Der Wirtschaftshistorische Ausschuss des Vereins für Socialpolitik.
Eine disziplinhistorische Miniatur 1
The Economic History Committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik was founded 70 years ago as the first interest group for economic and social history in Germany. As did its five counterparts of other subfields in economics, the committee aimed at intensifying academic exchange in this field. Furthermore, it served as a lobby organisation for the discipline in the fast changing politics of higher education in Germany. It therefore can be considered as an important step in the discipline’s professionalization. The article gives a brief overview of the development of economic history in Germany starting with the Historical School at the end of the 19th century. The second part is dedicated to the institutional and academic history of the committee using archival documentation.
Martin Lutz und Boris Gehlen
Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Sinn? Unternehmer zwischen Gottesfurcht und Marktglaube im modernen Kapitalismus 19 291
This issue takes a critical look at the secularity of the modern businessman as frequently postulated in research. For this purpose, the contributions examine the contingency management and interpretation of meaning on the part of both genuinely religious and non-religious businesspeople. How, and with which references, symbolisms and semantics, did businesspeople justify their actions and give them meaning? While some legitimised their actions by grounding these in religious belief, for others a belief in the market’s productive forces offered a preferable interpretation. In both cases, the actors constructed their respective "promises of salvation" in a similar way, attempting to give their actions meaning and eliminate self-doubt through ostentatious, ritualized and symbolic communication. This special issue ties in with current discussions in social science and history about the relationship between religion and the economy. By drawing on cultural historical approaches, it offers new insights into the legitimation of entrepreneurial action in modern capitalism.
„Commercium nach dem Sinn Jesu“
Überlegungen zum Marktverhalten der Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine am Beispiel des Labradorhandels (1770–1815) 39
This paper analyses the market behaviour of the Moravian Church around 1800 as illustrated by the transatlantic trade with Labrador. The pietistic religious community, which originated in Herrnhut/Saxony, founded numerous missionary stations and settlements in the Atlantic world after 1732. In the course of this expansion, a broad range of trade opportunities opened up to the Moravians, which they utilised to finance their exceedingly expensive missionary activities. As this paper sets out, they founded their own Ship’s Company in London in 1770, which imported sought-after raw materials to Great Britain, such as whalebone or fur from Labrador. However, the leadership committee, known as the Unity Elders Conference, imposed strict regulations on the market activities of all Moravians. All trade activities had tobe consistent with biblical standards. This was intended to ensure that the individual merchant or missionary remained free of sin. The Unity Elders considered fair prices tobe of particular importance. This belief also served to distinguish the community from the large number of non-pietistic merchants and their trading practices.
H. Catherine Davies
Gott, Natur, Markt.
Semantiken von Wirtschaftskrisen in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts – 67
The article compares the semantics of economic crises in the second half of the 19th century, focussing on the German-speaking world during the crises of 1857 and 1873. It examines, firstly, religious interpretations of the crises, arguing that these were on the wane. Even during the earlier crisis of 1857 they only played a role in a few instances. Secondly, the article examines the semantics employed by entrepreneurs, as found in annual reports by chambers of commerce. During both crises, the authors of these reports criticized the misdeeds of individual entrepreneurs. In 1857/58, this co-existed with the use of metaphors of physiology and meteorology. In the 1870s, by contrast, such metaphors were less frequent.
Werte in Betrieb?
Religiöse Handlungsmuster, unternehmerische Handlungsfelder und der Markt 89
The article focuses on the connection between individual Christian religiosity, the patriarchal derivations for ideas of corporate order and the reaction to the labour or sales market using the example of the Saxon-Protestant pulp and paper enterprise Kübler & Niethammer. It shows that in late 19th and early 20th century, religion could be understood in a functional way in entrepreneurial contexts and therefore used flexibly: religious practices formulated as expectations by Christian entrepreneurs could develop into negotiating spaces between the workforce and the market. The latter is analysed in more detail using the example of work on Sundays. At the same time, this article points to the potential of studying industrialised rural regions, in which the connection between religion, business and the market still played a role in the first half of the 20th century – and probably beyond.
„Große Unternehmungen sind dringend zu widerraten“ – Die Wirtschaft der Deutschen Brüderunität zwischen Ideal und Reform 111
This essay examines the process of the fundamental reform undertaken by the Moravian Brethren in Germany at the end of the 19th century, building a separate and professionally managed business area within the church. An analysis of institutions, practices and semantics helps to explain this institutional change of a religious entrepreneur. Finally, the case of Sunday work in the church-owned companies illustrates the conditions set for corporate practices by the new institutional structure.
Wettbewerb als „Glaubensbekenntnis“?
„Religiöse“ Semantiken im Deutschen Handelstag (1861–1914) 137
On the basis of general discussions, the paper examines the “religious” functions of competition within the Deutsche Handelstag: firstly, the sensegiving function of “competition”, secondly, its relevance in questions of interest policy and thirdly, semantic change and ritualised communication. By referring to cultural studies approaches, the paper shows that institutions and market practices were discursively (or “religiously”) rationalised and legitimised even if they had nothing in common with competition anymore.
The concept of competition remained undefined in content, was sometimes only ritualised rhetoric and changed semantically as was opportune. Nevertheless, given that interest politics are specific to space and time, an analysis cannot solely rely on abstract cultural studies approaches: The DHT's policy positions cannot be explained by “religious” belief in competition alone as pragmatism was strong. At the same time, a cultural studies perspective contributes to a better understanding of the logic of organisation because it focuses on the changes in semantics and (ritualised) acts of self-assurance.
Religionsgemeinschaftliches Wirtschaften mennonitischer Unternehmer
im 20. Jahrhundert 161
The article analyses the interrelation of religious ethics and entrepreneurship by looking at the case of North American Mennonites in the twentieth century. It focuses on the interpretation of meaning and the discursive negotiation of entrepreneurial legitimacy during a time of rapid socio-economic transformation. The article interprets Mennonite entrepreneurship as a form of embedded economic action within the religious community. It argues that this embeddedness shaped discourses, institutions and practices of entrepreneurship. Mennonite entrepreneurs engaged in debates with church representatives and academics, and they frequently participated in church committees. While the article refers to the reception of Max Weber in economic history, the focus on entrepreneurship in the religious community offers a new perspective that relates to the concept of ethnic entrepreneurship.
„Wer befehlen soll, muß im Befehlen Seligkeit empfinden.“
Über die nichtökonomischen Momente unternehmerischen Erfolgs 187
On the whole, the question as to the historical possibility of entrepreneurship has not been posed. Entrepreneurship has since Schumpeter simply been assumed; translated into a kind of mechanics of leadership in modern management literature in which individual characteristics rescind behind the role expectations for managers. This is logical insofar as a theory of the entrepreneur can at best only exist in a trivial form, such as in the sense of a theory of right or wrong decisions, while the entrepreneur as an individual eludes a theoretical approach in categorical terms. So while these theoretical restrictions make a theory of the entrepreneur unattainable, typological statements can still be made about the historical phenomenon of “entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour”. This is the starting point of the following article. Characteristics, behavioural patterns and lifestyle details are extracted from entrepreneurial careers of undisputed relevance in German economic and business history between roughly 1850 and 1930: these are then brought together and generalised into an “ideal type” entrepreneur. It will become apparent that entrepreneurship is ultimately based on circumstances, preconditions and attributes which economic or decision theories can only insufficiently grasp: in fact, specific aspects of each individual personality – some of which only fully develop in the course of entrepreneurial practice – determine behaviour and these are themselves again very individual. In a certain sense, entrepreneurship represents a kind of “doer type”, a quality which calls for a whole breadth of influences which in turn cannot be deduced in economic terms.
Forschungs- und Literaturberichte
Geldtheorie und -politik in Preußen Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts 217
In the history of economic thought, monetary theories in the Germanspeaking world of the early modern era are considered backward compared to the approaches in other European countries. This backwardness can be illustrated by two authors from the mid-18th century who were not only contemporaries but also successively in the service of Frederick II (“the Great”) of Prussia. The first is Johann Philipp Graumann, one of the 'projectors' of the 18th century. As master of the mints in Prussia, he developed a coin project, where he tried to implement a new monetary standard to promote trade, generate seigniorage income and implement the Prussian coins as a kind of a reserve currency. In his writings, he developed a typical mercantilistic monetary theory with a clear understanding of the mechanism in the balance of payments. But even when he tried to include credit instruments, he did not take banks or broader financial markets into account. The second thinker is Johann Heinrich Gottlob Justi, who took the opposite position concerning the coin project as well as in his theory. He defended a strictly metalistic monetary approach where the value of money is only based on the metal's value. While Graumann rejected the English coin system, Justi recommended its laws for countries without their own mines, because the sovereign should not misuse his right of coinage. For him, the monetary system had tobe reliable and stable to serve trade and economic development.
Birger P. Priddat
Polanyi und North
Über eine Quelle moderner Institutionenökonomie aus der Auseinandersetzung über antike Reziprozität, Exchange und Institutionen 259
Douglass C. North developed his institutional economics in critical contrast to Polanyi’s reciprocity/exchange scheme. More precise analysis, however, allows North’s institutions to decode reciprocity, so that North’s theory appears not as a counterpoint to Polanyi, but as a further development – albeit with partially opposite consequences. This contrast is illustrated through the reconstruction of the ancient economy.
Corrigendum to: Oligarchs in Ukrainian Foreign Policymaking:
Examining Influences in Transnational Politics 279