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Theoretical Articles

The Family Business Remnant or Elixir of the Market Economy?

Faced with the question, do we not feel as we do when faced with bad weather? -We know what it is but can we put it into words?
Jörg Mittelsten Scheid

Management Mistakes — Do We Need More History in Business Economics?

Many practitioners and far too many university lecturers in business economics believe that because management techniques must be up to date the best way is to translate the latest or most fashionable British or American literature on management methods and teach that: the older tradition that has been handed down to us through history would not stand up to competition; it is antiquated and rightly forgotten.
Dieter Schneider

Historical Studies

Germany on the World Market at the End of the 19th Century

Successful Supplier of Consumer Related Manufactures
In the decades following 1870 Germany finally became an industrial nation. The fast growth of the producer goods industry is evidence of this. This development was determined in particular by iron and steel, engineering and the chemical industry. It also influenced Germany’s exports. In 1913 two-fifths of manufactured exports were products of these “modern” industries, as against only 15% in 1872. Thus a certain parallel can be clearly seen in the change of the structure of production and exports as analysed by Walther G.Hoffmann1. And this is also the impression conveyed by various textbooks2.
Christoph Buchheim

The Moneyless Economy — from Temple Exchange to the Barter Club

Ever since man discovered money, there have probably been reformers wanting to abolish it again1. Like the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel, the discovery of money has an ambivalent reputation: as the “greatest tool of freedom that man ever invented” (Hayek)2, but also as “the most evil curse of man” (Sophocles)3. The radical beginnings of reform along the path back to barter are largely of an ideological or religious nature. There is the well-known fable in which the devil gives man money as his contribution to the Creation4. Paul the Apostle considered greed for money as the “root of all evil”5. It is therefore no surprise that in history, religious zealots such as the Anabaptists in Münster (1533/34) abolished money. Orthodox Marxist theories, according to which money represents the vital nerve of capitalism, move in the same direction. This would make the extinction of the money economy, then, a prerequisite of the socialist state in its final stage. The “stone-age socialist” experiments carried out in Russia after the October Revolution and in Cambodea demonstrate that the answer to the question whether money can be done away with is still “no”. In an economy based on the division of labour, money is clearly dispensable only with small, autonomous economic entities such as a monastery or convent, or a family.
Hugo Godschalk

Austrian Banks at the Zenith of Power and Influence

System and Problems of the Austrian Finance Capital from the 1890s to the International Economic Crisis of the 1930s
As early as the 19th century, discretion, secrecy and a carefully directed accounting policy belonged to the “virtues” of Austrian banks. This may have simplified business activity, but it has cast up extraordinary difficulties for the historian mapping out the history of Austria’s banking system. The “tangible”, the „factual” or what the banks called facts, has long since been available, a larger number of works on this topic appearing between the World Wars1. Apart from a very few exceptions2, more recent publications have, strictly speaking, failed to top this level of knowledge. The cause of this may be looked for in a predilection for description and, incident thereto, in the relatively slight penetration of the history of banking in Austria. It may therefore be worth trying to pick up the thread of the discussion prior to the Second World War, which focussed above all on the question of the “power” of the banks. Furthermore, the question may also be asked whether the largely cut-and-dried periodization of economic history corresponds with Austrian banking history. The First World War was a turning point in many respects, but was it one where the history of banking is concerned?
Dieter Stiefel

Industry, Technical Progress and State. The Synthesis of Rubber in Germany 1906–1944/45

The synthesis of rubber belongs to the great technical innovations that stamp the industrial developments of this century. Its realisation in Germany in the first half of the 20th century is closely connected with economic and political history. Started in the market economy of the late Kaiserreich; in accelerated use, without being fully technically developed, in the war economy of the First World War, and, after a further interval during the Weimar Republic, realized as a large scale technology in the Third Reich, this synthesis may be used as an example to recreate important stages of the economic history of this period.
Gottfried Plumpe


A Review of the New Literature on Business History

About 150 of the approximately 250 monographic descriptions concerning business history, which were published in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1984, commemorated the anniversary of a company or association or the birthday of an entrepreneur. These works were therefore a commemorative publication or contract work in its narrowest sense and were therefore not primarily intended for readers with scientific demands. In spite of this many of these commemorative documents contain information, of interest to economic and in particular business historians, which was first published as a result of papers from the company archives. In addition there were also publications — some supported by companies — which were not only concerned with one company, entrepreneur or association and which were mainly written by scientists.
Beate Brüninghaus

A Review of the New Literature on Banking History

The book “Der gebremste Wohlstand. Wiederaufbau, Wachstum, Strukturwandel 1945–1980”1 by the Belgian economic historian Herman van der Wee appeared in 1984 as the sixth volume in the series “Geschichte der Weltwirtschaft im 20. Jahrhundert” (edited by Wolfram Fischer). The first part of the book is concerned with the growth of the world economy after the Second World War. In the second section the emphasis is placed on the institutional background to this growth. For the bank historian the chapters dealing with the gold dollar standard as the international monetary system (1944–1971) and the organisation of a new monetary system in 1971 in the second part of the book are of special interest.
Hanne Braun

Changes and Problems in International Export Financing

Report on the Second International Symposium of the “Institut für bankhistorische Forschung” held at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt am Main, on 6 April 1984
The present international debt crisis has to a considerable extent resulted from the direct or indirect financing of exports — such was the tenor of the welcoming speech delivered by Christian Seidel, member of the Board of Managing Directors at Dresdner Bank. He expressed the view, furthermore, that the topic of the symposium raises the fundamental question as to how the world economy will continue to develop. Seidel noted that the endeavours to make international financial markets fully efficient should not, however, entail a return to barter (compensation transactions), irrespective of whether or not certain countries are in difficulty.
Hanne Braun

Protectionism — Progress or Regress?

Report on the 9th Public Symposium held by the German Society for Business History, 18 May, 1984 in Düsseldorf
A continuing world-wide weakness in economic growth and large numbers of unemployed tempt several countries to put up trade barriers in order to protect their economy from foreign competition. The problem of protectionism becomes particularly relevant in the light of a world economic summit meeting where it is one of the leading discussion points.
Beate Brüninghaus

Savings Banks during Upheaval and Crisis

Report on the Meeting held by the Working Group for Savings Banks History, 4 and 5 July, 1984 in Neuhof a. d. Zenn
The aim of the “Arbeitskreis für Sparkassengeschichte” is to intensify research into savings bank history and also make the information applicable in practice and available to a wide audience of scientists and practitioners. The working group was founded on a private basis in mid-1981 by the savings bank director Manfred Pix and Professor Dr. Dr. Josef Wysocki and, as a result of its acclaimed importance for historical research into savings banks, was taken over on 1st January 1985 by the “Gesellschaft zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung über das Spar- und Girowesen e.V., Bonn”.
Jürgen Mura

Enterprise and State after the Second World War A German-Austrian Comparison

Report on the scientific meeting held by the German Society for Business History, Cologne, and the Society for Scientific Research in Business Biography and Company History, Vienna, 11 October, 1984 in Vienna
The contribution from Professor Dr. Alois Brusatti, Professor for Economic and Social History at the Economic University in Vienna, outlines the relationship between state and enterprise in Austria. This article provides the first review of a development, specific to Austria, towards an extensive nationalization of the economy in a non-COMECON state. On 26th July 1946 the first nationalization law was passed in Austria in which shares in 70 businesses in trade and industry and three leading banks were given to the state which agreed to compensate the previous owners. The background to this decision was the concern to protect German property in Austria from the Soviets and save them for the young republic. In addition a role was played by the intellectual trends during the period after the war. The socialists considered that all private ownership of production resources endangered the freedom of the individual. It was also believed that the private capital available would hardly be sufficient to rebuild industry.
Beate Brüninghaus


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