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Sattler, F., Boyer, C. (Eds.) (2009). European Economic Elites. Between a New Spirit of Capitalism and the Erosion of State Socialism. Duncker & Humblot.
Sattler, Friederike and Boyer, Christoph. European Economic Elites: Between a New Spirit of Capitalism and the Erosion of State Socialism. Duncker & Humblot, 2009. Book.
Sattler, F, Boyer, C (eds.) (2009): European Economic Elites: Between a New Spirit of Capitalism and the Erosion of State Socialism, Duncker & Humblot, [online]


European Economic Elites

Between a New Spirit of Capitalism and the Erosion of State Socialism

Editors: Sattler, Friederike | Boyer, Christoph

Schriften zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, Vol. 84


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Since the beginning of the 1970s, democratic capitalist Western Europe as well as state-socialist Eastern Europe faced the double challenge of the third industrial revolution and the second globalization. The accelerated political, social, economic and cultural change did not lead to a crisis "of capitalism" or "of communism", instead challenging European industrial society as such. In 1989, after a long erosion process, state socialism failed at the task of solving the manifold problems of adjustment; yet a lasting solution is also not conceivable within the context of a neo-liberal "new spirit of capitalism".

The present volume, which arose from the interdisciplinary cooperation of historians and social scientists, discusses the consequences of this "great transformation" for the economic elites in both "West" and "East": for their qualification profiles and their social composition, their options and their room for maneuver, their value systems and legitimization strategies, their self-perception and their public image. Economic elites in both systems saw themselves forced to adopt new strategies which very often seem quite different at the surface; looking deeper, they exhibit clear similarities. After 1989, the consolidation of the post-socialist economic elites has, all in all, been completed according to the Western example. The emerging convergences, which are being supported by the process of European integration, contributed to the internationalization of the European economic elites. The volume discusses the problem how strong this tendency was and if it has already created truly transnational economic elites more or less separated from the national context.

The contributions, which are embedded into a coherent interpretative framework, are penned by internationally renowned experts and junior researchers from a wide array of countries, from Britain to Poland and from Norway to Portugal. The innovative value of the volume lies in its Europe-wide scope and, above all, in its comparative East-West perspective. A genuinely European community of researchers tackles a topic which is indisputably current for history as well as for the social sciences.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Acknowledgements 5
Contents 7
Abbreviations 10
In Lieu of an Introduction: Big Structures, Large Processes and Huge Comparisons – A Frame of Interpretation 17
Friederike Sattler / Christoph Boyer: European Economic Elites between a New Spirit of Capitalism and the Erosion of State Socialism 19
I. European economic elites under current public criticism 19
II. The socio-economic transformations of late 20th century Europe 22
1. The two macro-models of post-1945 European history 24
2. The emerging crisis of the macro-models during the 1970s 26
a) The “West” 26
b) The “East” 28
c) Comparative perspective 32
III. Economic elites and socio-economic transformation in the late 20th century 33
1. Elite concepts 33
2. European economic elites: some “long lines” of development 37
3. Economic elites in the context of the two early post-war macro-models 42
a) The Western macro-model 42
b) The Eastern macro-model 44
c) The comparative perspective 45
4. Economic elites between a new spirit of capitalism and the erosion of state socialism 46
a) Economic elites and the crisis of the Western macro-model 46
b) Economic elites and the crisis of the Eastern macro-model 54
c) The comparative perspective 64
5. Transnational business elites? 67
Economic Elites in the Twentieth Century: Overviews from Western and Eastern Perspectives 71
Dieter Ziegler: Business Elites in the Twentieth Century – Germany and its Western Neighbours 73
I. The overall picture: high rates of self-recruitment in the European business elite 73
II. The main causes of self-recruitment within different Western European countries 74
1. Britain 74
2. France 75
3. Spain 76
III. The German business elite in the 20th century 77
1. High stability, but long-term changes in social composition 77
2. Changing educational profile 80
3. Patterns of socialization within the bourgeoisie and the educated classes 81
IV. Conclusion: New tendencies during the second half of the 20th century? 83
Ágnes Pogány: Hungarian Economic Elites in the Twentieth Century 85
I. Introduction 85
II. The Hungarian business elite between the two world wars 86
1. Composition and recruitment 88
2. Education and competence 90
3. Puritanism and luxury consumption 90
4. Business elite and economic anti-Semitism 91
III. The Hungarian economic elite after the Second World War 93
1. The worker-director 94
a) Recruitment composition and education 94
2. Cadre-managers 96
a) Recruitment 96
b) Education 97
3. Red barons 97
4. The “New Entrepreneurs” 98
IV. Conclusion 100
Formations and Profiles in Western Europe: Between Cohesion and Fragmentation 103
Hervé Joly: Die bemerkenswerte Persistenz der staatlichen grands corps bei der Rekrutierung der Wirtschaftseliten in Frankreich 105
I. Die Tradition der grands corps 105
II. Die allgemeine Entwicklung der pantouflage im 20. Jahrhundert 107
1. Die Positionen vor den Verstaatlichungen 107
2. Die Diversifizierung der grands corps außerhalb der traditionellen Branchen 112
3. Die Vorteile der Verstaatlichungen für die grands corps 113
4. Privatisierungen ohne größere Auswirkungen für die grands corps 116
III. Die privilegierte Position der grands corps: Erklärungen und Folgen 121
Fabio Lavista: Business Elites in Italy and the Failure of the National Planning Policies as a Vision of Development 129
I. Introduction 129
II. Post-war economic plans 131
III. The managerial roots of national economic planning 136
IV. National economic planning 144
V. Economic crisis, planning crisis and the fragmentation of the business elites 149
VI. Conclusion 152
Manuel Loff: Elites and Economic Modernization in Portugal (1945–1995): Authoritarianism, Revolution and Liberalism 153
I. Salazarist authoritarian regime 154
II. A traditionally elitist society 156
III. A time for change: economic development and social tension in the 1960s and 1970s 164
IV. Elites and Revolution 174
V. Post-Revolution (new?) elites 186
Thomas David et al.: The Swiss Business Elite between 1980–2000: Declining Cohesion, Changing Educational Profile and Growing Internationalization 197
I. Introduction 197
II. The disintegration of the Swiss company network (1980–2000) 199
1. 1910–1980: The heyday of the “Fortress of the Alps” 199
2. 1980–2000: The decline of the network 201
a) Actor centrality 202
III. 1980–: The decline of organized capitalism 204
1. Changing strategies of Swiss banks: investment banking and decreasing involvement in industrial companies 205
2. Consequences of the strategic reorientation of Swiss banks and companies for the domestic company network 207
IV. The changes within the business elite in Switzerland: 1980–2000 207
1. The changes in the educational background 208
2. The internationalization of the business elite in Switzerland 215
V. Conclusion 219
Formations and Profiles in Eastern Europe: Between Erosion and Transformation 221
Zsuzsanna Varga: The Agrarian Elite in Hungary before and after the Political Transition 223
I. Introduction 223
II. Historical background since the inter-war period 224
III. Collectivization Hungarian style: new mediators and informal bargaining in the early Kádár-era 227
IV. Political power and the agrarian elite in the 1970/1980s 233
1. Conflict between the heavy industrial lobby and the agrarian lobby 233
2. Changes in the socialist agrarian elite 237
V. The agrarian elite after the political transition 239
1. Compensation, privatization 239
2. “Green Barons” and family farms in agricultural production 244
VI. Conclusion 248
György Lengyel: Social Factors Conditioning the Recruitment of the Hungarian Economic Elite at the End of the 1990s 251
I. Introduction 251
II. The Hungarian economic elite at the end of the 1990s – in comparison with the general population 253
1. Schooling and social background 253
2. Gender and social background 256
3. Competence and loyalty 258
4. Career patterns 261
5. Combined effects 262
III. Conclusion 264
Marcel Boldorf: Elitentausch? Die betrieblichen Führungskräfte in Ostdeutschland seit den 1980er Jahren 265
I. Einführung 265
II. Konkurrierende Problemfaktoren 267
III. Gewicht und Rolle der DDR-Führungskräfte im vereinigten Deutschland 270
IV. Prägende Sozialisationsmerkmale der ostdeutschen Manager 273
V. Längerfristige Ursachen für die betrieblichen Defizite 277
VI. Schlussbemerkung 280
Libuše Macáková / Eduard Kubu: Transformation of Economic Elites after the Fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia 281
I. Introduction 281
II. Czech economic elites in state socialism 282
1. Economic elites after the establishment of the Communist dictatorship in 1948 283
2. Economic elites before the “velvet revolution” – the 1970s and 1980s 284
III. The disintegration of the pre-November economic elites in Czechoslovakia and the formation and development of elites during the social transformations 286
1. The formation of economic elites in the first half of 1990s 286
2. The formation of economic elites in the second half of the 1990s 291
3. The fragmented, yet consensually united economic elite after 1989 296
IV. Conclusion 296
Challenges and Responses: Strategies during the Third Industrial Revolution 299
Manuel Schramm: Wirtschaftseliten und Wissenstransfer in der DDR und Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1949–1990: Beispiele aus den „wissensbasierten Industrien“ 301
I. Einleitung 301
II. Die Einstellung der Wirtschaftseliten zu Hochschulen und Wissenschaft in den 1950er/60er Jahren 302
1. DDR 302
2. BRD 305
3. Vergleichsaspekte 309
III. Neue Technologien (1970er/80er Jahre) 309
1. CNC-Steuerungen 309
a) DDR 310
b) BRD 312
2. Biotechnologie 314
a) DDR 314
b) BRD 318
3. Vergleichsaspekte 319
IV. Ergebnisse 320
Kim Christian Priemel: Dispiriting Decade. Structural Crisis, Managerial Failure, and the Fall of the House of Flick, 1975–1985 323
I. Crisis? Whose crisis? 323
II. What’s happened so far, 1952–74 325
III. From bad to worse: Daimler and the aftermath, 1975–78 332
IV. Disillusion and dissolution, 1978–85 336
V. Conclusive remarks: slow learners and path dependencies 343
Christian Dirninger: Der politische Unternehmer – Ein österreichisches Beispiel 347
I. Der politische Unternehmer im Transformationsszenario 347
II. Der Beispielfall 349
III. Vom Beispielfall zum Modell 353
IV. Exemplarisches Entwicklungsmuster 356
1. Formierung (bis Ende der 1960er Jahre) 356
2. Der Finanz- und Wirtschaftspolitiker (1970–1981) 357
3. Der politische Banker (1981–1988) 363
4. Der strategische Berater (1988–1994/95) 365
5. Der politische Investor (ab 1994) 368
V. Zusammenfassung des analytischen Ansatzes 371
Trygve Gulbrandsen: Private Business Lobbying in a Corporatist Society – The Case of Norway 375
I. Introduction 375
1. Background and research questions 375
2. Theory and hypotheses 378
a) “Inner circle” and lobbying 378
b) Owners versus managers 380
c) The significance of previous experiences in the political system 381
II. Contexts 382
1. The economy: Norwegian capitalism 382
2. Politics: The state and Norwegian corporatism 385
III. Lobbying in Norway 388
1. Lobbying during the latest decades 388
2. The Norwegian Leadership Study 391
a) Data and methods 391
b) Findings 392
c) Discussion 399
IV. Conclusions 402
Change of Values, Interpretations and Legitimations 405
Peter Hübner: „Sozialistische Manager“ und betriebliche Sozialpolitik in der DDR und Polen. Anmerkungen zu einem Vergleich 407
I. Einleitung 407
II. Zum Verhältnis von staatlicher und betrieblicher Sozialpolitik 410
III. Soziale Erwartungen und Forderungen 413
IV. Konflikte und Konfliktverhalten 417
V. Soziale Wertorientierungen des Managements 422
VI. Fazit 424
Krzysztof Go ata: The Problems of a Business Elites’ Image and Reputation. The Example of Poland 427
I. Introduction 427
II. The evolution of the concept ‘entrepreneur’ 428
III. The entrepreneur, a stock character in business scandals 433
IV. Economic growth and the entrepreneur’s image 435
V. The ten most hated (Newsweek Poland 2004) 437
VI. ‘Wild capitalism’ or ‘political capitalism’? 439
VII. “Business in search of a persona” 444
VIII. Synopsis 446
Asta Vonderau: Enterprising self. Neue soziale Differenzierung und kulturelle Selbstdeutungen der Wirtschaftselite in Litauen 449
I. Einführung 449
II. Transformationen des Selbst 450
1. Der sozialistische Mensch 451
2. „Der neue Mensch“ nach dem Sozialismus 453
III. Neue soziale Differenzierung 455
1. Die Verlierer 456
2. Die Wirtschaftseliten als Gewinner 458
IV. Erfolgsbiographien 460
1. Konstruktionen biographischer Kontinuitäten zwischen Ost und West 462
2. Die symbolische Verortung im nationalen und europäischen Kontext 465
3. Zum kapitalistischen Erfolg durch (post-)sozialistische Erfahrungen 468
V. Schlussfolgerungen 469
On the Way towards a Transnational Business Elite? 471
Matthieu Leimgruber: Bringing Private Insurance Back In. The Geneva Association as a Transnational Insurance Think Tank (1973–2000s) 473
I. Introduction 473
II. Transnational business networks and think-tanks during the 1970s 474
III. At the origins of an International of insurers 477
IV. The “most prestigious assembly of world insurance” 479
V. Social policy from an insurer’s perspective 484
1. The “three-pillar doctrine” as a model for pension reform (1975–1985): save now ... 484
2. ... or work tomorrow: adding a fourth pillar to the retirement temple (mid 1980s–2000s) 488
VI. Conclusive remarks 490
Appendix: Tables and figures 492
Leslie Sklair: The Transnational Capitalist Class – Theory and Empirical Research 497
I. Introduction 497
II. Conceptualizing the transnational capitalist class 499
III. The four fractions of the TCC 503
1. TNC executives 503
2. Globalizing politicians and bureaucrats 504
3. Globalizing professionals 508
4. Consumerist elites (merchants and media) 509
IV. Case Studies 516
1. Tobacco industry 516
2. Ecological crisis 518
3. Contemporary architecture 520
V. Conclusion 521
Appendix 523
Bibliography 525
List of Authors 581
Index of Persons 585
Index of Companies 590