Edwin J. Perkins
University of Southern California
Neveen Abdelrehim, Josephine Maltby, and Steven Toms
Imperialism, Employment, and Racial Discrimination: The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 1933-1951
By the mid-twentieth century, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) had become a large British multinational that was held to consider Iran as its "own town." It was a very common complaint that members of the British staff of the company treated their Iranian colleagues and subordinates as racial inferiors, and Iranians of all grades, from workmen up to senior staff, including UK graduates, claimed to have experienced insults on the grounds of nationality from British staff. This paper addresses the claims by the Iranians against the AIOC and the company's counter-claims, and the tactical methods adopted by the AIOC management, including the management of information. The paper draws on a wide range of archival evidence from various historical sources such as the Iranian Press "ITTILA'AT," UK Press, archival records of correspondence between the chairman and various diplomats, and the AIOC annual reports. Specifically, it contrasts the pronouncements of the AIOC in public documents such as the Annual Reports with private views reflected in correspondence and third party evidence, allowing an objective assessment of the extent of Iranianization ahead of the political crisis of 1951. The analysis shows that the AIOC was discriminatory toward Iranians, reflecting a negative attitude to their technical potential as well as traditional colonial stereotyping. More important, the AIOC resisted Iranianization because the redistribution of employment in favor of Iranians, including at the senior level, threatened to compromise the control of the business. It was this point that was most strenuously resisted by the AIOC negotiators. The company was more willing to compromise on other aspects that were less threatening to overall control, for example on housing and health care. These concessions were insufficient to forestall the ensuing nationalization crisis, which after all, was all about the crucial question of control of the oil fields.
The World Bank and the Reconstruction of Italy, 1947-1955
The early loans of the World Bank were aimed at helping European countries in their reconstruction efforts after the war. Italy, a defeated country whose southern regions were the largest underdeveloped area in Europe, began negotiations with the Bank as early as 1947. When the United States launched a massive bilateral aid programthe so-called Marshall Planthe Bank shifted to its second mission: development. Yet, it continued the work in Italy, and in 1951 it granted the first of a series of eight loans that would make Italy the largest European borrower from the Bank. Early Bank-Italy relations are particularly interesting because they show that the Bank was testing development policies that were new for the organization. Initially, the Bank focused on the macroeconomic aspects of development assistance, including supporting Italy's balance of payments. The Bank treated reconstruction and development as two interconnected phases. Southern Italy thus become a laboratory for Bank policies to be applied elsewhere in the developing world. However, this phase came to an end when the Bank abandoned its initial macroeconomic approach and narrowed its focus to specific infrastructural projects.
Hubris, Nepotism, and Failure: The Bricklin Car Company and the Question of Inevitability
In 1974, Malcolm Bricklin, a charismatic automotive entrepreneur, announced a dazzling new vehicle, the Bricklin SV1. He was immediately heralded as a throwback: the last great automotive entrepreneur, akin to a Henry Ford. But Bricklin's dreams quickly soured. The oil embargo, new regulations, and a shift in tastes hampered production. Poor engineering, inexperience, and corporate disorganization and nepotism crippled the company. After building 3,000 vehicles, Bricklin was put into receivership in 1976. In this essay I examine Bricklin as an example of failed entrepreneurship within a mature sector of the economy and attempt to understand this failure at a time of dislocation and restructuring in the North American auto sector.
Ryan K. Anderson
Dick Merriwell, the Problem of Generational Readers, and the Business of Making Boys
Street and Smith publishing had a problem in 1901: their flagship dime novel, Tip Top Weekly (1896-1912) did so well that they now found themselves negotiating the demands made by the original readers of the serial and new readers regarding the direction of the story. The house's introduction of Dick Merriwell in "Frank Merriwell's Brother; or, Training a Wild Spirit" represented its attempt to satisfy both groups of readers, who wanted a story that told them how they might live as a manly boy. This was important because Street and Smith made cloth-bound novels by using their dime novels as a form of audience research. Deciding which storylines merited reprinting depended on reader validation, so maintaining a holistic audience remained important to making money. But, as long as the house included readers as direct participants in creating the Merriwell saga they gave them power to handicap their production methods. This had less to do with any shortcoming in their particular creative process than with reflecting Progressive Era changes in the publishing business in general and the continuing bifurcation of adolescence.
European Entry Strategies in Global Film Production and Distribution, 1895-2004
Analysis of all non-U.S. firms' entry strategies into global film production-distribution shows that early mover advantagesin the emerging industrywere most successful financially, while acquisition strategiesin the mature industrysurvived longest. The most common strategy, building a new global distribution organization, was unsuccessful. Although outside the universe of relevant cases, strategic positioning was potentially optimal, because it circumvented incumbents' sunk committed capacity without having to buy it.The findings highlight the benefits of long-run comparative case analysis for strategy, especially in the generation of new alternatives (content) and in the shaping of strategic thinking (process), because it overcomes the survivor bias sometimes present in other approaches.
Money for Nothing: How Firms Financed R&D in Britain and the United States, 1870-1990
This paper investigates how entrepreneurs and firms tried to overcome the financing problems of R&D historically, discussing cases ranging from angel investors and the stock market to venture capital. The paper first defines R&D and then sets out the major challenges that are faced when financing it. It examines the history of several industries in Britain and America and investigates what solutions firms and industries developed to the financing problem, how these differed between the countries, and how they changed over time. The paper starts in 1870, on the eve of the second industrial revolution and ends in 1990, when venture capital financing was firmly established. However, the majority of attention will be given to the period 1870-1940.
A Strange Story: When Crisis Leads to WealthThe Institution of Champagne Wine as a Luxury Good
The very profitable Champagne industry now belongs to the luxury field; indeed, Champagne wine was the first example of a new mass luxury. However, the history of Champagne is special, because initially Champagne was not a good wine but only a standard one. It was one of the numerous white sparkling wines, and under the Champagne name, both the best and the worst could be found. By means of a unique historical process of creativity, the industry succeeded in transforming Champagne wine into a luxury good and in segmenting the old market into two strongly separated compartments, one for Champagne and one for all other sparkling wines. Moreover, this evolution resulted from a major crisis in the Champagne vineyards. On April 11, 1911, the red flag was flying over the vineyards and people were singing the "Internationale"; the vineyards were occupied by 40,000 soldiers. The crisis compelled the sector to evolve or perish. A small group of actors took the lead in the evolution process, creating a strategy based on high quality. This essay tells this success story and considers its conditions.
James L. Baughman
The First Pitch: American TV Commercials in the 1950s
The first decade of television commercials offers a window on prevailing theories about broadcast salesmanshipand advertising generallyin mid-twentieth-century America. Television's swift diffusion in the 1950s created enormous opportunities for ad agencies. And most followed rules conveying agency culture in the decade before "the creative revolution" began to transform the industry. TV advertising should appeal to a mass audience. The restrictive nature of TV servicemost Americans could choose from among only three channelsdiscouraged pitches that played to demographic sub-groups. At the same time, most agencies assumed that an excessively clever or humorous commercial distracted from the spot's core message. The best pitch was serious. "The purpose of a commercial," Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates wrote, "is not to entertain the viewer but to sell him." In that regard, many television ads, mimicking a radio practice, affected intimacy, or what the sociologist Robert Merton termed "pseudo-intimacy." The seller on the small screen was your friend. Finally, advertisers sought to identify their products with TV's stars. The tendency of programs to have single underwriters eased this goal. Commercials and product plugs were routinely integrated into programs, including those for children.
Thomas M. Bayer
Arthur Tooth: A London Art Dealer in the Spotlight, 1870-1871
This paper contributes to the current research into the history of the art business by examining the behavior of an art dealer in Mid-Victorian London to determine the extent and manner his business dealings shaped the arts environment of nineteenth-century Britain. To explore this topic from a new direction, the study employs quantitative methods borrowed from the fields of economics and accounting to expand beyond the socio-historical analyses of other investigations into this topic. Detailed analyses of the 1870-1871 inventory records of the London art dealing firm of Arthur Tooth reveal widespread trade cooperation. This collaboration maximized the influx of new artists and optimized the opportunities for sale to the public of their works as well as other paintings by well-established artists. The data show that in addition to functioning as arbitrageurs, art dealers also performed the role of market-makers to ends similar to those of stock specialists in modern stock markets. The paper argues that these functions are the necessary tools of a fixed-location retail trade to facilitate growth and maintain stability of a mature market in luxury goods with an added speculative commodity character. The modus operandi of this dealer network signaled artists to produce more and increasingly diversified works. As a result, the very system of art dealing that came into being during this period contributed to a far greater extent to the subsequent, and still ongoing, explosion of styles than hitherto recognized.
Gamze N. Bedirhanoglu
Business Models and the History of Intellectual Property: Reification of the Intellect
The globally enforced, one-size-fits-all intellectual property regime is an outcome of the historical processes that transformed knowledge, information, and intellect into property. In order to examine these processes, the emergence of a link between "ideas" and "property" that eventually reified intellect needs to be traced. The early forms of knowledge protection are seen as antecedents of intellectual property. However, these early forms of protection were not commodified. These nascent forms were protecting either the actual production process or the mechanical reproduction of the products. The two cornerstones of modern intellectual property protection emanated from corporate business models. In the twentieth century, U.S. firms adopted and improved the German business model of the late nineteenth century with professional research and development departments. This model marked the institutionalization of intellectual property as a part of the business models. The second development is the codification of the contemporary trade-based intellectual property regime (TRIPS) and TRIPS-plus standards in compliance with the needs of IP-based US corporations. The business model adopted by the U.S. firms by 1980s, which prioritizes intellectual property production and outsources the actual production process, operates with the assumption that intellect embedded in goods can be alienated and protected separately.
"Rich By Nature, Poor By Policy": State Intervention and the Stillborn Birth of the Canadian Brewing Industry, 1668-1675
The paper examines the factors that led to the birth and quick death of the first child of commercial brewing in Canada. During the period 1668-1675, Jean Talon, the energetic Intendant of New France and the man in control of the colony's entire civil administration, induced the birth of commercial brewing. His reasons for doing so will be examined, as will the scale and scope of his state-owned and -controlled brewery. The paper takes as its theoretical starting point the position of Alfred Chandler that firms and markets evolve together to shape industrial outcomes. As a result, supply-side and demand-side influences will be analyzed. Ultimately the paper argues that when it came to the birth of commercial brewing in Canada, the state forced the development of the industry ahead of market dictates. Despite the fact that the colony possessed all the natural ingredients to manufacture beer, Jean Talon's rigid adherence to the monopolistic dictates of mercantilism produced a stillborn child, one insensitive to local tastes and lacking any intuition of the working of a diversified, sui generis economy.
Shifting Focus: Enron's Change in Corporate Rhetoric and Practice
Before its name became synonymous with corporate fraud and deception, Enron Corporation was a darling of the business press, praised for its "innovative" practices. However, the company was not always so closely tied to that term. Rather, Enron emphasized several different values over its relatively brief existence. For instance, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, amid concerns in the United States over acid rain and global warming, the company's marketing literature presented Enron as an environmentally sound company. However, over the course of the 1990s Enron began to de-emphasize these issues and mimicked the rhetorical and visual style of the "new economy" instead. These shifts in Enron's focus throughout the course of the decade reveal both the company's sensitivity to wider cultural trends and their attempt to influence those trends. Through examining Enron's marketing literature, I argue that the company's shift in rhetoric demonstrates the influence of culture on a firm, as well as how a firm tries to both capitalize on and shape the culture around it.
Are Immigrant Entrepreneurs Different? Questions and Concepts of a New Research Initiative
This paper will first take a look at theoretical models of immigrant entrepreneurship and the results of some of the most important empirical research so far. It will ask for sources of comparative advantages and disadvantages, skill and knowledge transfer, and socio-cultural networks and for processes of assimilation. In its second part, the paper will introduce a new research initiative of the German Historical Institute in Washington D.C., which will focus on the history of German immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States from 1720 to the present time. This major research initiative addresses two central themes in the history of the United States, immigration and entrepreneurship. The topics are closely interrelated, since the U.S. developed a strong culture of entrepreneurship as it became the quintessential receiving country in the nineteenth century. One aim of the project is to reappraise the Economist's statement that "no other country refreshes itself in quite the same way by continuous waves of immigration." The project will also challenge sociological studies on the composition of the American business elite, which claim that it was "disproportionally derived from Protestant, Anglo-Saxon, native-born, well-to-do families." This thesis of a relatively homogeneous, socially exclusive group must certainly be reviewed. The project aims at new empirical data as well as at a contribution to the discussion on the nature of entrepreneurship.
Abolishing Retirement? The "Employer Covenant" and the Privatization of Pensions Liabilities in Major British Companies, c. 1980-2010
In recent years pension provision has come under great stress in many countries, although detailed institutional arrangements vary greatly. An important aspect of Britain's "pension crisis" has been the deterioration in the funding positions of many occupational pension schemes (OPS) sponsored by major listed companies. The wider difficulties of private sector OPS have brought onto the political agenda the relative generosity and underfunding of public sector pensions, a debate that has largely ignored the impact of Britain's 1980s and 1990s privatization program in shifting considerable pension liabilities from the public to the private sector. The provision of OPS in private and public sectors grew dramatically in the decades after World War Two, but the "employer covenant"the ability and willingness of employers to provide and support OPShas weakened in the last twenty years. The benefits to employers of providing such schemes have diminished, reflecting changes in employment patterns and the bargaining power of labor. The costs of providing OPS have increased, with changes in regulation, investment returns and demographic factors. But I also argue that the apparent affordablity of OPS in earlier decades was to some extent illusory, and that privatization has played a part in exposing this.
Florence Brachet-Champsaur and Ludovic Cailluet
The Great Depression? Challenging the Periodization of French Business History in the Interwar Period
In this essay we aim to demonstrate that economic and business historians' tendency to use moments of severe economic turbulence as turning points does not always fit with a periodization based on corporate change. In fact, our essay shows that the economic downturn of the early 1930s did not impact all companies' long-term strategies the same way and that it sometimes fostered management innovations or helped to reinforce nascent ideas. To illustrate our point we have chosen to look at two companies that, despite the Great Depression, developed new administrative methods and marketing innovations. They acted not only in a defensive mode but also to prepare for better times. The cases were deliberately taken from very different sectors. The first deals with heavy industry, using the metallurgy and chemicals company AFC-Pechiney; the second considers the family-owned and -managed retail group Galeries Lafayette.
Evolution of Political Strategies of Foreign Multinational Corporations in Latin America: General Trends During the Twentieth Century
In this paper I study the dominant political strategies of foreign multinational corporations when operating in Latin America during the twentieth century. I use the typologies developed by scholars studying corporate political activity and political economy of foreign direct investment to define what kind of political strategies the multinationals followed, when, and where. I argue that the kind of political strategy used by the companies was determined by the industry in which they operated and the type of political regime of the host country. These strategies were also determined by the continental-wide trends in economic policy, from specialization in export of primary goods (1870s-1914/29), import substitution industrialization (1914/29-1970s), privatization and globalization (1980s-1990s), and new protectionism (2000s). I illustrate these strategies with particular cases in the extractive and manufacturing industries.
Christy Ford Chapin
Social Responsibility and the Construction of Corporate Health Care, 1950-1965
The literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) generally focuses on corporate welfare in the form of fringe benefits for workers or the profitability that firms derive from the positive public relations message attached to charity or small demonstration projects. In this paper, I argue that scholars should expand their conception of CSR to consider how such campaigns, when carried out in response to threats of government intervention, can institutionally restructure entire industries. The history of the health care industry illustrates this point. During the post-World War II era, policymakers, insurers, and physicians recognized that insurance company-funded health care was inherently expensive. Thus, even after private interests had defeated Harry Truman's plan for universal health insurance, Republicans and moderate Democrats continued to propose reforms to rearrange the voluntary market for lower costs and broader coverage. In order to thwart federal interference, insurance companies transformed health insurance from a high-end product for a select few into a mass consumer good. In the process, insurers created the market structure to supervise physicians and attempt to regulate costs. When policymakers passed Medicare in 1965, they adopted the institutional framework that insurers had already created, thereby anchoring insurance companies to the center of the public-private health care system.
Eugene K. Choi
Reconsidering the Innovations in the Meiji Cotton Spinners' Growth Strategy for Global Competition
From the beginning of the 1890s, cotton spinning stood out as the most competitive sector in the Meiji economy. It was the first industry in Japanese business history to adopt full-scale mechanization and, more significantly, it was also in the forefront of international corporate formation. Success was a result of the outstanding entrepreneurial leadership of the top echelon of the Meiji industrial elite, which developed the early conceptualization of a pan-industrial growth strategy. The essence of this concept was the industrialists' determination to succeed in the upcoming global competition, a perspective that led to continuous innovation in a wide array of business practices. Innovation was not always technological; this essay focuses on the Meiji Japanese paradigm breakthrough as the quintessential innovation, derived from their clear business vision and evolving shared understanding of industrial competitiveness.
David J. Clampin and Ron Noon
The End of Social Responsibility: Mr. Cube and of the Place of Business and Marketing in British Postwar Society
This paper offers a case study in both the history of British commercial marketing and the inter-relationship between business and politics via an examination of the postwar Labour government's stated intention to nationalize sugar refining in 1949. In response to this decision, taken by a freely elected government, the British sugar refining giant, Tate & Lyle, adopted an intense marketing campaign with a view to "informing" the public in the hope that they might choose to stand up to the state. In so doing, the marketing industry was inextricably drawn into politics and, it is argued, for the first time adopted an ostensibly party political stance that stands in contrast to their earlier more circumspect approach and their adherence to the basic ideal of "social responsibility." By focusing on this cause in the brief period 1949-1952, I explore a key moment in British marketing history and the contested role of marketing in modern society.
Robin Hoods to "just robbin'": Race, Violence, and Organized Crime in Chicago, 1945-1975
In the 1940s and 1950s, Chicago's white organized crime syndicate forcibly removed black organized crime leaders and took over the illicit economy. Though blacks were employed in the informal sector, it was only as lower-echelon underlings. Many of Chicago's black residents deeply resented this situation, viewing it as another form of exploitation, and in the 1960s and 1970s, youth gangs emerged to re-take control of vice activities in Chicago's black communities. Yet when youth gangs such as the Rangers asserted themselves in the 1960s, the gangs' brazen methods alienated their communities and exacerbated tensions with law enforcement. This paper historicizes the rise of black street gangs by showing that when the lucrative informal economy was removed from black management in the 1950s, it also eliminated the experienced black organized crime figures who had cultivated a general community tolerance of their activities and developed indispensable political ties. When the next generation tried to reclaim the control of vice, they were bereft of crime mentors. The lack of mentorship impaired the development and maintenance of formal and informal businesses in black communities.
The Elephant in the Room: The Normality of Failure in the History of Technology
Failure is an integral and normal part of the evolution of technologies and organizations. Widely viewed, failure extends from the commercial collapse of a firm promoting a new technology and the inability of a technology to work to less obvious shortcomings like suboptimal performance, poor economics, and late delivery. Academic disciplines (especially history) have not paid sufficient attention to this important subject, focusing on success. The understandable tendency to focus on what worked instead of on what did not has resulted in a simplified appreciation of the reality of technological evolution. This research explores the importance of failure in the history of technology and offers a theoretical framework to understand and position failure. Failure is an integral part of history, a part that should not be forgotten or excluded. Just as honest biography is more interesting and valuable than an admiring hagiography, so too does historical inquiry benefit from a fuller understanding of its subject. A complete history demands study and analysis not only of the roads taken, but also of the roads not taken and the roads unsuccessfully taken as part of the tortuous, demanding, and uncertain path that technologies follow to move from an idea to a commercial reality.
Joshua C. Davis
The Selling of Soul: African American Music Businesses and Commercial Public Life in North Carolina, 1968-1983
This paper explores black-owned record stores and radio stations in the 1970s South as safe spaces in the marketplace where young African Americans could thrive, not as second-class shoppers, but as first-class citizen consumers. In so doing, I challenge scholarship that claims black-owned businesses have consistently failed to provide social benefits to black consumers and communities, as well as the popular view that black-owned businesses typically suffered immediate deaths following de jure desegregation. In this paper, I illuminate how Black Power ideology and renewed interest in black community institutions unexpectedly provided new life to Southern black music businesses in the 1970s, while other black-owned businesses, such as those in insurance and cosmetics, struggled to survive in the region's desegregating marketplace. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the desegregation process in states like North Carolina favored traditionally white institutions by closing countless black schools and firing hundreds of black principals in just a few years. Consequently, this process dramatically undercut historically black public life and black leadership, which especially hurt teenage and young-adult African Americans. At the same time, however, black record store owners and radio deejays increasingly served as role models and provided much needed public spaces to their young consumers. African American record dealers offered young black consumerseven when they had little or no money to spend on recordsa rare refuge in the marketplace, where they could hang out, listen to music, and interact with successful black entrepreneurs. Black radio deejays acted as business people who not only sold on-air advertisements and served as liaisons between record stores and record labels, but who also visited schools and youth groups regularly, organized free community parties, and even gave young listeners input on station operations in the form of contests and song requests.
Large Sample Analysis and Firm-Level Business History: Understanding the Long-Term Relationship between Firm Size and Innovativeness
In my paper I investigate the relationship between size and innovativeness of firms in the long-term perspective. To this day, the so-called Schumpeterian hypothesis about an above-average innovativeness of large firms has been neither confirmed nor rejected, often because of insufficient data or a too-short observation period. Many studies concentrate only on a specific region or a specific sector, or they analyze a very short period of time. In contrast, this analysis is based on a completely new dataset containing every long-lived patent in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic (1877-1932). The dataset contains 66,500 entries concerning economically relevant innovations. Firm size is measured by employment and capital stock.
Technological booms, providing a window of technological opportunities for both firms and sectors, have not yet been investigated. An analysis of Germany's chemical and metal sector between 1877 and 1932 revealed that the sector-specific long-term relationship between firm size and innovativeness is negative, except for the time of a specific technological boom. Identifying and understanding firm-specific characteristics, analyzed as well in the present paper, is the key to understanding why inside a specific technological boom no general relationship between firm size and innovativeness can be found. Combining large-panel regressions with detailed business history research at the firm-level can contribute to a much better understanding of the long-term relationship between firm size and innovativeness.
Corporate Social Responsibility: The NAM and Equal Employment Opportunity, 1945-1985
This paper will examine the National Association of Manufacturers' support for equal employment opportunity (EEO) practices beginning during World War II, as well as its efforts to help employers comply with 1960s-era Civil Rights legislation. Most studies of corporate racial policies have focused on Civil Rights organizations as instigators of change. This paper argues that conservative organizations were also interested in racial integration, thus broadening our understanding of the types of organizations that contributed to socially responsible corporate practices.
Industrial Symbiosis: Old Wine in Recycled Bottles? Some Perspective from the History of Economic and Geographical Thought
"Industrial symbiosis" (IS) is a central concept in the industrial ecology literature; it describes geographically proximate inter-firm relationships involving the exchange of residual materials, water, and energy. Despite its obvious relevance to regional science, economic geography, and urban economics, the issue is only beginning to be addressed in these sub-disciplines. This situation is paradoxical, as both recovery linkages and the very concept of IS were discussed in some depth by numerous economists and geographers several decades ago. This paper summarizes this intellectual history, in the process providing a better understanding of the phenomenon while shedding additional light on current controversies.
Ari C. de Wilde
Battle for the Six-Day Sportscape: Floyd MacFarland and the Creation of the "Czar" of Bicycle Racing, 1899-1915
Up to his death in 1915, Floyd MacFarland helped shape one of the truly distinctive New York environments of consumerism during the Progressive Era: week-long, "Six Day," twenty-four hours a day, paired bicycle races in Madison Square Garden. With variably priced seating, live bands, a variety of food and alcohol items and bookies, concomitantly with racers whirring around while partners slept, ate and received rub-downs in full view of spectators, the hectic environment of a Six Day was a unique sight to behold. These races, which often attracted up to 100,000 spectators per week, were beacons of a new consumer age and important to the development of North American sportscapes. These eventspart races, part showswere a sports promoter's dream. This sportscape was so potentially profitable that it inspired Floyd MacFarland and John M. Chapman, a rival promoter, to literally trek all over the world in pursuit of racing talent and financial backing. Utilizing a variety of primary sources, this paper examines how this sportscape defined the ultimately doomed, but longstanding, North American bicycle racing industry.
Peddlers: A New World Jewish History
This paper explores the way in which peddling functioned as a migration strategy for central and east European Jews in the century from the 1820s to the 1920s, as they moved out to a series of "new worlds," including the British Isles, North and South America, South Africa and Australia. Peddling not only facilitated Jewish migrations but also served as an engine of Jewish integration. Of all the occupations in which Jews clustered, peddling not only lasted longer than nearly any other, but it also forced them into an intense and almost instantaneous encounter with the local cultures of the places to which they went. This paper focuses on peddling in these two contexts, at the same time that it contextualizes it around the conflicts and controversies that surrounded this peripatetic occupation. To what degree did peddling in any one part of the "new world" resemble peddling in any other? How did peddling differ from place to place?
Illinois Free Banks, 1851-1865
Free banking had been consigned to oblivion until Friedrich Hayek proposed the concept of "denationalized currency." Study of free banks, therefore, helps to render a full understanding of American financial history. This essay, by melding economic issues with overall historical trends, seeks to investigate free banks' historical background and their influence on Illinois. Employing tools from economics and history, this paper analyzes the accounting statements of Illinois free banks and examines related indices such as discounts on banks notes, prices of exchanges, and banks' life span to assess their performance. The development of free banking, furthermore, was intertwined with the confrontation between the Whig-Republican and Democratic parties, economic changes in the nineteenth century, and the rise of corporations, as well as the transportation revolution. On the whole, investigating Illinois free banks helps to assess the performance of the free banking system, allowing us to get a glimpse of nineteenth-century Illinois history from the perspective of its free banking experience.
Black Economic Empowerment, Apartheid Style: The Case of Pep Stores Peninsula, Limited, 1973-1974
In a certain sense black economic empowerment (BEE) is not a new concept in South Africa's more recent past. The apartheid policies of the National Party also made provision for the economic development of black people. In the process state-controlled corporations such as the Coloured Development Corporation (CDC) were founded to finance and drive the process. Some white businessmen seized this opportunity to access Coloured group areas as markets. Pep Stores Peninsula, Limited, a clothing retail company founded in 1974, was probably one of the earliest examples in this regard. The aim of this paper is to use the Pep Peninsula case study to argue that the roots of BEE in South Africa stretch back much further than the early 1990s; to posit it as one of the earliest examples of corporate involvement in BEE in South Africa; to highlight the dynamics generated by the combination of state-controlled, ideologically driven, race-based empowerment in tandem with corporate market-driven initiatives; to indicate incidences (tangencies) between the apartheid economic empowerment initiative and the current BEE initiatives of the post-apartheid era.
The Coca-Cola Company, Convenience Packaging, and the Limits of Corporate Environmental Stewardship in the 1970s
My study explores the Coca-Cola Company's involvement in the pioneering of resource and environmental profile (or REPA) studies on soft drink containers in the 1960s and 1970s, studies that laid the foundation for contemporary life-cycle analysis (LCA) research. It begins with an examination of Coke's anti-litter campaign in the 1960s, the company's first real foray into the realm of environmental stewardship. I examine soft drink anti-litter advertising in the 1960s and 1970s, emphasizing its appeals to popular free market principles, and I then consider the contradictions between Coke's promotional rhetoric and its clandestine approach to life-cycle research. As I examine the details of beverage container REPA studies in the 1970s, I focus on Coke's limited translation of life-cycle findings to its customers. I conclude that, despite professing an allegiance to a classical liberal vision of a free market system driven by rational consumers, Coca-Cola actively withheld (and continues to withhold) critical information about its nonreturnable packaging from its customers, thus preventing consumers from making eco-conscious decisions about packaging alternatives.
Mehmet Erçek and Öner Günçavdi
Evolution of National and International Resource Constraints and Business Groups: The Historical Case of a Turkish Family Holding, 1950-1999
In this study, we attempt to contribute to the literature on the evolution of business groups by providing a rich historical case study of a Turkish business group's evolution during the second half of the twentieth century. We emphasize the role of macroeconomic expenditure flows as well as of certain environmental and firm-level constraints in shaping the group's evolutionary pattern. When the level and direction of macroeconomic expenditure flows varied during the second half of the twentieth century in Turkey, the business group's investment strategy and structure also varied. Fit with the macroeconomic expenditure flows and environmental constraints resulted in better performance and growth, whereas misfit with environmental constraints and certain firm-level characteristics brought about below average performance and consolidation. Our case study also corroborates the earlier explanations of business group evolution based on asymmetric trade and investment flows and institutional voids.
Honest Weights and Full Measures? or, Learning How to Cheat Customers in Antebellum America
This paper will examine practices of and discourses around urban retail shopkeeping in the antebellum United States, focusing on a set of texts that depicted shopkeepers and their clerks as fundamentally dishonest. In an era before fixed-price stores, established consumer brands, and product certification, shoppers were often at the mercy of retailers regarding the quality and pricing of the goods they bought. The proliferation of narratives that taught retailers how to disguise their dishonest business practices fed an attitude of suspicion on the part of consumers, who began to view increasingly anonymous retail transactions as unavoidably adversarial interactions. In these narratives, the customer was the enemy, not the reason a retail business existed, and to the customer, a salesperson was only a small step up from a pickpocket. But if these writings detailed the business practices that shopkeepers might use to deceive their unwitting clientele, they also offered consumers the tools to assert their own agency in commercial exchanges. This paper will shed light on the emergence of business practices thatwhether actually employed or notshaped an emerging assumed stance of caveat emptor in a world of economic activity where traditional connections of acquaintance and obligation between retailer and customer were being eroded.
Bernardita de los Angeles Escobar
International Commitments on Intellectual Property Protection: When Countries Decide to Take Them on Board
This essay analyzes the path taken by countries in committing themselves to protecting intellectual property (IP) internationally from the late nineteenth century until December 2008. The aim is to unveil economic rationales behind such decisions and the relative role played by Latin American countries. The analysis is based on an index of country-level decisions of membership to international treaties regarding IP protection. Sixty-eight treaties and 189 countries are studied throughout the 1884-2008 period. Data shows that Latin American countries played a significant role in such processes. Before the Great Depression, countries from the Americas, particularly Latin American ones, and Europe led the process. After a drought period around the Second World War, international commitments on IP gained momentum by the late 1950s, with countries of other regions of the world featuring increasing leadership. Nonetheless, data shows that Latin American countries have shown sustained long-term eagerness to protect IP. Yet, the statistical analysis indicates that countries have pursued international IP protection increasingly, the richer they are. Also, countries perform a path-dependent trajectory in international IP protection; the more engaged a country has been in IP protection internationally, the more likely it is for that country to continue undertaking such international commitments. This path dependence appears directly linked to countries' level of economic development.
Dylan J. Esson
A New Deal for Recreation: The Forest Service and the Development of Sun Valley Ski Resort
Nearly every historian who has discussed the history of ski resorts has pointed to the creation of Sun Valley ski resort in 1936 as a watershed moment in winter recreation and tourism history. Bankrolled by the Union Pacific Railroad, Sun Valley is credited with ushering in the era of the destination ski resort thanks to the marketing genius of Steve Hannagan, a man who first made Miami Beach a household name and later did the same for Sun Valley. What this story does not take into account, though, is the role that the federal government played in promoting and ensuring the success of winter sports in America. Much of the most reliable ski terrain was located in the National Forests, which were overseen by the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture. The story of Sun Valley, then, illustrates that the Forest Service's developing appreciation for recreation was as important to establishing resorts like Sun Valley as the resort's marketing capabilities.
Felipe Tâmega Fernandes
Commodity Chains: What Can We Learn from a Business History of the Rubber Chain, 1870-1910?
The literature on the rubber boom applies a dependendist view of rubber production in the Brazilian Amazon. Even though a sizable surplus was generated in the rubber chain, it was mostly appropriated by foreigners. This view is in tune with the Global Commodity Chain approach, which argues that manufacturing/core economies absorb the bulk of surplus generated in the commodity chain. This paper challenges both frameworks and asks for a more careful analysis of the business history of commodity chains: it is a first step in this direction through a business history of the relationship between two nodes of the rubber chain.
Paula A. de la Cruz Fernandez
Patterning the "Other": Sewing Machines in the Age of the American Empire
The United States' position as a major industrial nation went on display during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Beginning with the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition, American international exhibitions displayed domestic technological and industrial
advancements; they brought together various nations' exhibitions but gave prominence to American manufacturing corporations within the fair's spatial setting. American technological and promotional/advertising exhibitions stood in contrast to more folklore-based international displays. The Singer Manufacturing Company, for one, exhibited its success domestically and internationally at the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, and at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. Western industrial development in the nineteenth century became the symbol of civilization and progress. White American men led the organization of international fairs at the turn of the twentieth century, and displays of technological prowess symbolized male Anglo-Saxon racial and gender cultural hegemony within the pluralistic American society. American international fairs also put on display other cultures from around the world. The categorization and distribution of these cultural displays within the exhibition was representative of American
classification and hierarchization of the "Other" within the ladder of civilization. One such example of this othering and ordering comes from a collection of Singer Company advertisement cards produced for dissemination at the 1893 and the 1904 expositions. The main source for this paper, these advertisement cards portrayed women from different parts of the world wearing stereotypical local attires and using Singer sewing machines. On the back of the cards a brief text described the culture and country of the women illustrated and noted the improvements made in their life from using a Singer sewing machine. The examination of Singer's advertising explains the instrumentality of the ideal of the domestic women within the civilizing discourse. The success of a single industrial technology for women to use around the world, mainly in their homes, suggests the globalization and strengthening of domestic ideologies in contrast to the "New Woman" ideals emerging at the end of the nineteenth century. The internationalization of sewing machines also reinforced industrialization as the symbol of progress and Western dominance.
Thomas D. Finger
A Natural Theology of Free Trade in the Nineteenth Century: The Corn Laws in Context
My presentation will describe the intense debate in Great Britain in the late 1830s and 1840s over the "Corn Laws"a series of protective tariffs enacted by Parliament after the Napoleonic Wars and subsequently revised to ensure that British domestic wheat prices remained high. Beginning in the 1830s, however, many British politicians and businessmen argued that such policies unnecessarily restricted the flow of food from the productive areas of the globe, including the United States. This restriction, they argued, also choked off British exports as other nations raised retaliatory tariffs in response. Those businessmen employed the rhetoric of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus to argue that the agriculture of the British Isles could not consistently support its growing population. My presentation will focus mainly on the years 1830-1846, when the productive potential of the American interior was dreamed of by Americans and British alike, but results were still largely unrealized. Focusing on the Corn Law debates, I show a clear connection between the liberal economic ideology that the laws of nature dictated the necessity of free trade and the actual steps taken by one political organizationthe Anti-Corn Law Leagueto obtain the fruits of comparative advantage.
Jonathan Stevenson Franklin
Irrelevant Genius: Economists and Federal Economic Policymaking in the United States, 1921-1938
Although this paper began as an investigation of the business community's influence on federal economic policymaking in the 1920s, it soon evolved into a consideration of professional economists' policymaking power. The press's tendency to describe then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover as an economist, despite his lack of training in the rapidly growing discipline, suggested an interesting relationship between professional economists and politicians. This paper argues that although the business community continued to enjoy nearly exclusive influence on federal economic policymaking from 1921 to 1932, the professionalization of economists created a permanent bridge between economic departments and Washington by 1938. To support this argument, I focus on Hoover's tenure as Secretary of Commerce, as well as his presidency. In particular, I consider his reaction to the 1921 recession and his run-ins with Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace. I also consider how Franklin D. Roosevelt developed economic policy through consideration of his gold purchasing plan, which was largely run by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr.
Black Power Is Green Power: Black Power Protest and the Formation of Hough Area Development Corporation
Hough Area Development Corporation (HADC) formed in the spring of 1967 from a secretly organized group dubbed "the Machine." The Machine consisted of a coalition of civil rights activists who presumed that any urban renewal or reconstruction funds designated for the Hough neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, should be administered by members of the Hough community. The organization's legitimacy as an economic development corporation received a major boost when it received a $1.6 million grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity. Unfortunately, HADC came under fire two years after its formation when the corporation used OEO funds to purchase two McDonald's restaurants that were obtained through boycott and direct action protest methods. Although HADC was only one member in Operation Black Unity, the black nationalist umbrella group that launched the protests, questions arose as to the use of government funds for such a purchase and the appropriateness of HADC benefiting from the success of a boycott that some argued was extortion but others believed was black power in action. Eventually, HADC's embrace of direct action protest and black nationalist ideology began to intrude on its ability to formulate a sense of itself as a purely economic development corporation.
Socializing Risk: Depression-Era Policy and a New Market for Debt
Between 1932 and 1935, the U.S. government rapidly transformed its relationship to the private market for money and credit, setting up the mechanisms to promote a new kind of national economic growth by creating and sustaining a very safe and flexible market for both consumer and producer credit. While key policy interventions have received considerable attention from scholars, their implications for the history of American economic expansion and for popular conceptions of American affluence are generally mischaracterized because of economists' and most historians' assumptions about money's place in the dynamics of capitalist growth. This paper briefly outlines the heterodox critique of the neo-classical consensus regarding money (that it is "exogenous" to the process fueling growth), then revisits key interventionsthe Glass Steagall Act of 1932, the Emergency Banking Act (1933), the Glass Steagall Act of 1933, and the Banking Act of 1935to demonstrate how Depression-era reform initiated a two-part revolution in American opportunity politics: expanding the supply of money and credit by socializing risk (essentially subsidizing growth) while helping to codify and popularize the narrative that the state's expansive new role merely "shored up" existing markets and "unleashed" existing capital.
Georgina E. Gajewski
"Painting on the Most Reasonable Terms": The Business of Art in the Early Rural South
Before the age of photographic reproduction began with the introduction of the daguerreotype in 1839, portrait artists provided the only means of recording a likeness. During the period of the early Republic, many painters traveled to the Southern states, attracted by the region's reputed wealth and refinement. This paper compiles data on the more than forty-five artists known to have worked in North Carolina between 1790 and 1830, who primarily hailed from the northeastern United States and Western Europe. These artists made use of sophisticated entrepreneurial devices to navigate the unfamiliar Southern market, including offering money-back guarantees, advance subscription lists, group discounts, and diversifying services offered. These painters advertised prices that made their services accessible for non-elites, and as a result competed for consumer dollars not only with other painters but also with local merchants who provided a variety of inexpensive, fashionable, and decorative goods. This paper suggests that although Southerners had less incentive to abandon agriculture than did their Northern counterparts, those who attempted to make a living as itinerant artists would have been crowded out by the significant number of non-Southern artists who successfully marketed their products to a wide range of consumers.
Susan H. Gensemer
Profile of an Early American Feminist Economist: The Life and Work of Virginia Penny
Virginia Penny (1826-1913) has been identified as one of the two earliest American feminist economists. She wrote a book in 1863, eventually retitled How Women Can Make Money, in which she listed over 500 occupations for women, with their associated wages and qualifications. Penny followed that book with a second in which she addressed many questions of her day, including labor market discrimination against women. This study describes Penny's contributions as a feminist economist. She argued in favor of widening employment opportunities for women, and argued more generally for improved access by women to economic resources. Additionally, this paper outlines, to the extent possible, her life. A few letters, references in books, and numerous newspaper articles are used to piece together the details. Further information about Penny has been derived from genealogical resources such as census and death records. This study is a first attempt to assemble information about Virginia Penny from many sources, constructing a profile of this early feminist economist. The study indicates the difficulties of piecing together profiles, especially of women, or of other people who remain relatively invisible in historical studies.
"We used Every Effort to be Impartial": The Complicated Response of Newspaper Publishers to Unions, 1933-1955
As large employers of labor and owners of businesses that conveyed information about organized labor to a wide audience, publishers were intimately connected to the labor movement during the 1930s and 1940s. Publishers, such as Colonel Robert McCormick and William Randolph Hearst, were routinely condemned for controlling a press determined to fight unionism. Newspaper owners, however, found themselves in simultaneous roles as business operators, journalists, and community leaders as organized labor gained strength in the 1930s. These diverse interests led to an array of responses in newspapers. For some publishers, such as John S. Knight in Akron, Ohio, civic and professional motivations encouraged an effort to remain neutral or to offer balance in reporting and commentary on labor-management relations. Other publishers, such as William T. Evjue in Madison, Wisconsin, expressed support for unions. Regardless, many publishers also showed an honest respect for the line between opinion and news. With the rise of the American Newspaper Guild beginning in 1933, labor and management relations took on new dimensions that mixed business operations, professional standards, and political ideology. This paper is based on archival research, oral history interviews, memoirs, trade and general interest publications, and studies in journalism, labor history, and sociology.
Alfred Chandler: Change in BusinessCrisis or Evolution?
Should a company's history be viewed as a series of relatively stable periods punctuated by crises in its environment? Or should it be viewed as a political and continuous process managed as a series of decisions and negotiations? This paper aims to analyze the concepts of strategic change, and the collective entrepreneurial and managerial role in the implementation of changes in corporate structure and strategy. It will raise several questions. If changes in the environment impose a reshaping of corporate strategy, who takes action: the managers, especially the leaders, or potentially each employee who knows the enterprise's environment and its evolution? If there is a specific category of actors in charge of shaping the new strategy, how will they persuade the rest of the employees to implement the decisions? Trying to understand the strategy process presupposes questioning the hypothesis of unpreparedness or the influence of urgency on people's rationality and knowledge. To progress on these important issues, what conclusions can be drawn out from business history and especially from Chandler's work? Chandler's approch is based on a short-term and brutal break symobolized by a crisis, whereas there are other analysesfor instance that of Pettigrew, who supports the idea of progressive and long-term change. These discussions will enable us to understand how history selects the best-fitted corporation through a kind of Darwinian competitive evolution. Business history, especially Chandler's work, can help to clarify the notion of individual and corporate resistance to change and top-down management procedures.
Black Power in the Dollhouse: Shindana Toys and the Business of Social Change
In early 1968, black community activists Lou Smith and Robert Hall sat down with Mattel president Elliot Handler to discuss how the world's largest toy company might help out Operation Bootstrapthe community development organization that Smith and Hall had founded in South Los Angeles after the 1965 Watts uprising. Six months later, with Mattel's financial and technical assistance, Shindana Toy Division was born as Bootstrap's new subsidiary. Over the next decade, thanks in part to a loan from Chase Capital Corporation, Shindana's line of politicized, racially coded dolls changed the face of the American toy industry by redefining what it meant to manufacture a "black" toy. From 1968, when it brought its pioneering dolls to the national market, through 1974, when it became the first black-owned firm to lease a permanent space in New York's Toy Fair Building, Shindana institutionalized Black Power as a set of community ideals, material practices, and commercial representations. In tracing the origins and development of Shindana Toys, this paper seeks to cast fresh light on the possibilities and limitations of business as a black freedom strategy; the impact of black liberation on the making of "relevant" consumer culture for children; and the interplay between black nationalism and corporate America in an era of socially responsible business idealism.
Debra F. Greene
New Age, People's Finance, and Gateway National: African American Banking in St. Louis, Missouri
At the turn of the twentieth century, St. Louis, Missouri, had a black population of slightly more than 35,000 people. The city ranked second to Baltimore in the percentage of African Americans in the population. A decade later in 1910, St. Louis was the fourth largest U.S. city behind New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The African American population was 43,960, a 6.4 percent increase from 1900, representing the third largest urban black population increase after Kansas City and Indianapolis at 9.5 and 9.3 percent, respectively. The city was growing and African American businessmen believed that the black business community of St. Louis should be representative of that growth and development. In 1915, the St. Louis Argus newspaper publisher Joseph E. Mitchell editorialized that he was determined "to bend his every effort to lift black St. Louis to the place it should occupy in the nation." A part of that uplift was black business development. Black community leaders such as Mitchell believed that financial backing was an integral part of the uplift process. To that end, three financial institutions were founded and developed in St. Louis by black business leadersNew Age Savings and Loan Association (1915), People's Loan and Finance Company, incorporated as People's Finance Corporation (1922), and Gateway National Bank (1964). This paper attempts to document the challenges encountered by the black community in operating these institutions as banking regulations changed, the economy declined, and retail banking services to the black community expanded.
Darren E. Grem
Of Chicken Sandwiches and the Christian Right: The World of Chick-fil-A
Famed for its signature chicken sandwich, and its "closed on Sunday" policy, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A purports a singular mission: "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us [and] to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." Incorporated in 1964 by S. Truett Cathy, a Southern Baptist, Chick-fil-A's has a history intertwined with the Sunbelt's emergence as the economic, political, and religious center of the nation. In this paper, I focus on the specific arrangements of space, capital, and labor that created Chick-fil-A. In turn, I detail the meritocratic evangelicalism of its employees and managers, its partnerships with suburban megachurches and schools, and its support for the cultural politics of the Christian Right. Altogether, this paper connects the "business of food" to the politics of consumption in contemporary America, showing how consumer actionssuch as buying and eating a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwichforward corporate activities and activism from the Sunbelt's suburbs to the global South.
Information, Uncertainty, and Trust in German-Balkan Trade: A Case Study of the Leipzig Trade Fair 1920-1930
Historians and contemporary economists have argued that Nazi Germany established an informal empire in the Balkans during the 1930s by dominating the exports and imports of Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Yet the institutions that supported Germany's trade in the 1930s formed during the previous decade in direct response to the severe commercial problems that arose after World War I. German banks in the region had been nationalized, Germany's consular system was all but dismantled, and the reputation of German merchants was damaged by hyperinflation. German businessmen in the Balkans consequently faced problems of uncertainty and information. This paper shows how one institution, the trade fair in Leipzig, helped overcome the issues of uncertainty and information during the 1920s by building an extensive trading network across southeastern Europe that relayed economic news, found reliable agents for German firms, and advertised for German products and for Germany in general. The fair was Germany's largest and its representatives became the backbone of Germany's trade network in southeastern Europe during a decade when many firms were only slowly returning to the region. Ultimately, the fair helped lay the foundation for Germany's economic imperialism of the 1930s.
Chao He and Kang Zu
The Scientification of the Advertisement Industry in Business History Perspective in China, 1901-1950
From the Opium War in 1840 to the invasion of the Eight Power Allied Force in 1900, social activities of the Chinese people have been provoked to save the nation by the means of "industrial, business and academic wars." A great number of BSBs and MBAs have emerged as a result of the studying in Japan, America, and Europe of Chinese youth for nearly a hundred years. During the First World War, the commerce and industry of China obtained the opportunity to develop, and around the May Fourth Movement in 1919, the appeal of "science and democracy" was proposed and afterward put into practice. This paper is in a business history perspective; first, it takes as examples the information on advertising and window display in three publications, Chinese Business (1914-1916), Science (1915-1951) and Business News (1923-1925), to analyze the cooperation and interaction of Chinese industry and commerce scientists and business circles as well as the theoretical and practical progress they achieved, indicating the leading role of social economy and technology and verifying the scientific achievements of advertising.
Laura Warren Hill
Black Power's Confrontation with Kodak: The New Corporate Responsibility
In 1966, the FIGHT organizationa newly created Black Power entitydemanded that the Eastman Kodak Company, headquartered in Rochester, NY, hire and then train 600 "hard-core unemployed." Kodak, a Fortune 500 company that had avoided unionization and labor negotiations for more than eighty years, politely declined FIGHT's proposal. The demand and subsequent refusal sparked a year-long struggle, the likes of which the business world had never seen. Enlisting the support of Black Power activists, national church bodies, and the media, FIGHT pioneered and waged a shareholder's proxy strategy that forced Kodak to the bargaining table. In the process, FIGHT rewrote the rules of corporate responsibility.
Keith Hollingsworth and Cheryl Allen
J. B. Blayton: An Overview of His Impact on Atlanta's Black Business Community
Jesse Bee Blayton, Sr., was a prominent part of the Atlanta Black business community from the mid-1920s to the mid-1970s. Blayton, in solo ventures and with his partners L. D. Milton and C. R. Yates, was involved with practically every major business of Atlanta during this time period. Among his solo ventures, he was the first African American CPA in Georgia and the first African American owner of a radio station. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight the contributions of Blayton as a 1) Financier and Entrepreneur, 2) Accounting Mentor, and 3) Community Activist as an introductory study of his influence. The authors discuss how Blayton was symbolic of two major factors of Atlanta's Black business culture: the emphasis on self-reliance and the relationship with higher education institutions. By all accounts, Blayton, following in the footsteps of his mentor Heman Perry, used his business activities in a socially responsible manner by being instrumental in helping African Americans gain access to economic opportunities and wealth.
Fighting the Good Fight: Johnson & Johnson and the Origins of Duct Tape
Duct tape is a technology that emerged out of the unreserved engagement in military research and development demanded by World War II. Although seemingly low-tech and lowbrow in comparison to yet another product of military R & D, the World Wide Web, duct tape too has come to enjoy a kind of heroic, and perhaps even more pervasive presence in American life. This is particularly true after having been touted by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in 2003 as a key tool for everyday Americans wanting to construct their own defense against potential dirty bombs. Most discussions of the origins of this technology start and stop at the mention of Johnson & Johnson, the company believed to be its original developers. In this paper, I argue that Johnson & Johnson's own history, and indeed, the historical moment in which the company was established, are in themselves key components/manifestations of the mythology of duct tape as a technology that heals and preserves the individual, the machine, and even the state in the midst of the crises of war.
The Post-World War II Insurance Industry and the Reshaping of the American Landscape
During the years following World War II, the American landscape changed significantly. Widespread suburbanization was accompanied and aided by a number of other spatial transformations, including the "shopping center boom," the birth of the suburban corporate campus, and the construction of new infrastructural networks like interstate highways and natural gas pipelines. Most historical accounts cite either public demand or federal funding as the primary factors driving the postwar reworking of the nation's spatial landscape. This paper contributes to this conversation through a study of insurance industry investment practices during the years following World War II, arguing that insurance companies were instrumental players in reshaping the built environment of the United States during this period. Through massive investments in urban housing projects, suburban subdivisions, shopping centers, and infrastructure projects, postwar insurance companies became key participants in a large-scale restructuring of the American landscape. Insurers exercised a large degree of control over these investments and gained through them unprecedented influence over the living arrangements, consumption patterns, and daily movements of millions of Americans. This new influence substantially expanded the governing reach of insurance as an institution and fundamentally altered the postwar economy and social life.
Robert M. Hutchings
Ordering Nature: Capital's Victory over the Environment and the Creation of Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice
In the summer of 1945, the logic of capital triumphed over the chaos of nature in the orange groves of Florida. A small handful of scientists created frozen concentrated orange juice, finally bringing to fruition what had been a veritable pipe dream for so many involved in the Florida orange industry. For decades, growers, packers, and others fought with nature not merely over the basic agricultural problems of irrigation and fertility, but over the production of marketable fruit. Oranges had to have the right size, color, shape, and flavor to sell at good prices in northeastern markets, but most often growers had to settle for just two or three of those characteristics, and received corresponding prices. Thus, resolving the dissonance between capitalist enterprise, which insisted on factory-like efficiency, and nature, which utterly opposed such order, was increasingly the primary objective of all orange growers. That objective was realized in frozen concentrated orange juice. Concentrate at all stages of its history was a highly capitalized enterprise, and thus, from the perspective of the people who grew the oranges that became juice, capital defeated nature.
War Alcohol and Liquor Holidays: American Whiskey Distillers and the State during World War II
This paper examines the complicated relationship between American whiskey distillers and the state during World War II, when distillers converted their entire production to industrial alcohol to aid in the manufacture of smokeless gun powder and synthetic rubber. Distillers still sold whiskey, thanks to substantial reserves of aging whiskey, but liquor black markets returned with a vengeance when consumer demand exceeded expectations. The distillers campaigned for (and eventually won) "liquor holidays" from war production to replenish dwindling whiskey inventories, but the delay in getting such a reprieve, the state's ambivalent response to the problem of liquor shortages, and the liquor trade's own misdeeds damaged whiskey makers' reputation. Scholars have argued that the federal government steered clear of alcohol questions after Prohibition, but the state was hardly a neutral umpire. Not all of the state's calls went for the distillers, but in significant ways World War II strengthened the distillers' alliance with the state. This largely unexamined episode in World War II history reveals much about how national crises created both new opportunities and new hazards for a still morally suspect industry as it sought to rehabilitate its public image, recalibrate regulatory regimes, and shape its prospects for peacetime expansion.
The Paradox of Sameness in Diversity in the Modern American Supermarket
After the 1960s, American supermarkets came to offer a much wider array of foods. At the same time they consolidated, so that in every major metropolitan area just a few chains dominated most of the market. Supermarkets then paradoxically offered greater diversity and greater homogeneity to consumers. This paper explores the political economy and cultural ramifications of that paradox. In 1960, the average supermarket carried 5,900 items, but by 1998 that number had grown to 40,333. Increased global trade and immigration made many more of these choices available, and supermarkets deliberately employed greater diversity in their product offerings after they decided that ethnic foods could be an avenue for growth. As supermarket chains offered more products, they also consolidated and grabbed larger regional market shares. One-stop shopping took hold, and by the end of the twentieth century, Americans typically bought most of their foods at one massive superstore. Food businesses plying their wares within American supermarkets also consolidated and homogenized. The tortilla industry was but one example. GRUMA, based in Mexico, used the United States as a foothold for massive expansion, meaning consumers in Mexico, the United States, and even China ate the same tortillas over time.
Politics and the Dung Heap: The Arrival of Fertilizer in the Georgia Cotton Belt
In the late nineteenth century, a dizzying array of chemical fertilizers made a dramatic appearance in the Cotton Belt. In an effort to curb fraud and regulate the fertilizer trade, the state of Georgia passed inspection laws and created the first State Department of Agriculture to help see the laws out. The stamp of government authority on the new agricultural chemicals did not hurt the young fertilizer industry, but instead gave fertilizers official authenticity. This tenuous connection between government authority and industry helped usher in a new era of industrial agriculture, while it banished the basis of agrarian principles that had given the chemical theories birth.
The Regulation of Muddling Through: Debating the Holtwood Dam, 1939-1954
Between 1939 and 1954, the Holtwood Dam on the Susquehanna River was at the heart of a series of new regulatory efforts. In response to perceived abuses by electric utilities in the 1920s and the reform agenda of the New Deal in the 1930s, state and federal regulatory bodies attempted to implement several new regulations. This paper tracks these new regulations and the responses of electric utilities to the new world in which they found themselves. Studies of regulation have often treated cases like this as simple expressions of raw power, ideology, and interest group politics. I argue in this paper for an alternate interpretation. Drawing on Charles Lindblom's notion of "the science of muddling through," I suggest that we think of this regulatory history as a contingent and imperfect attempt by various actors to implement their visions of what constituted a good society. "The regulation of muddling through," I argue, offers new perspectives for understanding regulation then and now.
Tobias Alexander Jopp
The Welfare State Evolves: German Knappschaften, 1854-1923
This essay reviews the German miners' model of mutual insurance from its introduction in 1854 to its basic reformation in 1923. The core feature of this insurance was the provision of cash benefits for compensation of income losses resulting from temporary sickness, permanent disability, or death of the breadwinner. This essay aims to give a condensed overview of how the welfare state evolved from the perspective of miners' insurance. On the one hand, evidence of increasing generosity adds to the organizational analysis; on the other hand, evidence on increasing financial distress sheds some light on the problems of a maturing pay-as-you-go–based scheme.
Mixed Signals: How the Recombination and Rediscovery of Mathematical, Material, and Architectural Innovations Shaped the Signal Processing Industry, 1948-2008
Signal processing is the science of identifying, analyzing, manipulating, and extracting physical signals such as audio, video, images, and sensory data in real-time. Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) are semiconductor chips that are the core engines of a diverse array of products including cell phones, digital cameras, high-definition televisions, network equipment, global-positioning systems, and communications satellites. DSPs account for $27 billion or 10 percent of global semiconductor revenues. Although DSPs are technologically and economically significant, the evolution of innovation in the signal processing industry is relatively unexplored. This paper traces the commercialization of signal processing since its inception in 1948, when the following three breakthrough innovations occurred. Information theory, a mathematical innovation, introduced a conceptual foundation for designing DSPs. Transistors, a material innovation, provided the physical building blocks for creating DSPs. Stored-program computing, an architectural innovation, offered an integrated framework for recombining mathematical and material innovations to produce functional DSPs. An analysis of sixty years of subsequent innovation in DSPs reveals that: (1) some fundamental mathematical innovations are actually rediscoveries of earlier inventions; (2) architectural innovations often lag mathematical innovations by decades due to the technological constraints of material innovations; and (3) architectural innovations frequently reconfigure industry alliances and open new markets.
Developing Technological Capabilities: Technology Transfers and the Korean Synthetic Fiber Chaebols in the 1960s-1970s
Capturing the challenges firms face in less developed countries, Nathan Rosenberg (1982) emphasized that technology transfer is "an ongoing activity," the success of which depends on "the domestic capacity to alter, modify, and adapt in a thousand different ways." Conceptualization of that process has resulted in what is referred to in the literature as "technological capabilities," or the acquisition of capabilities in investment, production, and innovation to manage technology and claim mastery. This paper applies this analytical framework to the Korean synthetic fiber chaebols, which helped the textile industry spearhead Korea's economic takeoff in the 1960s-1970s. In the acquisition of technological capabilities, corporate differences were prominent in the investment stage. Basic and detailed engineering of plant projects influenced the firms' choice of technology the most, as they refer not only to the core technology but also to the peripheral technology necessary to make the technology operational in plant settings. The case studies find that detailed engineering may matter as much as basic engineering; that even under the stringent conditions of the Korean industrialization era, the chaebols had options in selecting foreign suppliers of technology; but that once these were established, they tended to persist over time as the chaebols expanded and diversified their production.
From Soldier to Salaryman: How A Change in Military Compensation Revolutionized Warfare
Perhaps the most unheralded yet most significant revolutionary in military affairs is the change in the compensation of military professionals. For hundreds of years soldiers and navies were compensated on a profit participation system. They were effectively entrepreneurs of conflict. With the development of the modern state, this compensation scheme came to an end, and soldiers were provided with steady incomes and pensions. At the same time medals were invented to replace profits in order to incentivize and reward soldiers for bravery. The new compensation scheme would, however, radically alter the behavior of soldiers and the nature of warfare. Whereas in earlier times battles would be limited by the calculation of profits, today medals reward risk-taking and bravery independently of success on the battlefield.
Laura D. Kelley
Erin's Enterprise: An Example of Social Entrepreneurship
While more attention has been paid to the economic advancement of Irish male immigrants in the antebellum era, little has been written in this context about Irish female immigrants. Sparseness of data is in part to be blamed. The 1850 census enumerators were not required to list the occupations of women, and therefore, rarely did. Furthermore, the types of work available to poor women in general were severely circumscribed. By drawing on Catholic Church records, census data, and diaries, this paper will explore how Irish females reconciled limited opportunity, outsider status, epidemics, and other hardships of immigrant life with the need to subsidize household income or survive on their own. I argue that, contrary to the notion that the poor are without agency, Irish women showed remarkable enterprise and relied on a tradition that recognized that the strength of an individual depends on that individual's personal contribution to her community. An illustration of this type of Irish social entrepreneurship is the life of Margaret Haughery, and my case study of her life exemplifies that Irish women were highly skilled and creative in their use of the marketplace both to earn money and to fulfill altruistic and familial goals.
Religion and Managerial Decision Making: How the Oldest Company in the United States Survived for over 300 Years through the Implementation of Quaker Principles in Its Mission
In 1702, Joseph Rhoads established a tanning company in Marple Township, Pennsylvania, that would go through eight generations of family members and is still in operation today. The company, J. E. Rhoads & Sons, eventually transformed into a manufacturer of conveyor belts. How has such a small, relatively unknown company not only survived for over three hundred years but actually thrived? Through the examination of the original corporate records, the corporate mission was found to be the cornerstone of the firm's longevity. Based on Quaker doctrine, this mission greatly influenced J. E. Rhoads & Sons when making decisions regarding organizational structure, employees, competition, and customers.. However, their mission also created challenges for the firm, as they lost income because of their refusal to sell to any business that was a part of the alcohol, tobacco, or defense industries.
Development Credit Corporations: Not-for-Profit Development Finance Institutions in the Postwar United States
The development credit corporation (DCC) was an institutional innovation of the postwar period. DCCs were publicly chartered but privately run not-for-profit institutions that provided long-term loans to small companies that could not qualify for such financing on conventional terms. DCCs extended this support to small manufacturers and others firms selling to out-of-state customers, thereby creating additional jobs in the DCC's home state. DCCs were popular in areas of the country where the decline of established industries led to efforts to create new sources of employment. Maine set up the first DCC in 1949, and other northeastern states quickly followed suit. Downsizing in textiles and other long-established manufacturing sectors created a need for new jobs in the Northeast. DCCs were popular as well in the traditionally agricultural states of the South, which campaigned in the postwar years to build up their industrial base. States of the Midwest experiencing population declines in rural, farm-based locales also established DCCs. Companies dependent on the overall level of activity in the local economy organized and supported the DCCs. These firms included commercial banks, utility providers, and retailers. In seeking to promote the growth of the local economy, rather than generating profits, DCCs resembled other types of not-for-profit development institutions in earlier eras of American history.
Gambling on Grapes: Management, Ideology and Politics in California Agribusiness
From the Great Depression of the 1930s to the Great Recession of the mid-1970s, California growers reduced competition and stabilized prices through a combination of private consolidation and public assistance. Ironically, the process of regularizing production and the farm economy made agriculturalists more vulnerable to organized labor and labor relations legislation. Despite growers' reliance on state support in their battle to tame market instability, agribusiness employers espoused an anti-statist labor ideology to avoid labor relations legislation at both the state and federal levels. However, by 1968 the United Farm Workers Union had turned farm workers' exclusion from the National Labor Relations Act into a liability. The United Farm Workers Union became a potent foe by bringing the farm labor debate out of the fields and into the supermarkets and transportation hubs with an international boycott. To escape the boycott and reinstate orderly marketing, growers temporarily submitted to collective bargaining contracts and aggressively pursued labor relations legislation. But even as agribusiness employers were forced to deal with unionism, they steadfastly refused to disassociate modern farm management from the ideology of agricultural exceptionalism.
Mitchell Larson and John Wilson
Strategic Responses to Economic Integration: The Case of Barclays Bank, 1973-2003
From 1973 to 2003 British banking underwent a series of dramatic changes, providing fascinating insights into the interactions among strategy, structure, ownership and performance (SSOP). Although few SSOP studies have been conducted in banking, a corporate micro-perspective shows how Barclays Bank responded to the global financial integration process from the early 1970s to the middle 2000s. Our study can provide valuable insights into banks' responses to the integration process and the growing impact of international competition on strategic decision making. The point of departure for this paper will be the impact that economic integration had on the formation of new markets; given that this process should be regarded as a (somewhat underestimated) cornerstone of our understanding of the dynamics of capitalism, it will also become apparent that a range of other factors influenced especially strategy and structure, including global tendencies in the financial sector, the liberalization of financial markets, and a series of traumatic crises that severely affected attitudes within and about banks. After tracking the fundamental change from a highly cartelized UK banking sector before the 1980s toward a more fully integrated financial sector in the post-1990 period, we assesses the relative importance of the key drivers of change.
Marketization, Globalization, Financialization: The Fragility of the U.S. Economy in an Era of Global Change
In the 1980s and 1990s the rise of the "New Economy business model" (NEBM), characterized by marketization and globalization, enhanced the potential of the U.S. economy to upgrade its innovative capability in response to international competition. (By marketization, I mean that competitive market processes play a heightened role in the allocation of inputs to a company and the sale of outputs by a company. By globalization, I mean the breaking down of national barriers that face a company in the movement of goods, people, and money around the world.) In the presence of marketization and globalization, however, the achievement of equitable and stable economic growth in the United States required more, not less, coordinated investment by business and government in developing the capabilities of the U.S. labor force as a whole and in ensuring the availability of new employment opportunities. In the 2000s the financialization of the U.S. business corporation undermined the innovative potential of marketization and globalization. The manifestation of the financialization of the U.S. economy is the obsession of corporate executives with distributing "value" to shareholders, especially in the form of stock repurchases, even at the expense of investment in innovation and the creation of U.S. employment opportunities. In this paper I analyze how the marketization and the globalization of corporate resource allocation contributed to the success of the NEBM in international competition. Then I show how the financialization of corporate resource allocation under the dominant U.S. business model that arose out of the processes of marketization and globalization is now resulting in a massive misallocation of resources and that, as a result, the U.S. economy has become a very fragile economy. Under the "Old Economy business model" (OEBM), the industrial corporation performed critical collective functions in ensuring economic security in employment and retirement to U.S. households that it no longer performs. Under NEBM there is a much greater need for the government to perform these collective functions. Yet the trend of government involvement in the provision of economic security has moved in just the opposite direction. It will require, I contend, a radical transformation of U.S. economic institutions and government policies to provide equitable and stable growth.
Turning Crisis to Advantage: Depression, War, and the Attack on Chain Retailing
The battle between independent retailers and chain stores in the United States goes back as far as 1869. Since the turn of the twentieth century, independent storekeepers and the wholesalers and manufacturers who rely on them have sought to enlist state and federal governments in the fight against the chains. These efforts have been most successful at times of crisis. World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II all led to government policies that had no direct link to retailing, but that could be wielded to the disadvantage of the chains. These policies generally sought to limit price competition in the service of other goals. Incidental to these purposes, they sheltered less efficient independent merchants from larger competitors, protecting the independents' profit margins and retarding the advance of chain retailing.
Susan Ingalls Lewis
"No Business Extant in which Women Are Not Employed": Businesswomen in Cities across the United States, 1840-1885
Using The Employments of Women, Virginia Penny's 1863 study of female occupations in the United States, as a jumping off point, my paper explores the variety of businesses owned or managed by women in cities across the United States between 1840 and 1885. I compare Penny's findings with my own research in the R.G. Dun & Co. credit ledgers, presenting evidence from over twenty mid-nineteenth-century communities. Although most female proprietors evaluated for credit did operate small millinery establishments, fancy and dry goods stores, or groceries, nineteenth-century American women also entered numerous other ventures, as reflected in both sources. However, while Penny discussed such small business and self-employment opportunities as breeding and selling canaries, preparing and marketing botanic medicines, public speaking, and hairdressing, the Dun reports identify female proprietors brewing beer, selling wallpaper, managing hotels, manufacturing coffins, and operating hardware stores. I conclude that because of her focus on employments for native-born, single women without much capital, Penny misses the business opportunities open to immigrant wives and widows. I also argue that these two important sources for women's business history should be seen as additive rather than conflicting, reflecting two distinct populations of nineteenth-century businesswomen.
The China Trade for the Chinese Merchants in Malaya and Singapore during Decolonization, 1945-1965
This paper looks at how the Chinese merchants in Malaya and Singapore (known collectively as "British Malaya") conducted their trade with China at a time when British Malaya was increasingly decolonized. The Cold War had already started with the end of World War II in 1945 but the communist insurgency (known as the "Malayan Emergency") in British Malaya in 1948 and the proclamation of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 complicated matters further for the merchants. In this paper I intend to look at the China trade from 1945 to 1965 from the point of view of the Chinese merchants in Malaya and Singapore. What were their reactions to the trade embargo by the British and local leaders in Malaya and Singapore? Did the embargo affect the trade and livelihood of the Chinese merchants in British Malaya and if so, how badly were they affected? Did they try to seek redress from the British colonial authorities and the local leaders? Did the Chinese merchants seize any opportunity to try to trade with China on their own?
Social Responsibility and Management Professionalization in America, 1910-1929
In 1914, Louis Brandeis published Business: A Profession. By the 1920s, Harvard and other business schools had in fact begun to treat business education as a form of professional education. This paper looks at the development of professionalization in business and the ways in which executives, business educators, and social critics of the corporation saw professionalization as an answer to the problem of social responsibility.
Selling the Family Silver: Ownership and Foreign Investment in German Family Firms in the Late Twentieth Century
The German term "Mittelstand" refers to family-influenced, closely held companies with a long-term business strategy. Building on a sample of over 300 German businesses, I analyze the corporate governance of these businesses in the 1960s, which was centered on a highly concentrated ownership structure and built on the assumption that the business is a part of the multi-generational family heritage. "Selling the family silver" was therefore considered a personal defeat. Despite the politically influential concept of the Mittelstand, the changes in the market structure since the 1970s forced many companies eventually to open up to external, mostly American investors. When selling was unavoidable, the first contacts and negotiations with the investors were interlaced by mutual misunderstandings and different conceptions of business ownership. By comparing two qualitative case studies, I examine the process of selling out, which adds to a better understanding of the family business and of ownership as a culturally embedded concept.
Brian P. Luskey
Central Intelligence Agencies: Negotiating Market Transactions and the Commodification of Labor in the Nineteenth-Century City
In this paper, I analyze the cultural significance of the "intelligence office" or labor agency, an ubiquitous urban institution in the nineteenth century, in which agents, workers, and employers negotiated market transactions, the commodification of labor, and the legitimacy of capitalism as an organizing principle of American society. For a fee, intelligence office proprietors would connect prospective employees with employers. The meaning of this transaction was at the core of the cultural problem that the intelligence office posed, and for many urban Americans this economic deal was unjust. While the agent pursued profits like brokers and other intermediaries in the economy, he appeared to prey upon friendless immigrants and helpless women. Newspapermen, elite women looking for servants, and ministers criticized the intelligence agent because he represented for them the worst excesses of capitalism. The presence of these scapegoats made the acceptance of the economic transactions and social relations of capitalism, based as they were on the commodification of waged workers, more palatable to many Americans.
What Happened to the Company That Dix Made?
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century progressive employers tried to coax recalcitrant workers into cooperative partners with a menu of corporate welfare programs. One of those employers, Henry A. Dix, took a leap that few contemplated. At the end of 1922 he decided to give his million-dollar business to his employees. His bombshell announcement drew headlines across the country, and forever marked him as "the man who gave his business to his employees." The ownership transfer scheme sought to make the welfare of the workforce the raison d'être of the firm. It raised the possibility of building a capitalist society quite different from the one that emerged in the twentieth century. This paper examines the Dix transfer as it was initially conceived and as it worked out over the course of the next quarter century. The Dix experiment speaks to the construction of the modern corporation, shedding light on the relationship between the purpose of business and the form of business, on the difficulty of pursuing non-monetary objectives within the corporate structure, and on the ways in which social hierarchies of class and gender shaped constructions of corporate ownership and management.
The Business History of Economic Development: Economic Development Agencies and the Entrepreneurial Ethos in Modern Government
This paper relates the history of a regional economic development agency and explores the role of such agencies in linking private enterprise to local and state governments. Economic development agencies have proliferated at the local, state, national, and international levels in recent decades, yet historians know relatively little about these agencies and their connection to broader historical themes. This paper uses a case study of one economic development agency to offer a fine-grained business history of economic development policy. The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board [IRRRB] was a development agency established by the state of Minnesota in the 1940s to assist northeast Minnesota's beleaguered iron mining region. Although the IRRRB was imagined as a statist, public welfare planning agency, by the 1980s and 1990s the IRRRB shifted to emphasize a pro-business development model that encouraged entrepreneurship in the region and within the agency. The IRRRB thus mirrored the late twentieth-century shift in many government agencies toward an ethos that valorized entrepreneurship and practices that attempted to make government more like a business. The primary research for this paper comes from official IRRRB records.
Jason D. Martinek
Business at the Margins of Capitalism: Charles H. Kerr and Company and the Progressive Era Socialist Movement
Although historians typically view the history of social protest as discrete from business history, small business enterprises, especially in the publishing industry, have served significant roles in social movements since the American Revolution. Many professional activists were, contrary to conventional wisdom, business people. The goods and services that they sold just happened to be meant to overthrow the status quo. In this essay, I explore the business of social protest through a case study of Charles H. Kerr and Company, a Chicago-based publisher that specialized in disseminating radical literature for the socialist movement.
David L. Mason
Homeownership Is Colorblind: The Role of African American Savings and Loans in Home Finance, 1880-1980
Since the 1840s, African American men and women have used thrifts to achieve the goals of homeownership and financial security. These businesses appealed to blacks for many reasons, including their ease of formation, their reliance on mutual cooperation among the members, and their image as "self-help" institutions. During the early twentieth century, the number of African American-owned thrifts rose significantly, playing an important role in improving the level of black homeownership. In the late 1940s, these institutions formed their own trade association to advance solutions to the problems of discrimination that blacks faced in housing markets. They promoted the formation of minority-owned thrifts and the banning of race-based criteria in loan applications by lenders. Although regulators generally supported these goals, achieving them proved to be very difficult, and it was only in the late 1960s that legislation outlawing the worst abuses was put in place.
House/Work: Business-like Networks among Domestic Servants in New York, 1880-1940
This paper will look at the strategies working-class immigrant domestics in turn-of-the-century New York used to define themselves as workers and to build a sense of working-class community while living and working in middle-class neighborhoods. These efforts took place within gendered, class, and ethnic contexts that were similar to those drawn on by other working-class women, even though domestics were excluded from traditional unions. I argue that these working-class women sought to define the middle-class home as a workplace and a place of business even as their middle-class employers strictly regarded the home as private space. The bonds of community that immigrant domestics forged among one another and with the wider working-class ethnic community were vital to their efforts to determine their own working conditions.
Andrew Meade McGee
Confronting Automation: Enlisting Economists to Address Great Society Fears of Technology and Unemployment
In the mid-1960s federal policymakers, elected officials, and labor and corporate leaders confronted an economy marked by the increasing prevalence of computer-directed machines that could operate assembly lines, perform secretarial tasks, and seemingly even supplant the need to rely on the human oversight of white-collar managers. A growing "automation panic" gripped the press and the American public. How to maintain America's remarkable economic prosperity in the face of new machines that threatened to render millions unemployed? Interest groups demanded government action even as they clashed over how best to ensure that the wheels of national employment and consumerism continued to spin. Seeking authoritative guidance on how to balance an economy and labor force increasingly comprised of machines that could take the place of men, the Lyndon Johnson administration turned to economists (both inside and outside the government) for advice. This paper seeks to frame the mid-1960s debate over the effects of automation within its temporal and political context, looking at the role played by those economists engaged in "the business of policy-making." Their heavily contested (and at times contradictory) contributions to the national debate over automation would have significant policy ramifications and help shape the emergence of a post-industrial American service economy.
William W. McMillan
Barriers to Entry, Technical Momentum, and the Creation of the Jicamarca Radio Observatory
The growth of radio astronomy in the mid-twentieth century demonstrates evolution of enterprises competing for limited resources, the quest for "market" niches, competitive advantage, and the lowering of barriers to entry. The rapid and relatively smooth development of the Jicamarca Radio Observatory is offered as a case study in technical momentum overcoming barriers to entry in a field that was a few years earlier the domain of only the most professionally and academically connected individuals and organizations. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. National Bureau of Standards and the Instituto Geofisico del Peru built at Jicamarca, Peru, a massive radio observatory to study the nature of the ionosphere near the Earth's equator. As an ambitious concern in a competitive environment, the NBS project would likely have had a different fate if undertaken nearer to 1950. Yet in the late 1950s, under the direction of a young NBS engineer named Kenneth L. Bowles, Jicamarca was constructed quickly, without a great deal of contention for resources. The momentum that enabled this relatively quick success derived from multiple sources, both social and technical: the maturity of technology, availability of surplus military equipment and facilities, society's Sputnik-sparked interest in science, a peaceful period during which ground-breaking experiments could be undertaken cooperatively in equatorial regions, growing importance of long-distance radio communication, availability of talented engineers, and the previous success of radio observatories that left open such niches as investigations of the ionosphere. The creation of Jicamarca serves as an exemplar of an enterprise benefiting from social and technical momentum in order to overcome barriers to entry to a developing field.
American Silver in China: Trade Dollars and the Money of Empire
The decades after the Civil War witnessed struggles over the money supply, with rival political factions favoring a currency of gold, silver, greenbacks, or some combination of these three. The problem, of course, was that the growing abundance of domestic silver, combined with events overseas, sent the price of silver ever lower. Congress demonetized silver in 1873, but it did something else that is rarely mentioned: it sanctioned the creation of a silver "trade dollar" meant for commerce with China. The United States was acquiring a taste for empire, one in which unwanted surplus silver could be palmed off on other countries. In the process, these countries might also adopt the dollar as their unit of account, bringing them further into the orbit of the United States. This paper examines the rise and fall of the trade dollar. Though the trade dollar was initially a success, Chinese authorities ultimately frustrated its adoption, rightly fearing that its widespread use would permit the United States a far greater degree of leverage. In the end, the trade dollars flowed back to the United States, where they became a kind of pariah currency, melted down or forced into the hands of low-paid laborers in company towns. Nonetheless, the silver trade dollar anticipated much of the monetary history of the late nineteenth-century United States: the denigration of silver as a domestic currency, the embrace of the gold standard, and a growing aggression toward countries or colonies that relied heavily or exclusively on silver as their principal currency.
Toward a Business History of Globalization
This is a paper about how the history of the maritime business world in the twentieth century translates into an empirical history of globalization. The paper addresses three questions: How were the webs that made possible the close and constant inter-penetration of global and local effectively the definition of globalizationconstructed? Why did these global systems work? And how did this history proceed, or how should we historicize globalization in the twentieth century? To answer the first question I stress the pervasive, intertwined, and composite character of maritime port, shipping, and trading networks. To answer the second question I look to the hybridity of identities and realms of action that enabled maritime men and maritime companies to mobilize networks and resources at both ends of the local-global spectrum, and thus to effect globalization. To answer the third question, I challenge current paradigms and argue for a history of globalization, albeit sensitive to its mutations, occurring across all of the twentieth century.
Profiting from the American Garden: The Value of Nineteenth-Century Produce
In the provision of producefruit and vegetables purchased by the consumer in what nineteenth-century growers referred to as their "green" statethe geography of production and consumption took on special significance. In the purveying of produce, there was (and still is) strong impetus to provide both the most "fresh" food and the most readily available, even, or especially, when it would be "out of season" for a specific geographic market. For nineteenth-century growers, reading the market and understanding the geography of food provisionin both deciding what to grow and when, where, and how to sellwere critical to their success. As a very crude rule, growers at greater distances from specific markets found their advantage in seasonal timing, particularly in the ability to provide specific produce to a specific place earlier in the year than it could be grown there, while local growers had the advantage of freshness, where goods could travel, literally, from garden to market on the same day. Thus, the calculus of value behind the market generalizations were complex and revealed experimentation and innovation in the attempt to capitalize on the products of nature.
Not Working a Smile: A Sociohistorical Look at Black Men's Underemployment in American Service Businesses
This presentation provides a historical view of the effect of the growing demand for soft skills and interpersonal attributes on African American men's chances for employment in the service sector of the American economy. There is the widely held view that black men lack the ability to interact with others in an amiable manner. As one business owner responded to researchers, "If they don't smile, don't hire them." For decades black men were able to find jobs in steel and auto factories in northern cities and sustain middle-class lifestyles for their families; but those physical, labor-intensive jobs that required few pleasantries have largely disappeared. Now, job training centers in many hard-hit cities train men in acquiring soft-skills and removing the macho, game face they are known for. But moving from factory-face to friendly-face is easier said than learned for many of these men. Furthermore, the business literature and current training practices largely ignore the centuries of scrutiny and ridicule African American men have endured regarding their looks and mannerisms.
The Politics of Business in Canada during the 1930s: Charles Avery Dunning and the Limits of the Party System
This paper examines the politics of big business in Canada during the 1930s through the experience of Charles Avery Dunning (1886-1958). A farmers' advocate and a progressive politician in Saskatchewan in the 1910s and 1920s, Dunning emerged as a political figurehead of big business during the 1930s. Developing wide connections with leading Canadian business interests, including the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), Dunning and his business associates sought to marshal progressive rhetoric and non-partisan tactics in pursuit of political aims that included government retrenchment and amalgamation of the country's two railway systems under CPR management. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of their political agenda remained constrained by party politics and popular opinion, and Dunning became re-integrated into the party system, becoming Dominion Minister of Finance following the Liberal electoral victory in 1935. Although this gave big business a representative in the cabinet, Dunning's ability to shape public policy remained limited in the context of the continuing Depression and the social democratic alternatives that superceded the older "progressivism" of his worldview.
Money as Industrial Waste: The Business of Recycling Greenbacks at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1870s-1970s
From its early days, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was conscious of the environmental impact and waste resulting from its operations, especially when it came to dealing with scrap currency paper and notes redeemed by the Treasury. As a result, the BEP continually tried to minimize waste by reducing scrap, reusing old notes, and recycling paper by turning it into pulp that could be sold on the open market. Looking at the first hundred years of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's handling of waste currency paper, it is evident that the BEP basically followed the now popular maxim, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." The BEP always sought to reduce the amount of currency paper wasted by minimizing spoilage in production through the use of technology. The BEP also invented a way to reuse currency paper through its process of physically laundering old money that allowed its reissue. Finally, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing continually tried to find ways to recycle currency paper into a marketable product that could be used again.
Garden Spot of the Universe: The Commercial Transformation of the Georgia Peach
Southern peaches spent much of the nineteenth century growing from seed in haphazard plots, to be consumed by hogs and humans living within a few miles. But by the start of the twentieth century, Prunus persica found itself in thousand-acre grids, shipped to urban consumers on the other end of the continent. This transformation sprang from the ideals and activities of a group of horticulturists who represented the peach as a quintessentially New South cropa sophisticated, permanent alternative to the wasteful ways of Old South cotton culture. These horticulturists promulgated a vision of a landscape unified in beauty and productivity; studied weather patterns, soil, and insects to refine cultivation techniques; and bred and imported new cultivars: sturdy, uniform peaches designed to endure long transport and still entice buyers. This paper examines and explains the contours of this transition by profiling the southern horticulturists who labored in sometimes contradictory ways to make Georgia the "garden spot of the universe." As it turns out, feeding the denizens of "the universe" would require something more like a factory.
A Residential Mortgage Market in Crisis: Something to Learn from the Swedish Case
In the early 1990s Sweden experienced its most severe financial crisis of modern times. Because this economic crisis originated in the real estate market, Sweden's management of the event often has been brought forth in comparison to and as a pattern for the solution of the subprime crisis. And there is a lot to learn from the Swedish case. But often in the discussion comparing the two, some important regulatory differences are forgotten. Regulations on the Swedish residential mortgage market were able to protect it from some of the effects of the crisis. In this essay the credit risk in the Swedish residential mortgage market for self-contained or semi-contained housing will be discussed, and a short comparison will be made between the Swedish and the American residential mortgage markets. The aim is to elucidate some features of the Swedish residential mortgage market that make it a more stable market than the American market.
Julia Cathleen Ott
Supporting the Price of Patriotism: Federal Interventions in the Bond Market, 1917-1929
This paper recovers a forgotten precursor to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve's most important tool for executing monetary policy. Sixteen years before the Banking Act of 1933 established the FOMC, Congress authorized the Treasury Department to launch a special state-administered fund to buy Liberty bonds in order to support their price in the secondary markets. At that time, policymakers' concerns were largely politicalrather than economicin nature. During the First World War, declines in the market value of Liberty bonds presented an enormous public relations problem for Woodrow Wilson's administration. Wartime propaganda had cast Liberty bond purchases as votes of confidence in the war cast by loyal citizen-investors. Policymakers fretted that as the "financially ignorant" disposed of their bonds "at a loss," they would turn against "not only Government bonds but against all kinds of securities" and lose faith in political democracy, along with private property and financial markets. Attempting to refute criticism and to stem the tide of bond redemptions, the Treasury Department called into question the efficacy of privately administered securities markets and impinged upon their "free" operations. The First World War inspired novel policy experiments and state incursions into the financial markets.
Whiteness and Women Bankers: The Role of Women's Banking Departments at the Bank of Italy, 1921-1930
In the early 1920s, The Bank of Italy (later the Bank of America) opened women's banking departments in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Women's departments were created to attract female wage earners, businesswomen, and consumers by appealing to the specific needs and desires of women. However, the Bank of Italy's women's departments were not solely designed to attract female clients. They were also part of bank founder A. P. Giannini's strategy for transforming the Bank of Italy into a state-wide branch banking network. As the bank spread from San Francisco into Southern California, Giannini sought to expand the bank's clientele beyond its Italian immigrant base. Women bankers were an integral part of this successful expansion. The directors of the women's departments used their links to women's clubs and benevolent associations to attract new customers. Additionally, the presence of well-connected women bankers aided in attracting a variety of middle-class and native-born customers, not just female account-holders, because of the perceived connections between middle-class women, whiteness, and respectability. The directors also worked with groups such as the Italy-America Society to forge an image of Italian Americans that positioned them as fully white during an era when the racial status of Italians was contested.
Do State and Politics Matter? The Case of Nissan's Direct Investment in Great Britain and Its Implications for British Leyland
This essay looks at a quite neglected side of the history of foreign direct investment (FDI) and multinationals: the political and diplomatic negotiations that often surround FDI projects and their wider implications for both the investors and the indigenous companies that might be affected by the entrance of new competitors. From this perspective, the case study analyzed here is of great relevance: it is the first direct investment made by a Japanese carmaker in Europe, and it was negotiated from 1981 to 1984 between Nissan and the British government led by Margaret Thatcher, which was also at the time the owner of the "national champion" British Leyland (BL). Funding BL while attracting a new powerful competitor seemed at the time and still appears today as a very contradictory strategy. The essay will show, however, that this strategy was coherent with the shift in political support from the ailing national carmaker to its first-tier suppliers. It will also provide some new insights into the more general debate concerning the decline of BL and the role that the state and politics have played in that story.
Resilient Dependents: Scale and Control in the Retail History of Socialist Eastern Europe
Examining sources from four comparatively East European countries (Yugoslavia, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia), this study analyzes the durability of small-scale retailing alongside much-vaunted, attention-grabbing experiments in "modern" store design. State planners and enterprise managers laid heavy emphasis on the importance of the large department store and the supermarket (and on self-service more generally) as institutions that could be imported to the socialist context without major threats to socialist values. The new rhetoric of modernization put small stores in an uncomfortable position: if pronouncements about the wave of the future were to be believed, then implicitly these small-scale outlets were essentially relics, dragging down the national economy with their inefficiency and "backwardness." If they were not to be ignored entirely (as was sometimes the case), such contradictions had to be reconciled, if possible. The presentation explores, in economic, political, and cultural terms, the trajectories of these small-scale retailing forms, emphasizing both the tensions that they encountered and the possible reasons for their persistence (including, for example, state subsidization of less productive small units, the lack of capital for investment in the new grand-scale models, consumer expectations, bureaucratic inertia, and connections to the urban-services and provisioning logics of state socialism).
Randall L. Patton
Planning for Progress: Lockheed, Business Voluntarism, and Desegregation in the 1960s
Much has been written about the Civil Rights movement, its successes, failures, remaining challenges, strategies, and leaders. The one aspect of the civil rights revolution that has received the least attention is employment opportunity. Frank Dobbin (Inventing Equal Opportunity) has recently highlighted the role of personnel professionals in defining equal employment opportunity in the wake of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. Dobbin recognized the pivotal role of defense contractors, especially Lockheed, and the long-underestimated significance of voluntary programs such as Plans for Progress. Hugh Gordon, Lockheed personnel manager in the 1960s and 1970s, played a key role in these developments. Gordon helped develop and implement Lockheed's desegregation policies, founded the Atlanta Merit Employers Association, and eventually traveled around the South (and, indeed, the nation) encouraging other business groups to set up similar organizations in the mid- and late 1960s. Interviews with Gordon and others, and Gordon's papers, offer a revealing look into the origins of workplace integration. Gordon liked to remind listeners of Dr. King's famous injunction that freedom means little to a person without a job. Gordon's career was in many ways a testimony to the private sector's effort to address this concern without admitting the other half of King's formulation. King had also, of course, argued that "a radical redistribution of economic resources" would be necessary to achieve economic justice. Gordon and his colleagues tried to expand job opportunities without any significant restructuring by taking control of the process.
Coining Foliage into Gold: Speculation, Value, and the Mulberry Bubble, 1838-1839
In the winters of 1838 and 1839, advertisements for the Morus multicaulis mulberry tree clogged the pages of American commercial and agricultural newspapers. With its vast, copious leaves, and its useful habit of sprouting wherever a cutting had been dropped, multicaulis seemed to promise a fast-growing wealth at a time when other forms of wealth had failed. Speculators crippled by the Panic of 1837 dazzled themselves with visions of an American silk industry and bought thousands of trees to supply billions of anticipated silkworms. In October of 1839, however, the bubble popped. Within a few months the multicaulis mulberry became a byword for folly, an emblem of the speculative mania that had characterized the late 1830s. Investigating multicaulis's public career, in this paper I will illuminate the connections between the manias that marked agricultural improvement in the 1830s and 1840s and the wider instabilities of the antebellum economy. In particular, I will examine the interactions between the physical form of the plant and the requirements of speculative capitalism. The paper will argue that sold by the bud, the joint, and the inch, multicaulis became both accessible to particular kinds of calculation and projection and, ultimately, vulnerable to challenge and devaluation.
Edwin J. Perkins
Writing the Script for Survival and Resurgence: RKO Studio and the Impact of the Great Depression
This paper focuses on the management strategies of the RKO movie studio (Radio-Keith-Orphem) during the height of the Great Depression. The source material for this study is, I believe, genuinely unique. In a vast archive of movie memorabilia, I discovered two file cabinets that contained the business correspondence of the studio's top management for a period of approximately eighteen months starting in early 1932. The major movie studios in the 1930s had dual headquarters. The New York offices managed the distribution and exhibition ends of the business, and they handled the most important financial affairs. In Hollywood, studio heads were in charge of the manufacturing units for feature films, shorts, and newsreels. During these trying times, the RKO studio head, David Selznick, convinced his superiors to maintain the core institutional capabilities of the firm's production facilities and ride out the crisis. His plan succeeded brilliantly.
Marketing the American Way: The Failed Campaign To Sell the American Economic System, 1946-1950
This paper tells the story of a surprising failure. In 1946, the U.S. government joined top advertising firms to "sell" Americans on free enterprise. But despite a multimillion-dollar advertising effort, the "American Economic System" campaign fizzled. How could the same people who had successfully sold war bonds then fail to sell the economic system? I argue that the late 1940s were a time of transitionbefore advertisers understood how to sell policy ideas to Americans. When officials and businesspeople tried to sell free enterprise using ads that delivered ham-handed propaganda, Americans resisted. If policy was going to be sold using advertising, then Americans would insist on being treated like the political consumers they had become. They forced advertisers to stop selling ideas like products and instead use products to sell ideasthrough the images created in brand advertising. In other words, when people consumed a branded product like Coca-Cola, they would also imbibe a message about the company, country, and economic system that produced it. Indeed, only by transforming citizenship into a lifestyle to be consumedAmerica the brandcould businesspeople and government officials convince audiences to buy into their vision of the American Way.
William H. Phillips
The Democratization of Invention in the American South: Antebellum and Postbellum Technology Markets in the United States
Patenting expanded rapidly across the postbellum South as its transportation network filled in and city growth extended markets. This was consistent with the findings of Kenneth Sokoloff and Zorina Khan, who demonstrated the elastic supply of patentable ideas in early America. Successful innovation required that inventors could or did sell their property rights through "assignment" to those who commercialized new technology. The assignment characteristics of 1912 southern patents were examined for this essay. Southern "border" state patents had a higher rate of marketable assignments than those issued to residents in the Deep South. Greater commercialization of patents in border state cities accounted for most of this difference.
Andrew Popp and Robin Holt
Entrepreneurship as Being: Phenomenological Approaches to the Historical Study of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship studies have moved away from prescriptive, traits-based approaches to the entrepreneurial subject and had developed an increasing emphasis on entrepreneurial narratives and narrative-based methodologies. However, the narrativization of entrepreneurship studies remains directed toward the isolation of a distinct and unique entrepreneurial person and process. Conversely, business and economic history, looking to economics for conceptual tools, have tended to remain focused on the entrepreneur's function within economy and society. In this contribution, though we start from the category of "entrepreneur," our aim is to go behind or before it. In doing so we aim for the near complete absorptionor dissolvingof that category into far more fundamental frames of reference, problematizing related concepts such as entrepreneurial identity, narratives, and agency. Our empirical subject, John Shaw, a hardware factor in early nineteenth-century England, did not identify himself as an entrepreneur, yet how he acted in the world would now be defined as entrepreneurial. We would argue that Shaw did not act out the social category of entrepreneur; rather, he acted out of his everyday being, providing expressive, phenomenological testimony to the ground or base condition out of which concepts like "entrepreneur" occur and become fixed. Shaw's letters are an expression of his thrown-ness in a world where the idea of a business venture was a nascent, febrile, and uncertain possibility. The language of the letters conveys how these possibilities were exploited, transformed, and even wasted as they were acknowledged and merged, more or less sympathetically, with all the other raw materials of experience that went to make up Shaw's everyday life. Archivally based, empirically rigorous, and melding approaches from history and philosophy. the paper takes us back to beginnings of phenomena, before the fixing of habits and concepts, bringing into question our typical focus on patterns and outcomes.
Always a Fight and a Question: Corporate Philanthropy, Community Activism, and Machine Politics in the Long Urban Crisis
In 1967, Newark, New Jersey, experienced one of the most destructive urban uprisings of the 1960s. And yet, in the years that followed, Newark residents forged new alliances with which they confronted their city's crisis. Newark's first-generation community development corporations (CDCs) emerged out of this period of both creative ferment and desperation at the intersection of the civil rights, black power, and antipoverty movements. Between 1970 and 1990, Newark's first-generation CDCs became an established force in the urban political economy. Grassroots activists received measured praise from the city's corporations as they built low-income housing, expanded social services, and unrolled new businesses in neglected neighborhoods. At the same time, some CDC leaders clashed with former allies in both municipal government and the private sector over the kinds of business development that would substantially improve residents' lives. These debates culminated with attemptssome initiated by the grassroots, others lavishly funded by foundationsto foster collaborations between Newark's nonprofit and corporate sectors and to rectify the groups' often-hostile relationships with municipal officials. Yet, as one foundation executive found, cooperation on the massive scale Newark required was "always a fight and a question." My paper bridges a gap in late twentieth-century historiography by analyzing the grassroots organizing, corporate strategizing, and municipal politicking that surged in the shadow of the New Federalism and shaped neoliberal economic development policies on the ground.
Scott E. Randolph
Railroads and the Value of Property: The Presidents' Commission on Interchange of Freight Cars, 1908-1909
The "railroad problem" of the progressive period was much more than just disputes over monopoly, rates, and wages, but instead centered on fundamental questions of property and its use and reflected widely divergent views on the proper function and role of industrial networks. Throughout much of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most business managers hewed to a definition of property, as individual, private and inviolate, and to a strict definition of the use of property that reserved to owners the absolute right to enjoy that property as they saw fit, without regard for the interests of others. This was certainly the case among the managers of the largest railway systems. Yet this definition proved awkward and inefficient in practice as the nation's railways knit themselves into a dynamic network during the 1880s and 1890s and attempted to organize the movement of hundreds of thousands of freight cars that made this network possible. Absolutist claims to use of property, in this case freight equipment, rendered impossible the smooth operation of a network and thus risked the manifest benefits of network integration. Beginning in 1902, the American railway entered a prolonged period of service disruptions that centered on regional or national shortages of freight equipment. Over the next ten years managers attempted to implement a variety of mechanisms designed to smooth the flow of traffic that respected the traditional definition of property while reflecting the communal requirements of an integrated network. This paper examines one such effort, centered on the efforts of a commission of railroad presidents appointed by the American Railway Association.
De Anna J. Reese
Gender and Entrepreneurship in the Gateway City: Exploring the Business Career of Annie Turnbo Malone, 1902-1930
Labeled by one historian as the "golden age of black business," the early twentieth century laid the foundation for the development of black beauty culture, the largest and fastest growing industry of its time. During these years African American women were among a small group of entrepreneurs who found tremendous success in training and perfecting the talents of African American women while contributing to the collective economic and social advancement of the black community. One of the first women in the U.S. without inherited wealth to become a millionaire from her professional efforts, Annie Turnbo Malone played a central role in training black women for careers in beauty culture and enhancing the cultural and civic life of the St. Louis community. Upon opening Poro College in 1917, Malone provided residents a space for meetings, banquets, lectures, and entertainment. Within a decade, the college took in the largest revenues of any single black business in St. Louis. A gifted businesswoman and philanthropist, Malone employed nearly 200 local women for whom she represented an example of leadership, tenacity, and personal achievement. From 1900 until her death in 1957, the Poro business included thirty-two beauty schools and upwards of 75,000 agents in the United States, Canada, South America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. This paper will highlight the business career of beauty pioneer Annie Turnbo Malone in St. Louis with commentary on how race, gender, class, and region intersected during a time in which business success and black women were often viewed to be incompatible.
Marta Rey and Nuria Puig
Understanding the Organized Philanthropic Activities of Entrepreneurial Families
In this essay, we first explore the organized philanthropic activity of entrepreneurial familiethat is, the set of private initiatives aimed for the public good that are channeled by them through ad hoc independently governed organizations such as foundations. Entrepreneurial families have become major actors in the twenty-first-century global economy, giving rise to increased scholarly interest in the performance, organization, specificities, and overall impact of family firms. The departing idea of this essay is that family foundations, too, have become important economic actors that ought to be included in the business history agenda. The proliferation of family foundations over the past three decades evokes the rise of scientific philanthropy during the first globalization wave. We propose a preliminary framework and methodology to approach the functionalities of corporate foundations for family firms and the perceived benefits of family foundations for entrepreneurial families, based on Spain as a case study but suitable for international comparisons. Fifty-three families and sixty-five foundations are examined and classified in terms of their aims and most visible activities, as well as their interplay with the main businesses of their supporting families and their local, national, and international institutional environment.
"From the land where the cocoa grows": Representing the Colonial Commodity Chain at the Rowntree Factory, York, c. 1900-1970
The Rowntree confectionery firm, famous for products such as Kit Kat and Smarties, was established in 1862 in the northern English city of York. Despite its provincial location, the company depended on imports of key ingredients such as cocoa from around the world, particularly from British colonies. An analysis of the operations of this one firm can therefore illuminate the complex networks and power relations of the global chocolate industry, as well as the everyday workings of British colonialism both "at home" and in the colonies. Bringing together business and cultural history methods, this paper explores how the cocoa commodity chain was represented in gendered and raced ways for York-based workers. Focusing on the in-house journal, Cocoa Works Magazine, I consider how Rowntree management attempted to control the meanings of chocolate production and to present particular understandings of York and of empire. In so doing, I underline the potential of business history to illuminate wider questions about the social and cultural implications of colonialism in specific local contexts.
A Market for Specialties: Selling Art in Nineteenth-Century America
Today, the financial structure of elite art galleries is simple and remarkably consistent. Galleries sell work on consignment, taking a fifty percent commission. In return for this commission and exclusivity, they promote their artists, putting on individual exhibitions and attracting a network of purchasers. This structure, sometimes called the "dealer-critic system," emerged in nineteenth-century Paris, then the center of the art world. However, the triumph of this model was not inevitable. In nineteenth-century America, still at the periphery of the arts, a variety of organizations sold and funded visual art in different ways. These firmsmany of which were hybrid public/private, business/community spacescreatively encouraged the arts, often failing, but sometimes turning a profit along the way. This paper illuminates the incredible variety of models for the sale of art, focusing in particular on the dazzling but short-lived success of the American Art-Union. Founded in 1839, the Art-Union used a lottery to fund the purchase and distribution of paintings. At its peak in 1849, it advertised a distribution of 1,000 "works of art" to more than 18,000 subscribers. This brief dominance and the production it encouraged reveal the potential for differently structured art markets to stimulate diverse styles of art.
J. Andrew Ross
Trust and Antitrust: The Failure of the First National Hockey League Players' Association, 1957-1958
Based on National Hockey League club and league correspondence, congressional transcripts, newspapers, and government documents, this essay examines the first attempt to organize a National Hockey League Players' Association. For just over a year, the NHLPA struggled to overcome the resistance of NHL owners, the uncertainty of its own members, and the confusing legal environment created by overlapping transnational, interstate, and inter-provincial jurisdictions. These issues make the NHLPA a compelling case study of the way in which the borders between business and sport began to shift in the 1950s, a time when new forcestechnological (television), legal (congressional investigation and judicial decisions), and social (player activism)were preparing the way for the struggle for free agency.
Robert Russ, Edward N. Coffmann, Gary John Previts, and Chester H. Brearey
Enron's Leaking Bucket or the Unintended Consequence of a Regulatory Change
In the later part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, bucket shops relieved everyday people of large quantities of money. Bucket shops were gambling establishments where individuals could place bets on the future prices of stocks and commodities. In 1922, the United States Congress passed the Grain Futures Act to eliminate bucket shops in the United States. This paper discusses the rise and fall of the bucket shops in the United States. The final elimination of the bucket shops was accomplished by legislative actions, taken first by the states and then by the federal government. The paper also discusses the evolution of federal regulations regarding futures transactions and how the reversal of the 1922 Grain Futures Act amplified the financial crisis of 2008.
Queen of Trays: Representations of American Womanhood in Waitress Beauty Contests
In the 1920s, the National Restaurant Association began featuring national beauty contests for American waitresses at their annual conventions in Atlantic City. Regional restaurants quickly followed suit, and local waitress beauty contests became a popular publicity gimmick for the industry. This emphasis on a waitress's appearance as critical to her ability to serve customers continued to rise through the next three decades. Restaurant manuals published during this time focused on methods for training and controlling waitress behavior; schools specializing in waitress instruction opened nationwide; and restaurants increasingly subjected women to physical inspections and "charm courses," evaluating women on their height, weight, age, comportment, and personality. In this paper, I argue that the rise of waitress beauty contests was one strategy used by the male-dominated restaurant industry to regulate the feminization of restaurants and control the image of gainfully employed women laboring in a public, professional role. "Service with a smile" not only brought lucrative publicity to restaurants; the public display of waitresses in industry-sponsored contests demonstrates how a lesser-known segment of twentieth-century American business, labor, and foodways reinforced visions of ideal American womanhood, beauty, and citizenship.
Karen Miller Russell and Margot Opdycke Lamme
Business Responses to the Civil Rights Movement: A Public Relations Perspective
During the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights protesters targeted businesses with demands for service, jobs, and equality. This paper considers public relations aspects of the Civil Rights movement for business by examining magazine, newspaper, and public relations trade press coverage to explore both strategies used in response to the movement and the role of public relations in devising and publicizing solutions. The analysis shows that business was slow to respond to the movement; that only mid-1960s riots drove business to take a public stand; that they used a variety of strategies, ranging from hiring and job training programs to resisting integration; and that professional public relations participation was minimal.
A New Quest for Efficiency: The Postwar Program of the Federation of Swedish Wholesalers
In the mid-1950s the activities of the Federation of Swedish Wholesalers (Sveriges Grossistförbund/SGF) were considered by the Organization for European Economic Cooperation to be among the forerunners in the rationalization of European wholesaling. From the 1940s the SGF developed more systematic policies and activities to promote the rationalization of Swedish wholesaling. One important effort was the formation of the Wholesale Research Institute in 1943. Another was the production and circulation of publications, some aimed at the public, others for internal use, in which measures to promote and implement means to create more efficient and profitable wholesale businesses were discussed. The focus of this essay is an analysis of these publications, which I have labeled "the postwar program" of the SGF. The postwar program will be put into a wider context through a discussion of the general debate on rationalization of the distribution sector and also of the important postwar program of the Swedish Labor Movement, which stressed the need for rationalization of the economy, including arguments for increased government intervention or nationalization in the case of market failures.
Bringing Expertise for Water, Power, and Agribusiness to Khuzestan: The Development & Resources Corporation in Southwestern Iran, 1953-1974
This paper traces the ideals of international technical expertise for water management projects through the example of the Development & Resources Corporation. DRC was a private consulting business headquartered in New York City and staffed by former managers of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a national agency of the United States initiated to develop and provide a power grid for the poorest sectors of the rural United States in the Great Depression. The DRC was invited by the government of the Shah of Iran in 1956 to initiate a similar dam-building and regional development project for the river systems of Khuzestan, which empty into the northern Persian Gulf. By examining mid-century American notions of modernization, scientific leadership, and international technical assistance programs for development, I relate these notions of technical expertise to the DRC's cross-continental encounter of expertise in Khuzestan.
The B&O Railroad and the Geography of Commerce in Early Republic Baltimore
This paper examines the discourses surrounding the creation of America's first railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, in order to understand how ideas about geography and trade influenced the railroad project. The incorporation of the B&O was predicated on an understanding of trade as a geographic practice governed by the "natural laws" of commerce. In the eyes of the city's mercantile and municipal elite, Baltimore was in decline as its once robust trade with the trans-Appalachian West had been sapped away by the opening of the Erie Canal in New York. The B&O, founded in 1827, was designed to restore Baltimore's "natural advantage" of proximity to the West by facilitating travel across the mountains, effectively restoring the prior balance of trade. Though the technology to be used was novel, the founders drew on a pre-existing understanding of the city as a geographic-mercantile entity bound to other places by commercial networks moving along natural corridors. Comparing the railroad to a waterway, the initial creators of the railroad realized that it would alter the geographic balance of trade between East and West, but did not anticipate the restructuring of the economy that historians today associate with the railroad.
Foundry Fathers: Poole & Hunt, the United States Capitol Extension, and Baltimore's Antebellum Industrial Legacy
During the antebellum period, a diverse and sophisticated iron-founding industry emerged in the Baltimore region. In 1851, machinists Robert Poole and German Hunt established a small iron foundry in downtown Baltimore that quickly expanded into the most significant manufacturing plant in the city, and eventually achieved nationwide recognition when it was selected to cast the iron columns and support structure for the base of the United States Capitol dome in 1855. Poole and Hunt's participation in this unprecedented government construction project offers unique insights into the state of iron manufacturing in the Chesapeake region prior to the Civil War and highlights the interplay between personal relationships and politics in the shadowy netherworld of antebellum government contracting. "Foundry Fathers" builds on recent studies of industry, politics, and regional development in the antebellum period including Sean Patrick Adams' Old Dominion, Industrial Commonwealth (2004) and John Majewski's A House Dividing (2000). It is based on primary source materials from the collections of the Architect of the United States Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives, as well as the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the Enoch Pratt Library. The paper explores new scholarly ground in the field of business history by shedding light on the connections between regional industries and national development in the antebellum period and explores the lasting architectural and engineering contributions of the Baltimore iron industry to one of America's most recognizable public structures.
Thomas A. Scott
Integrating the Southern Workplace: Lockheed and Cobb County, Georgia
The standard story of metropolitan Atlanta in the Civil Rights era features supposedly progressive Atlanta, the city "too busy to hate," and its surrounding lily-white counties, where "white flight" produced a virulent form of extreme right-wing politics. While this version of truth has some merit, it masks the reality that there was more convergence than divergence between downtown Atlanta and suburban Cobb County, the home of the Lockheed-Georgia plant. The argument of this paper is that local business and political leaders in Atlanta and Cobb were pragmatists on the question of desegregation, with a willingness to change if necessary to protect their business interests. In the case of Lockheed the desire to receive federal defense contracts, particularly in 1961 the billion-dollar C-141 StarLifter contract, was the central factor in bringing about workplace integration. In understanding how the South desegregated in the 1960s with a minimum of violence, the case of Lockheed is instructive, because it points to the recognition of enlightened self-interest as a key factor in explaining how at least some southerners found it expedient to be on the right side of history.
Elizabeth Tandy Shermer
From Backwater to Sunbelt: Boosters, Economists, and Policymakers and Regional Economic Development
In most considerations of the Sunbelt/Rustbelt dynamic, scholars have described capital's flight from the Northeast and Midwest as instantaneous, natural, and even foreordained. Such narratives leave out the role of local boosters, policymakers, and economists in the transformation of the South and Southwest. In the early postwar period, local business groups began to construct "business climates" that stood squarely against the liberal vision for the South and Southwest. Boosters, who by and large controlled the regions' cities and towns, believed low taxes on business, anti-union ordinances, land giveaways, and other incentives would better guarantee prosperity. Though these policies were in part rooted in local businessmen's opposition to liberalism, boosters sought advice and assistance from economists, who worked at Federal Reserve branch banks, in economics departments, and small think tanks. These specialists produced numerous studies during the early postwar period that celebrated the decidedly anti-liberal business climate and thus helped draw attention to the lucrative opportunities in the proto-Sunbelt. These experts also counseled CEOs, who were often eager to move their operations outside the well-regulated and well-organized industrial core. In doing so, these economists, boosters, and local officials had a profound and early impact on economic policy and thought and played a crucial role in the dismantling of the New Deal order.
Pitfalls of Open Innovation: The Technological Trajectory in Laser Diodes in the United States and Japan
By exploring the technological development of laser diodes in the United States, this study examines how firms began to utilize external research and development resources and how the shift from the vertical integration model to the open innovation paradigm influenced technological development. U.S. firms led development on the technological trajectories until the 1970s. In the 1980s, however, innovation in laser diodes began to depart from the trajectories in the United States. The finding of this study suggests that cumulative features of technological development on the trajectory gradually vanished as a result of surges in entrepreneurial startups and the utilization of external resources and paths to markets in the industry. This implies that development on the technological trajectory will be retarded if firms are not in markets that have a high concentration of rival competitors and if they explore untapped product markets when technology is still in the nascent stage.
Philip H. Slaby
The Contradictions of Controlled Immigration: Mines, Foreign Labor, and the State in Interwar France
In the 1920s and 1930s, France developed a multi-ethnic work force, as employers and the state promoted immigration to remedy post-World War I labor shortages. This essay takes a business history perspective to appreciate the dynamics that shaped the incorporation of foreigners into interwar France. Examining the mines of the coal-rich department of the Pas-de-Calais, and relying on government and company archives, the analysis illuminates how firms improvised new managerial strategies and reshaped traditional ones to transform foreigners into productive miners. Through these policies foreigners became vital to the mines after the First World War, helping them to rebuild staff, to reconstruct facilities, and to regain profitability. Yet, managerial policies carried unintended consequences for employers and foreigners alike. Practices in the workplace and company paternalism toward immigrants served to isolate foreigners from their French coworkers and earned them the suspicion of local officialdom. Such anti-immigrant sentiments ultimately worked against coal firms. Indeed, as joblessness and xenophobia grew in the 1930s, the foreign labor force created by coal companies was decimated, as local officials aggressively expelled non-natives in order to appease public opinion, to open positions for French workers, and to expel those held politically suspect.
Accepting Financial Globalization: The Canadian Debate on British Investment, 1836-1875
Prior to the creation of the Canadian federation in 1867, British North America was a collection of separate British colonies with their own currencies, laws, and banking systems. The integration of the financial systems of the different colonies was a crucial part of the building of the Canadian nation-state. The "Bank Act of 1871" is widely regarded as having laid the legal foundations of the modern Canadian banking sector. By 1900, Canada's banking sector was dominated by a few large corporations, each of which had a branch network extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In contrast, the United States was served by a plethora of small banks. Today, business historians often contrast Canada's banking sector with that of the United States. This paper will examine the making of the 1871 banking law. It will show that banking legislation in Canada was shaped by the following forces: the powerful examples that had been set by the 1844 Bank Act in England and the 1863 National Bank Act in the United States; the rivalry between Toronto and Montreal for financial supremacy; and the hostility of a large section of the Canadian electorate to financiers. Attitudes to British investment also informed the debate about banking law. This paper aims to refine our understanding of the development of financial systems in North America. It will also explore the role of classical liberalism in Canadian politics after 1867.
David J. Smith
Innovation, Industry Evolution and Shake-out: The Case of the Turboprop Aero Engine, 1945-1966
Studies of the turboprop engine sector of the aerospace industry note that, although the gas turbine represented a major new technological paradigm, industry evolution was not characterized by a period of shake-out with firms leaving the industry. Instead the sector has been shown to be remarkably stable. However, such studies have focused on the period since the 1960s, and as such they provide only a partial account of the introduction of this new technology and the business history of the aerospace industry. This study in contrast focuses on the early history of the gas turbine in the immediate postwar period, in particular on British companies at the forefront of developing turboprop technology for use in civil aviation. It finds that the disruptive nature of the technology combined with generous government funding gave rise to a variety of different design solutions and engine configurations. The majority of these engines proved to be both technical and commercial failures, leading to instability within the sector and ultimately to a process of shake-out that reduced the number of turboprop engine makers in the United Kingdom from four to one.
Japan's Retail Revolution: Political Economy and Concept Innovation
Twenty-five years ago two extremes dominated retailing in Japan: local shopping districts populated by small mom-and-pop stores, and large-format department stores and general merchandise stores adjacent to (and often physically above) major railway and subway stations. Shopping was done on foot or by bicycle; bulky purchases were delivered. Today neighborhood shopping streets are shuttered or in decline, as are department stores. They have been replaced by large-format roadside stores and shopping malls, remote from train stations; by medium-sized supermarkets, replete with parking lots, that operate long hours; and by small-format franchise chains (especially convenience stores). This paper traces that evolution, which reflects the diffusion of automobiles, the growth of suburbs, and the relaxation of legal restrictions on floor-space and operating hours restrictions on retailers, backed by complementary shifts in wholesaling, IT, and management methods.
Tillie Lewis, Money Maven: Gendered Obstacles in Financing a Mega Business
Tillie Lewis, often identified in press accounts as "The Tomato Queen," was the first American to can American-grown pomodoro tomatoes. Her Stockton, California, canning company, founded in the 1930s, ultimately offered several labels of canned vegetables and fruits as well as the nation's first line of diet foods. In the 1970s, Tillie Lewis Foods, Inc., was purchased by the Ogden Corporation, and Lewis became the corporation's first female board member. During that decade she appeared most notably in Fortune magazine's feature on "The Ten Highest Ranking Women in Big Business." Yet in spite of her spectacular success, Lewis initially faced many of the challenges common for women who tried to enter the business world as independent entrepreneurs. Chief among these was financing. Unable to obtain bank loans, Lewis was forced to rely instead on the mercy of carefully cultivated private investors, meager personal savings, and even pawned jewelry. This presentation frames Lewis as a businesswoman atypical in her success yet typical in the obstacles she faced. Utilizing company tax records, I will show the ways in which her financial challenges were gendered, revealing the continuing hurdles faced by American women who entered business ownership in the 1930s and 1940s.
Claus Spreckels: A Biographical Case Study of Nineteenth-Century American Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Claus Spreckels (1828-1908) was perhaps the most successful German-American immigrant entrepreneur of the late nineteenth century. The career of the "sugar king" consisted of California, Hawaii, and the American West building and breaking monopolies in sugar, transport, gas, electricity, real estate, newspapers, banks, and breweries. This essay uses a biographical approach to discuss central questions of American immigrant entrepreneurship. First, it analyzes the family and ethnic background of Spreckels' business. Second, it examines the business development of his widespread investments. Finally, it discusses the significance of Spreckels' immigrant status and experience for his successful career.
The Use and Abuse of Business History in the Development of American Broadcasting
This paper argues that history was an agent of change during the foundational era of American broadcasting. As radio became a big business in the 1920s and as the federal government searched for an appropriate regulatory structure, corporate leaders presented themselves as benevolent curators of what they claimed was a revolutionary new technology. Representatives of these new media corporations portrayed themselves as responsible capitalists and described what they did in terms often gauzy and romantic: broadcasting corporations were the product of a history of publicly spirited invention and experimentation, not profit-seeking. Critics of media corporations similarly drew upon historical arguments to persuade the public and policymakers to understand broadcasting differently. To some, radio was a method of circulating public information that made it part of a history that included the post office and the public school system, and as such suggested much different regulatory frameworks than did leading corporations. During the early broadcast era, policy outcomes were structured by participants' abilities to make historical claims in order to advance their interests. The business history of American broadcasting, in other words, was shaped by a process of accommodation between competing claims about that history.
"Money was of no consideration": French Railway Companies and Sustaining Troops on the Battlefields during the Great War
This article is a part of a larger project investigating the social and cultural initiatives of French railway companies in modern France. The Great War brought many changes in the functioning of French railways, which had to handle the movement of large numbers of people. Military historians have pointed to railways as "the main culprits" in the war's duration—four years and three months. The war put the French railway companies in a difficult situation and almost bankrupted the wealthiest French railway network, the réseau du Nord. The military complained about the attitudes of the railway companies, feeling that, in the case of war, "money was of no consideration," whereas the French railway companies were naturally concerned with financial efficiency. At the same time, it is important to highlight the contributions of the French railway companies in sustaining the troops. During the Great War, each day the French army required 2,000 head of cattle, 600 tons of frozen meat, 1,000 pigs, 2,500 sheep, and 15 million liters of wine. The French railways became, in the words of a military historian, the "genuine cords between the army and the motherland that made possible the functioning of armies."
Kevin D. Tennent
A Retail Revolution: Changes in Music Distribution and Retailing in the United Kingdom, 1950-1980
The years between 1950 and 1980 were important years of change for the British music industry, as new forms of music and markets for it emerged, and a range of new players entered the industry. Distribution is one of Alfred D. Chandler Jr.'s three prongs considered important for corporate success. The paper shows that the four majors operating in the UK market already had an established distribution network by the mid-1960s, serving around 5,000 specialist retailers. As creative competition increased, the four existing majors defended their control over the market by further integrating into distribution. On the retailing side the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in 1964 strengthened the position of retailers, threatening the majors' ability to control the value chain. This section of the paper will show that the majors retained control over the chain by encouraging the spread of music retailing away from specialist retailers. The majors could then provide support services to non-specialist retailers, retaining oligopolistic power over the downstream part of the industry. As a whole the paper shows that scale and scope economies remained important despite the entry of a large number of small players in the creative part of the industry.
Richard B. Thau and Susan Keats
How Oral History Captured the Process of Disseminating a Corporate Culture: The Fidelity Investments Oral History Project
If, according to Emerson, an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man, then Fidelity Investments is the lengthened shadow of Edward C. Johnson 2d. When he founded the firm in the 1940s, it marked the continuation of a Johnson tradition of family-owned businesses and innovation that began with dry goods retailing in nineteenth-century Boston. After more than sixty years, Fidelity appears to embrace many of the same values instilled in the company by its founder in its earliest days. The Fidelity oral history project, which began in 2002, is a rich source for understanding the content and transmission of the company's culture. While written sources offer a window into how workers see a company's culture and how that culture influences their actions and behavior, oral histories offer additional insight into the ways in which corporate culture is perceived. This paper addresses two components of Fidelity's culture: integrity and the primacy of the customer. Interviews reveal that employees trace the origins of the values to the Johnson family and the firm's private ownership, and that these values help provide a foundation for a culture that is transmitted across generations, continents, and business lines by management and workers alike.
Understanding Machine Tool Development in the United States: Uniting Economic and Business History
The evolution of machine tools in the United States from 1820 through 1930 played an indispensable part in the development of mechanized production. But machine tool development can be understood in quite different ways. Economic historians often look at whole industries and at patents as quantitative measures of invention. Business historians frequently use firm records to relate inventions to the strategy, organization, and growth of the firm. I argue that both approaches are needed to understand how machine tools originated and spread, and that an evolutionary idea of firms and industries can integrate these approaches. Many types of firms produced, invented, and sold a wide range of machine tools, and firms were further differentiated by new methods or markets. Some particular firms and some types of firms ascended, but they never dominated and always found competition from new and different kinds of firms. To understand this process, patents and industry sources depict innovation as a whole. Firm records for the Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing Company and studies of ten other innovating firms demonstrate various ways in which firms made use of innovations and, in the process, educated others who would continue to innovate.
Courting the "Little Fellow" on Wall Street: Advertising and the NYSE
Based on extensive archival research, this paper examines the role of New York Stock Exchange's advertising in the democratization of the stock market. Part One explores the NYSE's originally rigid advertising rules that once severely constricted member firms from targeting the mass market. Part Two details the gradual and important liberalization in the NYSE's advertising policies that began in the late Depression years. The evolution in Exchange advertising policies and actual advertising practices (by both member firms and the organization itself) reveals much about the shifting power relations among various factions operating within the NYSE. Exploring the history of NYSE advertising also lends insights into the changing priorities of the NYSE in the twentieth century, especially the organization's heightened willingness to court the "little fellow," as Wall Street once commonly referred to the average, middle-class American. This paper constitutes part of a larger project that contemplates the degree to which eventual heightened brokerage firm advertising helped stimulate a surge in popular interest in the stock market.
From Catwalks to Video Cameras: Casinos and the Business of Surveillance, 1950-1980
Cheating and suspicion have been fundamental aspects of the gambling culture even from the early days of casinos in Nevada. With cash repeatedly changing hands between players and the house and without records being kept in real time due to the unpredictability of the games of chance, casinos have always struggled to protect themselves against dishonest customers and staff. In this paper I argue that casino surveillance emerged from the economically rational search of businesses for ways to protect and maximize their profits. Surveillance became a successful managerial solutionentailing new organizational structures, work practices, and the adoption of video technologyto customer cheating and employee theft, error, or collusion. Correctional and brutal in approach, the early surveillance methods focused on limiting the losses by solely protecting the game through the covert action of security staff and the physical alteration of the workplace (catwalks suspended in the ceiling above the table games). Gradually, casinos bureaucratized surveillance by creating a system of procedures and internal audit, which standardized the activity of the gaming staff and simplified the detection of cheating by the "eye in the sky."
John Turner, Graeme G. Acheson, and Qing Ye
The Character and Denomination of Shares in the Victorian Equity Market
This paper examines the extent to which publicly traded company stocks in nineteenth-century Britain had the following features: high share denominations and high levels of unpaid capital. Using monthly data for the London stock market over the period 1825-1870, the effect of these features on stock returns is then assessed. We find that stocks with unpaid capital earn a higher return, which is consistent with investors being rewarded for the risk of a call on their personal assets. We also find that stocks with a high share denomination earn a lower return, which appears to be consistent with the view that this feature was conducive to superior corporate governance.
John F. Uggen
The Day the Music Died: Rooney, Pace and the Hostile Takeover of the Norlin Corporation
The hostile takeover of the Norlin Corporation by Rooney, Pace is representative of the negative side of the merger and acquisition mania of the 1980s. Norlin was founded in 1913 as the Ecuadorian Corporation, a holding company for a brewery, cement plant, and other enterprises in Ecuador. In 1962 Hope Norton Stevens assumed the presidency and made the fateful decision to seek more profitable business opportunities in the United States. Between 1962 and 1966 the company acquired several electronics companies. In 1969 the Chicago Musical Instrument Company was acquired, and Norlin became the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in the United States. The early 1970s saw spectacular growth in the music business, but the 1975 recession forced the corporation to sell off both its remaining operations in Ecuador and its electronics units. In explaining the reasons for Norlin's takeover I emphasize the decision to acquire new lines of business for which Norlin's management lacked experience, the large amount of cash realized in the sale of Norlin's assets, its declining price-earnings ratio, and other factors. Finally, I analyze the unsuccessful defensive strategies employed by Norlin's management to block the hostile takeover by Rooney, Pace.
Heli Valtonen, Jari Ojala, and Jari Eloranta
What Makes "Interesting" Business History? Evaluation of the Most Cited Recent Business History Journal Articles
This paper discusses the nature of the most cited articles in two premier journals in the field of business historyBusiness History Review, BHR (USA) and Business History, BH (UK). Why do scholars refer to them? Our analysis indicates that the majority of the articles citing business history scholarship are focused on their substance and novel findings; only seldom are the methods or theories represented in business history journals the target of their interest. In almost 90 percent of the cases the citations are neutral by nature; both critical and supportive ones are rare. It seems to be that the scholars citing business history articles often consider this field as providing complementary information to their own, or at least that they want to provide an acknowledgement of the empirical work done by business historians. In terms of the scope of the journals having citations to these two journals, we found that history-related journals seem to dominate the citations for BH, while in the case of BHR the scope is more diverse and interdisciplinary. It is fascinating that in both journals the average time lag between the published article and the article in which it is cited is the same: fourteen years.
Sean A. Vanatta
Investing in Masculinity: Gender Construction in the Banking Trade Press, 1945-1970
While aggressively acquisitive, free-market masculinity may seem systemic to the banking profession, the line connecting J. P. Morgan to Gordon Gekko is in fact a long and crooked one. Building on a deep exploration of the American banking press, this paper seeks to trace an alternative piece of this thread: a specific sort of white middle-class masculinity founded on economically stable community leadership and civic responsibilitywhat I term fiscal paternalismthat emerged in this literature immediately following the Second World War. Male bankers in this period used their trade press to craft a gendered identity that justified the male banker's dominance in his industry and community, and defended this dominance against the increasing encroachments of women and minorities. In doing so, the banking press constrained the possibilities for these groups within the banking industry, constructing gendered roles and spaces that denied both women and African Americans access to the banker identitya denial with direct repercussions for their entry into actual positions in bank management. By uncovering these gendered constructions and grounding them in the lived realities of bankers and their employees, this paper takes a step toward historicizing banking culture and the shifting currents of banker masculinity.
Natascha van der Zwan
In Search of the Double Dividend: American Labor and the Politics of Pension Investment
In this paper, I argue that organized labor has been an active player in the making of a financialized political economy in the United States, as
exemplified by its involvement in the debate on the politics of pension investment in the late 1970s and 1980s. This debate was spurred by the publication of Jeremy Rifkin and Randy Barbers' The North Will Rise Again, which argued that labor unions should develop political strategies to take back control over workers' pension monies. At a time when stock market performance of pension assets was weak and governments' budgets were too restricted to provide for certain social goods, organized labor began to develop its own investment programs. These programs were aimed at the realization of a double dividend, not only serving the purpose of financial return for retirement provision, but also creating employment and affordable housing. With these programs, organized labor defended industrial capitalism (and New Deal government interventionism) against an increasingly invasive financial community and a retreating welfare state. As the paper shows, however, by the late 1980s the takeover wave had begun to overshadow the issue of reindustrialization and instead the issue of corporate control became more salient. In this context, the pension debate shifted focus from the question of investment location to the question of investment control. Labor leaders entered the 1990s with the conviction that unions should address this issue through the area of corporate governance, not the workplace or the legislature. As a result, labor unions started to develop corporate campaigns and shareholder activism. Consequently, the search for the double dividend that began as an attempt to halt the widespread deindustrialization of the American economy culminated in the political integration of organized labor in a financialized political economy.
Establishing the State of the Art: Firms, Regulation, and the Production of Knowledge, 1970-1977
Drawing on federal records, published reports, and oral history interviews, this paper examines how regulators produce knowledge and create information both for themselves and for others, including regulated firms, their suppliers, and consumer advocates. The 1970 Clean Air Act amendments mandated that automakers drastically reduce emissions from their cars. Yet, the law also created a safety valve: the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could suspend the standards for one year if the automakers could not meet them. Between 1972 and 1975, the EPA carried out technological assessments and held a series of hearings in its efforts to decide whether to suspend the standards. Since 1969, however, the auto industry had worked under a consent decree that forbade them from sharing research on emissions controls; the decree had created an information vacuum. No one knew where current technology lay. But through its efforts the EPA and its employees established the state of the art.
A Sharp-End Renaissance: Growing Success of African American Entrepreneurs in Columbia, Missouri
In Columbia, Missouri the African American business community has diminished severely over the last century. A thriving Black-owned Columbia business district known as the "Sharp-End" was once booming with barber shops, restaurants, grocery stores, a doctor's office, taverns, and funeral homes. However, the unfortunate by-product of desegregation was the dismantling of this black business community. This research will explore success strategies that could help revive the African American business community in Columbia. The strength, courage, persistence, and prayer of many African American entrepreneurs has sustained the pathway of success and ignited a "Sharp-End" renaissance worthy of study. This success in spite of the social limitations is the impetus for my research. I will explore central phenomena of the sociology of entrepreneurship and group characteristics that aid in the development of successful business activity. These aspects may include positive community networks, family support, work ethic, and risk-taking behaviors.
The Tip of the Iceberg: Business-Related Crime in German Print Media, 1948-2008
This paper aims at three things. First, it introduces the term "business-related crime"i.e. crime that is either committed by corporations or directed against corporations. The meaning of the term is elaborated in comparison to the established phrases "white-collar crime," "corporate crime," and "occupational crime." Second, the paper reviews the existing research on business-related crime in postwar Western Germany. Third, it presents new data on the subject, derived from a content analysis of Die Zeit and Der Spiegel, two major German weekly newspapers. Shedding light on trends in media coverage, the data reveals that the public hardly took notice of business-related crime in the 1950s and paid increasing attention to it afterward. The data also provides an overview of the different types of business-related crimecorruption, investment fraud, industrial spying, etc.that occurred in Germany. Finally, it allows an exploration of which industries were reportedly involved more often in crimes, both as offenders and as victims.
Before Law and Economics: What the Natural Law Tradition Had to Say about Commercial Affairs
This paper is a contribution to an emergent strain of scholarship about the history of the economic analysis of law known as Law and Economics (L&E). Substantively, the L&E approach is a reactivation of thinking in the mold of early modern Protestant natural rights theory (e.g., Hugo Grotius). Adam Smith welded this and other new elements to the existing political economy of his day to create the synthesis later called classical economics. L&E itself is mostly the work of modern legal academics and economists, but increasingly historians have illuminated a variety of different ways in which analysis of law or government regulation was concerned with its consequences on individual getting and spending. I will add to that by examining work by an influential German professor, Johann Nikolaus Hertius, whose work can be thought of as contributing to what Smith later called "the system of natural liberty." In particular, I argue that work in this vein of the natural law tradition distinctly exhibits characteristics that economists would later call methodological individualism and marginal analysis. My contribution also does the service of putting L&E into the historiographical traditions of pre-Smithian economics, especially the ideas of household management, national political economy, and both Catholic and Protestant natural law.
Wendy A. Woloson
Retail Premiums and the Promise of Nothing for Something
A spate of promotional schemes first appearing in the mid-1850s fostered a new marketing strategy that continues, in various forms, today. Long before kids in the 1920s began retrieving prizes from Cracker Jack boxes, retailers and their agents were getting consumers to purchase products by giving away free things, commonly called "premiums," "gifts," and "inducements." Premiums made purchasers think they were getting something for nothinga bonus item. And premium systems were also conduits enabling suppliers to unload inventory they could not sell otherwise. If they were lucky, purchasers might receive inferior goods; as often, they received nothing at all in return for their money. This paper describes the three most prevalent retail premium schemes seen during the second half of the nineteenth centurygift distributions, prize packages, and gift book establishmentsand attempts to answer pertinent questions about them. How did they come about? What accounted for their enduring popularity, given that so many were clearly fraudulent or deceptive? What do they tell us about Americans' evolving roles as consumers and their particular vulnerabilities when faced with a rapidly changing marketplace? And what were the significant legacies of retail premiums that make them important for us to study today?
Organization and Credit Risk Management: A Study of Mitsui & Co. in Modern China
Mitsui & Co. is the oldest general trading company in Japan; its origin and development have been the subject of a great deal of research. Shin'ichi Yonekawa (1990) defined a general trading company as "a firm that trades all kinds of goods with all nations of the world." This definition includes the following features: dealing with all kinds of goods, and conducting business with all kinds of places throughout the world; moreover, these features result in certain organizational issues. The purpose of this paper is to study Mitsui & Co.'s organization and credit risk management in China. There were two reasons for placing focus on its Chinese branches. The first reason is the number of branches in China. Prior to the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Mitsui & Co. had only three branches. After the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), it had eleven branches. The second reason is to shed light on the abolishment of the comprador system. The Shanghai branch abolished the comprador system in 1899; Tianjin, in 1900; Taipei, in 1901; and Hong Kong, in 1902. Therefore, we will highlight Mitsui & Co. in China around 1900.
Hand-to-Mouth Inventory and the Model T: Outside Supply at the Ford Motor Company, 1908-1927
Between 1908 and 1923, annual production at Ford exploded from 6,000 to 1,800,000 automobiles. Henry Ford, the integrated assembly line, and the company's sprawling plant at Highland Park became icons of mass production. Most scholars have understood the Ford system as a textbook case of vertical integration. Recently, however, business historians have demonstrated that the trend at Ford has been overstated. Through 1916several years after the introduction of the assembly lineFord relied on outside suppliers for about half the 5,000 parts in each Model T. Moreover, company policy limited stocks for many components to only a few days' supply, a practice that actors called "hand-to-mouth inventory." In this paper, I draw on archival documents and oral histories in the Ford archives to reconstruct the daily practice of the company's procurement team. From the beginning, mass production was "networked production." Ford's purchasing agents and their colleagues developed sophisticated strategies to deal with issues such as stock turn, process innovation, short- versus long-term contracts, and distributed risk. Moreover, these workers repeatedly assigned credit to suppliers for many of Ford's celebrated price reductions.
Programming Enterprise: Women Entrepreneurs in Computer Services, 1965-1985
This paper begins by briefly exploring potential factors behind the relative dearth of historical studies of twentieth-century women entrepreneurs and the complete absence of historical literature on women entrepreneurs in computing and software. Drawing from and summarizing elements of four detailed case studies of women computer entrepreneursthree from the computer services industry and one from the software products tradethe core of the paper seeks to characterize both the substantial hurdles women faced working for large computer and software organizations from the 1960s through the 1980s, as well as the entrepreneurial vision of a small number of women who helped pioneer the hitherto unstudied information technology (IT) independent contractor (IC) brokerage segment of the computer services industry. In contrast to the computer and software products trades, IT IC brokerages had very low financial barriers to entry. In addition to Grace Gentry, who launched the first IT IC brokerage, women founded and ran an estimated 20 percent of early businesses in this segmenta percentage that dwarfs other areas of the IT industry. Finally, the cases demonstrate that women had a disproportionate role in providing leadership to the primary trade association of the IT IC industry, the NACCB.
Rethinking the Kirby Puzzle: A Reassessment of Chinese Companies' Incorporation from the Public and Corporate Finance Perspectives, 1860-1949
This paper attempts to offer a fresh view to rethink "the Kirby puzzle"why companies are not well developed in China. In contrast to the commonly held view that the evolution of Chinese companies was the result of government intervention and inefficient legal enforcement, the conclusion of the research presented here is that the arrangement of public/corporate finance is a factor in that evolution. Moreover, based on financial interdependence, large businesses and governments usually formed business-government corporate groups with debt, directorship, and stock interlock during the period from 1860 to 1949. Given this finding regarding the existence of varied business-government corporate groups, a new answer to the Kirby Puzzle is that corporate underdevelopment in modern China was caused by the monopoly of business-government groups.