Vierteljahresschrift fur Sozial und Wirtschaftsgeschichte

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This paper revisits, modifies, and combines elements of three major ‘institutional’ international-trade models, none of which has yet fully received the attention that it deserves, to provide a new explanation for the growth, decline, and then rebirth of internationally-oriented fairs in the European economy, serving financial as well as commercial functions, from the 12th to late 16th centuries. The three distinguished models that provided the major inspiration for this paper are, in the chronological order of their publication: (1) the Van der Wee thesis (1970) on the macro-economic impact of the major shifts, first, from continental, overland-trade to maritime-based routes, and then back to continental-overland trade routes, over this same four-century era; (2) the North-Milgrom-Weingast ‘institutional’ model (1990) on the role of law-merchant courts and judges in reducing incentives to cheat or renege on contracts in fair-oriented trade amongst ‘unacquainted’ participants (i.e. in the Champagne Fairs), and thus in reducing transaction costs in international trade; and (3) the Epstein model (1994) on the various ways in which the later-medieval regional fairs further reduced transaction costs in commerce (even if his model implicitly contradicts elements of my own favoured Van der Wee model). The central theses of this paper are that: (1) the changing intensities, scope, and nature of late-medieval and early modern-warfare played the decisive role in determining the fate of international fairs: (a) in that the consequences of such warfare fatally undermined the economic viability of the earlier medieval fairs (English, French), by raising to a prohibitive level the transportation and other transaction costs involved in overland-continental trade, and more particularly in the mass-market trade in cheap, light textiles, on which these fairs had fundamentally depended; and thus conversely (b) that a restoration of relative security combined with other factors that reduced both transportation and transaction costs led (in accordance with the Van der Wee model) to a revival of continental, overland-trade, to a revival and even more dramatic growth in international trade in cheap textiles, and to a rebirth and renewed pre-eminence of international fairs in early modern European commerce; and (2) that the financial role of fairs was as important as their commercial role; and thus that another major factor in the pre-eminence of early-modern international fairs were financial innovations that led to full negotiability of both private and public forms of credit – especially the rentes, innovations developing chiefly out of fair-based law merchant courts (thus leading us back to the North-Milgrom-Weingast model). The chief criticisms of these models, or parts of them, lie in their inadequate or wrongly formulated explanations for the decline of the Champagne and English fairs, either by adducing incorrect arguments (North-Milgrom-Weingast) and/or by neglecting the very major adverse consequences of the spreading stain of chronic, debilitating, and ever so disruptive European and Mediterranean-wide warfare from the 1290s – and not from the Hundred Years’ War era, consequences that also fatally undermined the international trade in, and thus the production of, the cheap light textiles, over the next two centuries. Such analysis is extended to criticize other favoured models to explain the decline and fall of the Champagne Fairs: the De Roover ‘commercial revolution’ thesis on Italian branch–plant firms with their use of bills-of-exchange; the Bautier-Verlinden model on the ‘industrialization of 14th century Italy’; and the most favoured one of all – the establishment of the Italian galley route, the direct sea-route, to NW Europe. One merely has to point out the dramatic impact of the revival of overland, continental trade routes and of so many international, fairs from the 15th century, to see why these three latter theories lack credibility in explaining a general commercial-financial phenomenon on the supposed ‘decline of fairs’ in the international economy.
 
Growing international trade and investment was one important characteristic of the 19th century international economy. Nevertheless, exchange rates became increasingly stable. This paper explores how decreased costs for transactions in silver and gold contributed to increased exchange rate stability in Sweden between 1845 and 1880. Under a specie standard, transaction costs incurred in silver or gold arbitrage influence the exchange rate range. Two estimates of transaction costs, based on records from the Riksbank and parliamentary auditors, indicate that falling costs of specie transactions and arbitrage narrowed the width of the exchange rate range from 4 to 6.5 per cent to 0.7 to 1 per cent of parity between 1845 and 1880. Decreased commission, brokerage, tax and insurance were the main contributors to integration. Direct transport costs did not contribute to integration to the same extent, as their share of transaction costs was small with regard to silver and gold. The Riksbank played an important role by providing an effective lower intervention point at parity from 1845 until 1870.
 
This article examines the origins of the credit reporting and rating agencies in the 19th century. It demonstrates in a theoretical chapter that they were institutional responses to the problem of information asymmetry in imperfect markets and that these problems escalated due to the expansion of markets in the process of industrialisation and globalisation. By collecting and disseminating essential information on the solvency of debtors, the agencies brought back a degree of transparency into an otherwise anonymous and dangerous market and allowed economic actors to build up trustworthy relations with each other. Credit reporting established itself first in the United States, while Europe followed later. The article examines the reasons for this time lag and the methods as well as the institutional structure of the 19th-century agencies.
 
The paper shows the development of truck transport as a new kind of carrier by road in Germany. The two modes of transport - for own account and for hire and reward - are distinguished and both sectors are characterized. Forms of institutionalizations in the road haulage industry are explored. The conflict between and the only weak impact of the road haulage industry on the business of the railroad is proven - contrary to the assessment of the railroad. The paper shows how regulation of the road haulage industry is performed in the context of the traffic policy of Nazi rule.
 
Market regulating agricultural policy is a special form of agrarian protectionism. In Germany it was established as a high protection customs policy in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In the Weimar Republic in 1925/26 on the occasion of the "Kleine Zolltarifnovelle" this policy was continued on a new complicated political basis. The Social Democracy, searching for new voters, attached the consumer-protection to its banner and in this way gave the agrarian protectionism a flexible ideological and parliamentary basis. NS-policy took over this policy during the world-wide economic crisis, radicalised protectionism and established the agrarian cartel by forcing producers, trade and consumers into the so-called Reichsnährstand.After 1949 the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, renewed the essentials of the market regulating agricultural policy step by step and pressed these ideas into the European Agricultural Common Market. The agrarian protectionism in its different phases from 1925/26 to 1967 was legitimated independently of the respective form of German government by a number of conceptions of orderly policy. Its hard core are anti-liberalistic and anti-capitalistic ideas of different graduation ("organisierter Kapitalismus", "Neuer Plan" and "Soziale Marktwirtschaft").During a period of 60 years alternatives have been visible but they have not been transfered into action due to the absence of political intentions.
 
The Knappschaften grew out of medieval miner's efforts to insure themselves against the consequences of their dangerous jobs. By the late nineteenth century the Knappschaften were self-run sickness (and invalidity) funds with compulsory membership. Bismarck's social-insurance legislation used them as a model for similar funds in other industries, and as such they remain the model for German social insurance today. However, late nineteenth-century observers noted that Knappschaften experienced strong growth in the number of days their members claimed to be sick. Contemporaries blamed this development on moral hazard that is feigning illness or malingering. Using the concepts of principal-agent theory, we explain how the Knappschaften tried to reduce sick days per member by establishing a more and more complex system of incentives and control mechanisms.
 
Armament minister Albert Speer is usually credited with causing the boom in German armament production after 1941 by implementing several organizational reforms. We question the received view by showing that there was nothing like a clear-cut discontinuity in both real production and organization of the German armament industry after Speer was appointed armament minister. With respect to organizational reforms, Speer obviously failed to enforce the rationalization measures "type reduction" and "reduction of program changes". Speer can also not be credited with pushing through fixed-price contracts which were the rule already before the year 1942. Revised macroeconomic data indicate that labour productivity displayed a rather u-shaped development during World War II, decreasing between 1939 and 1941 and increasing from 1941 onwards. In our opinion, the initial decrease in productivity was caused by start-up problems resulting from the astonishing growth of both the capital stock and the work force of traditional and newly founded armament firms. The increase in productivity after 1941 then resulted mainly from learning-by doing.
 
This article gives an idea of the role that forests and timber played in occupying Eastern Europe by Nazi Germany. After introducing to forest policies of the "Altreich", strategies of gaining control about the European forestry and timber trade will be described. While striving for economic self-sufficiency, timber became more and more an essential raw material, especially after the Second World War had begun. In order to use the forests of the East for German purposes, structures of forest administration were established referring to German examples. Numerous prominent forest scholars participated in carrying out basic research on East European forestry. They have to be regarded as a part of injustice established by the Nazis together with a number of forest practitioners. The local population was forced to hard labour in tree-felling and afforestations. Farmers were "resettled" since they had to make room for new woods. However, these forests were also thought to support the shaping of "German" landscapes instead of the "Slavonic" ones.
 
This article aims at deconstructing the myth of a farsighted, sustainable Venetian environmental policy in Early Modern Times with respect to the dimension of economic consequences resulting from a project of river diversion decided on in 1488. At first, the article traces the tendency of glorifying Venetian environmental history which can be observed since 1966 at the latest. This tendency is interpreted as the very last metamorphosis of the so called "Myth of Venice", i.e. the aristocratic narrative of legitimation which developed into a literary and historiographic topic after the downfall of the Republic of Venice in 1797. This "Myth of Venice" forced the creation of a social consensus - with respect to the maintenance of the lagoon - concerning river diversions as a reaction to a critical deterioration of Venetian environmental conditions by the end of the 15th century. This consensus caused the hierarchization of the territory of the Republic of Venice at the expense of the Terraferma. Finally, the article clarifies how the hydrological measures undertaken in Early Modern Times cemented a problematic disintegration of the Venetian dominion and its economic area; in particular the article traces the obstruction of the implementation of irrigation techniques relevant to agrarian economy by the Venetian water policy.
 
The relationship between wages and employment growth was one of the most widely discussed macroeconomic issues in the last century and even today, it is the subject of ongoing debate. Proponents of the so-called Purchasing Power Theory of Wages suggest that, particularly in recessionary periods, rising wages increase employment through raising the total demand for goods and services. The positive demand-side effects of wage increases therefore allegedly outweigh the negative supply-side effects. Others argue the converse. From their point of view, a rise in wages leads to higher labour costs, firms accordingly substitute labour for capital and outsource production to countries with a lower wage level. Ultimately, this process would lead to a decline in employment. A brief look at public and political debate suggests that there is no societal consensus on the direction of impact of higher wages on employment. This paper reviews the debate on the Purchasing Power Theory of Wages which can be traced back to the early 1920's. The lines of argument of both proponents and opponents of this theory are presented. It is shown that the Purchasing Power Theory has neither been verified nor disproved unequivocally at a theoretical level. Furthermore, there is a surprising lack of empirical work on the relationship between wages and employment growth.
 
The conception "mining region" underlines the dominance of mining activities in an area. Within the last years new research on the lower and upper Harz and the Vosges in Early Modern Time have highlightend mutual influences and reciprocal impacts in politics, economy, law, culture, religion and society as well as a process of aggregation of structures and conflicts. Different economic interests of mining and agrarian communities effected a new specific area, the social region. As the economic impact normally changes social impacts and outlast an economic period, analysing and understanding an economic region as a social region in respect to the historical character we may find concepts of managing economic and social problems of today.
 
For both periods under investigation similar phenomena in the development of hospitals can be found; however, they happened in different way and time. Protection by the commune of the city's main spital and the "Verpfründung" of this institution occurred in the Rhine-Maas area in the 13th century, in Poland however, it only occurred in the 14th century. The early establishment of spitals was important for the development of the city commune; in the West this was done by the citizens themselves and in Poland this was mainly done by the founder of the city. In the Rhine-Maas area hospitals connected with city districts (Stadtteilspitäler) existed mainly in the early communal period, whereas in the second area of research, i.e. in Poland, they only developed in the 15th century. A reform of the charity system based to the Italian example (centralisation, specialisation, medicalisation, care of foundlings) was introduced in most towns of the Rhine-Maas area and in Breslau at the end of the medieval age.
 
What did it mean to sell land in the later Middle Ages? Who were the sellers, who the buyers? How frequent were such transactions? Which obligations had to be respected in order to make the intended contracts valid? These questions are addressed in the following paper, relying on sources from Tyrol. The methods used are those of economic anthropology, which gives emphasis to the social context of economic activities. The field of inquiry is then enlarged upon claims to revenue from land. It is shown that these claims were often dissociated from their material basis, the landed property. They circulated as abstract titles to rent and could be sold without any effect on the property in the corresponding estate.
 
We analyze the numeracy of different social strata in Georgia during the 19th century. We focus especially on the ruling class, the nobility, relative to other social groups, because the attitude of this ruling class towards education could influence the institutional setting of this part of the Russian Empire. If the nobility preferred education over other potential values (for example, military values), this could have allowed to create growth-promoting institutions. However, we find that the Georgian nobility had actually surprisingly low numeracy values. We compare this situation with other countries.
 
This paper describes the fundamentals and requirements of a project that attempts to create a statistical reference data base for Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. A corresponding print edition will be published in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education. First, the main source of data – official statistics in Germany – in terms of their suitability and characteristics for a Historical Statistics is characterized. This is followed by an overview of previous efforts to compile statistical data on historical series and leads to some conclusions: In the past few decades, there has always been episodic interest in historical time series by official statistics, by empirical social and economic research as well as by economic and social history, but only with small overlaps. A short appendix provides a first orientation of the current statistical publication landscape, which forms the starting point for a future comprehensive Historical Statistics.
 
The development of the German shipbuilding industry has been neglected by economic history for a long time. Especially its business strategies have not been a subject of research for a long time. The article analyzes the process of decision making and the formulation of business strategies in case of the Bremer Vulkan, one of the greatest German enterprises in shipbuilding during the interwar period as well as the relation between its board of managers and August Thyssen as the most prominent shareholder and member in the board of directors.
 
The generation of entrepreneurs socialized in the German Empire determined the economic development after 1918 and was also responsible for political events in the Weimar Republic and during National Socialism. The following article investigates the political attitude and the habitual (dis-)continuities of a symbolic figure and spokesman of German heavy industry in the first half of the 20th century. As part of his company's expansion after the First World War Paul Reusch gained an enormous increase in power, which was not limited to the economic field. Among the Ruhr industrialists he represented a far more radical position in social and economic policies than other entrepreneurs. With his permanent attacks on the parliamentary system of the Weimar Republic, he contributed significantly to its demise, even if he did not intend to put Hitler into power. With the rise of the Nazi party his political influence waned. Despite the willing participation of the Gutehoffnungshütte (GHH) to Nazi rearmament conflicts increased and led to his dismissal in 1942.
 
The conflicting demands of economic law and economic practice in the early modern Holy Roman Empire have rarely been discussed in historic research. By investigating a legal dispute over some jewish silver traders before the Imperial Aulic Council (Reichshofrat) in the years 1766–1768 the following article is able to show the deteriorating economic and social situation of Jews since the 17th century. It is furthermore possible to provide some conclusions about the influence of law within the conflicting fields of economy, territory and Empire. Thus it can reveal some aspects of the constitutional and Weberian institutionalized state's (Anstaltsstaat) development under mercantilistic terms, which ranked economic practice and the law of the Empire on roughly the same pre-modern level.
 
This essay explains how three major forces reshaped the Rhine trade during the period of revolutionary French hegemony: war, commercial reform, and blockade. The interplay of those influences also created three distinct periods of river trade within the two decades of French occupation. The paper is based on archival and published sources, including the few surviving data that permit some attempt at quantitative analysis; previously unpublished toll data for the years 1806 to 1813 are particularly useful. The article presents an analytic overview of what happened to the river's trade, including some clear conclusions about merchandise volumes and patterns of trade.
 
19th-century Brazilian cookery books can be used as sources concerning the process of constituting national identity and material culture, as well as the fundamental basis for the proclamation of the Brazilian Cuisine. Therefore the article deals with the utilization of cookery books for the unique development of the Brazilian Cuisine during the Empire of Brazil, suggests the analytic parameters and methods, provides a brief overview about the related historic background and subsequently also presents the existing cookery books. These are the first Brazilian cookery book Cozinheiro Imperial, followed by Cozinheiro Nacional, and a compendium of four confectionery cookery books, Doceira Brasileira, Doceira Domestica, Doceiro Nacional and Diccionario do Doceiro Brasileiro. Those confectionery cookery books demonstrate the important role of sugar in Brazilian society and depict nutrition reality while the Cozinheiro Nacional and the development of the Cozinheiro Imperial offer insight on the national cuisine as a cultural construct, which has been utilized by the political and social elites as a part in the process of shaping the Brazil's national identity.
 
Based on the life of the social democrat Wilhelm Engler, this article discusses the rising of the SPD in Baden (in Southern Germany) from a marginalized opposition party to one of the parties supporting the state in the Weimar Republic. Similar to the cooperation of the so-called “Großblock” (Great Block) between the Social Democrats and the liberal parties on a state level beginning in 1905, Engler collaborated as a city councillor with the national-liberal mayor Otto Winterer on a municipal level. Therefore, the first part of the paper discusses how a reformist social democrat could exert an influence on the municipal level in the years before the Great War. The second part deals with the disagreements within the SPD in Freiburg on the party's course during the war. Furthermore, it pictures Engler's role as chairman of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council. The last part is about Engler's initiatives as responsible secretary for economic and social policies during the 1920s.
 
In the 1890s, the first German cities established labour offices. Within a few decades, the country was covered by a network of (mostly) municipal labour offices that controlled about one-third of labour turnover. Previous research has described labour intermediation as an instrument that regulated and ordered labour markets. Yet this article proposes a different interpretation: in line with recent research in social and cultural studies, markets are being understood as products of ongoing processes of construction. Labour offices are one locale where the making of labour markets took place. The consequences of this perspective will be discussed using the example of the labour offices' registration of vacancies and job-seekers before 1914. Registration is understood as a practice that contributed to the construction of traded goods. Particularly the use of vocation (Beruf) and gender as classificatory schemata proved important. In addition, registration involved the use of administrative tools such as cards and lists. Finally, the article argues that these tools represented different forms of 'marketization'.
 
This research project aims at investigating the importance of certain banks and bank groups on the market for initial public offerings in Imperial Germany from 1896 to 1913. One can observe a small oligopoly at the top of the market, consisting of the same universal banks that dominated other financial services such as government bonds and loans. Furthermore the market became more and more concentrated over time. However, the main finding of the project is that this did not directly translate in market power. The market was still quite competitive and firm-banks relationship depended on performance of the first issues.
 
The Cologne fluid measures “Ahm” or “Ohm” were actually derived from the load of pack animals (sagma, saum, some, ame). Not only were they called by that name but there is evidence that from the late Middle Ages onwards they had been given a weight/volume which exactly corresponds to the load put on a horse. The research project “Documentation and the object-based tradition of historical metrology in the area of 'Deutsches Reich' until 1871/1872” (1980–1984), financed by the VW Foundation and organized by the chair for historical economic and social studies (Prof. H. Witthöft, team member H. Ziegler) made it possible to document and analyse the relevant objects in museums and collections, with the help of the local offices of weights and measures. Based on numerous standards in these traditions as analysed by the author of this article, it was possible for him to clarify and document the exact correspondence of the volumina of “Ahm” and “Ohm” with the mass of the saddle load. There can be no doubt about the correct gauging or the standards on the one hand, and their exact relation to the respective animals (donkey, mule, horse). Only since the pack animal was replaced by freight carriages, the oil-Ohm could also be calculated as wine- or beer-Ohm. In the 16th century it is documented that at the customs at the Lueg (Brenner 1558), the “Saum” (cart load) was already used as a partially abstract weight standard: “Four Cente German weight is a cart load (cart Saum) and three Cente is a Rossam (horse load)”.
 
Despite their attendance of similar meetings concerning a variety of commodities neither the British government nor British businessmen showed great interest in international conferences on timber trade organised by the League of Nations in 1932 and 1933. This article seeks to explain this rather surprising finding. In doing so, it also highlights the hitherto almost unexplored economic history of timber industry and of timber trade in industrialised societies and tries to encourage more research on this topic. In order to explain the lack of interest the article discusses three aspects: Firstly, it pays attention to the high economic importance of timber for the British economy of the 1930s. Secondly, it asks whether the politics of Imperial Preference followed by the National Government in the 1930s were responsible for the lack of interest. Thirdly, it shows that the absence of British representatives at the League of Nations conferences might be best explained by their involvement in informal negotiations between the exporters. By discussing this kind of transnational cooperation of timber merchants the article also challenges the common characterisation of the 1930s as an era of economic disintegration.
 
At the beginning of the 1980s Libya became the most important economic partner of the Federal Republic of Germany in Africa. This development requires explanation because the Arabian state under the leadership of Muammar al-Gaddafi supported international terrorism, threatened safety in North Africa and disregarded human rights. Using select examples, this essay examines the economic relationship between the two states and shows why the Federal Government promoted such a development. Among other things, it was important to the government Schmidt/Genscher, due to the East/West conflict which intensified since the end of the 1970s, to prevent a tight relationship between Libya and the USSR. Furthermore, motives concerning energy security and employment politics played an important role, just as security policy reasons.
 
The aim of this project is a historical study on the business policy of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG (United Steelworks Corp.) in the Third Reich. Created by a merger of several steel and black coal mining companies of the German Ruhr district in 1926, the trust became the leading German iron and steel producer in the 1930s. It will be shown how far corporate freedom of action was restricted by the economic authorities of the regime, and to what extent the management was still able to pursue corporate strategies based on long-term profit expectations. Thus it represents a contribution to the ongoing debate about the nature of the economic system in National Socialist Germany.
 
The professional training of the state labour administration did not meet the SA's demands. Therefore, the SA built its own camps for unemployed comrades in 1933, financed by subsidies from state unemployment insurance funds. While propaganda praised the “purely social purposes” of the auxiliary camps, apparently many “leaders” and inhabitants profited at the expense of the subsidies, that increasingly were left uncontrolled. Finally, it seems that the camps were less intended for professional training than they were about keeping the aggressive SA veterans off the streets so that the NS leadership was untroubled by their own supporters.
 
Commissional research implies chances, temptations and problems. This becomes obvious in the case of Carl Diem who was a central figure of sport organization and ideology from the Wilhelminian era up to the Federal Republic. After having been recognized as an authority of sport through long time, his name became controversial during the 1990s because of his involvement in Nazi policy of sport and war. The German Sport Federation launched a research project, resulting among others in a collected volume. It presents eye-opening detail studies on the history of body culture and of sportive mass rituals, but the bridging between social history and biography, which is discussed in a spirit of “postmodern deconstruction”, fails. The approach lacks a critical theory of fascist sport as unified singular, which was the project of both the Nazi state and Carl Diem – and continued in post-1945 Olympism.
 
Wilfrid Schreiber (1904–1975) became prominent in German social policy by a plan (published in 1955) to change the static public pension scheme into a dynamic one. Schreiber was a journalist dealing with broadcasting programme. Since 1933 he was employed by the state radio company in Cologne and later in Berlin. The period of Schreiber's life from 1933 to 1945 remained in the dark until recently. The result of my research shows a remarkable career in the Nazi-propaganda machine. Publications of Schreiber up to the end of the war had no link to economics or pensions. Beside his official duties Schreiber dealt privately with economic topics and was in contact with academic economists. The hypothesis is plausible that Schreiber up to the end of the war became already familiar to some degree with the pension topic.
 
The objective of the study is to present a historical perspective of technological and technical innovation giving new understanding of social values and cognition of individuals as drivers of technological and technical innovation. A special contribution is that historical comparative case studies over a long period of time have been elevated to serve as empirical evidence in current academic debate. The first case is the Imperium Romanum in the 2nd and the 3rd century AD and l'Ancien Régime in France in the 18th century. The second case is la Nouvelle-France and l'Ancien Régime in Metropolitan France in the 18th century. The first comparison is about two economies with similar starting points but with very different results. The second comparison consists of two almost identical societies experiencing very different developments in terms of technological and technical innovation. The key to understanding the diverging developments are differences in societal values and individual cognition. This research approach tests in a unique way how universal, in the course of history, the drivers of innovation are.
 
The following paper analyses the marketing strategies of “Sparkassen” (savings banks) and their umbrella association, the German Savings and Giro Association, regarding World Thrift Day in post-war Germany. After the West German currency reform in 1948, the World Thrift Day was a very convenient occasion to restore the savers' confidence successfully. The latter is proved by a quantitative analysis. In addition, the paper identifies two different phases of World Thrift Day marketing. The first one is characterised by moralising advertising strategies, focussing on thrift education. This approach reflected the organisational basic assumptions. Till 1957, the conceptual design was based on generalised advertising messages: they turned to the public in order to communicate the social commitment of “Sparkassen”. However, in the late 1950s marketing conceptions changed and customer orientation pervaded the World Thrift Day advertisement. In this context, two “emerging” target groups are discussed: women and wage earners' households.
 
Emil Kirdorf is known for his early promotion activities for the National Socialism. While research has centered his role in financing the National Socialist Party since the second half of the 1920s, this paper considers the conditions of his rise to one of the most influential business managers in the Ruhr-valley in the days of the German Empire. In fact, Kirdorf s future prospect was not promising when he began working in this area in 1871. The weaving mill of his father had crashed and it was only by the mediation of his brother that he was recruited as a finance director (book keeper) for a small coal-mine in the Ruhr-valley. When he was hired for managing the Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG, a company that was mainly founded by the Disconto-Gesellschaft in 1873, he became its appointed director. This company developed into one of the greatest coal and steel companies in Europe. Although Kirdorf s authority as a director was highly restricted in the first years, he managed to increase his executive powers by his campaign for concentration and cartelization in the industry.
 
Top-cited authors
Jochen Streb
  • Universität Mannheim
Rainer Fremdling
  • University of Groningen
Reiner Stäglin
  • German Institute for Economic Research
Margrit Grabas
  • Universität des Saarlandes
Eike Emrich
  • Universität des Saarlandes