoline prices and cut-offs of natural gas shipments turned deregulation from an intellectual crusade into a front-burner political issue. Ironically, because of idiosyncracies that made the oil and gas industries difficult to deregulate, deregulation ended up affecting other sectors of the economy long before it affected the energy sector.
The days of the United States, Germany, or even Japan acting as leading manufacturers of solar PV technology are seemingly long gone. The last decade has become a story of the rise of China as the new center of solar PV manufacture. We explore the conditions that have enabled China's rapid expansion into solar PV manufacture and assess its impact on global competition. Key factors have included: export-led growth, particularly to Europe; process innovation focused on crystalline-silicon rather than more advanced solar technologies; development of upstream production capabilities to facilitate vertical structures; the success of company founders and Chinese cities in appropriating massive financial returns for themselves; and substantial quantities of public finance acting as patient capital for firms during their early-stage growth and later when embattled by changing global market conditions. In addition Chinese firms, like their foreign competitors, benefit from deployed policy frameworks. They also benefit from the financial commitments of countries making investments in clean technology as a matter of environmental and economic imperative. Financial commitments take the form of R&D, manufacturing, and diffusion subsidies used to catalyze national markets that are all ultimately part of a global landscapethat is, their benefits are not exclusive to a nation's indigenous firms or captured by them alone. Questions remain as to whether China can transition from a role as a leading producer to a major innovator of Solar PV technology.
Head-on Harmful CooperationWhy Firms Cooperate When It's Bad for Them: The Case of Swedish Property Insurance, 1855-1949
This paper explores the Swedish non–life insurance sector's ownership and boardroom ties in order to explain the increase in within-sector collaboration that also is correlated with worsened performance by the individual insurance companies. Insuring the assets of large family-owned export businesses that led the Swedish industrialization in the late nineteenth century, the insurance companies were also directly part of the ownership and control structures that made up the Swedish business groups. Some stock companies had owner ties to powerful industrial families, while some mutual insurers were created to cover more homogenous needs of industrial sub-groups. At the turn of the century national insurance companies, regardless of organizational form, cooperated increasingly, and the first half of the twentieth century is characterized by a growing web of both external and within-sector boardroom ties. In this investigation, links to external industrial groups, or economic performance prior to entry into cooperation, do not provide clear proof as to whether bad performance by collaborating insurance companies was an expression of insurance having become integrated into the profit planning of industrial groups, or if collaboration was indeed a last resort for struggling insurers. The character of within-sector and external interlocking directories of the Swedish insurers does, however, show the extent to which multiple directorships occurred within the industry, and that mutual and stock companies were similarly connected to each other, whereas stock companies had more external ties.
Can Democratising the Firm Strengthen Democracy? How History Can Help the Anglosphere Better Understand What Has Happened on the Other Side of the Participation Rubicon in Germany and Why It Is Important to Us Now
In 1951-52 West Germany decisively crossed the participation Rubicon by enacting its system of codetermination giving employees and unions a role in firm governance. In the ensuing decades codetermination has been mostly of fleeting and peripheral interest to Anglophone scholars and has been critiqued using narrow economic criteria. However, in The Rise and Fall of Democracy, John Keane nominates codetermination as a form of monitory democracy designed to check the arbitrary use of corporate power. This paper finds support for Keane's reconceptualization in three highly influential books: State of the Masses (Emil Lederer, 1940), Germany: Jekyll and Hyde (Sebastian Haffner, 1940), and Fear of Freedom (Erich Fromm, 1941/42). As historical artefacts they provide a fascinating insight into the thinking of exiled German dissidents about how democracy could be rebuilt in Germany following the defeat of the Nazi dictatorship. All three emphasize the importance of expanding democratic institutions to firms as a bulwark against totalitarianism. Reconceptualizing codetermination as a democratic institution has several implications. Not only will it allow scholars to use alternative theories to better explain the longevity of this institution, but it has revealed the deep normative biases that have impoverished the public policy debate in the Anglosphere about corporate governance. Understanding codetermination's historical rationale underscores the central role corporate governance plays in either weakening or strengthening democracies.