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L'américanisation en Europe au xxe siècle : économie, culture, politique. Volume 1

 | 
Isabelle Lescent-Giles
, 
Dominique Barjot
, 
Marc de Ferrière

Première partie. Sources et origines

What is Americanisation?

Or about the use and abuse of the Americanisation-concept

Harm G. Schröter

Texte intégral

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CONCEPT AND OUR QUESTIONS

1“The World Welcomes America's Cultural Invasion” was the head-line of a series of articles by the International Herald Tribune which started on October 26, 1998. At the end of the century American ideas again triumphed in many areas and many ways. Several characteristics have been suggested for the 20th century, such as the century of socialism, or of totalitarism or the century of atomic power. Though partly true, they do not cover all. However, if we think of the influence of the USA, their growth in wealth and power from the beginning until at the end of the last century they represented the only world hegemon, it surely can be labelled the American century.

  • 1 J. Zeitlin, “Introduction: Americanisation and its Limits: Reworking US Technology and Management i (...)
  • 2 e.g. R. Wagnleitner, “Here, There and Everywhere”: The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture (...)

2Our contribution tries to understand the radiation of the US during the 20th century in a very broad sense. According to Jonathan Zeitlin Americanisation represents “the largest and up to date most significant example of global phenomenon...”.1 In history we find several of such a radiation, e.g. France was the accepted lead-nation during the 18th century. Radiation means an attractiveness, which is widely accepted in other nations. It is because of this attractiveness that other nations are prepared to take over and learn. Americanisation became a global process. It was not just the parts of Europe occupied by US-troops after the Second World War which became Americanised, but wherever people could decide freely on their preference of choice. In this contribution we focus on this learning-process. In the case of the USA, historians have described this process as Americanisation, and many very different books have been published on it.2 They showed the vast effect the US had on people in other States in fields such as the development of youth culture, taste, or consumption patterns during the20th century.

3However, is it not strange that one of the “most significant phenomenon’s” of the century was not reflected accordingly in economic history before the 1990s? How can we explain this gap? After an initial hesitation economic historians too have recendy underlined the importance of this transfer. The concept of Americanisation is a cultural one, which from a view-point of methodology is less well defined than e.g. cliometrics. The fact that cliometrics has been one main field of occupation for a whole generation of economic historians may help to explain their initial hesitation to take up Americanisation. But today there are more than about 200 studies in this field of economic history alone, mainly from young scholars, which indicates a change of preferences. The contributions in these two volumes add to this number.

4The concept raises many questions, above all: How could the US manage to exert such a pressure, such a power on other States, organisations, and people? Did they consciously manage — in other words, was Americanisation a reflected policy or was it rather an unexpected by-product or both, including changes over time? What means of influence where used? Why were the US patterns of behaviour so widely accepted in other nations? Who were the actors in this process? How did the transfer took place? What sorts of channels and conduits were used for it and how did they influence the message? What sort of changes and adaptations were applied? How large or how important became Americanisation? Did it change over time and what sort of phases can we find? Where are the limits? What methods can be employed in finding and identifying cases of Americanisation? How can we exclude reasons for a change which are not related to Americanisation? Such questions should be tackled with before we judge the usefulness, the scope, or invalidity of the concept.

5All societies are subject to a certain change; capitalistic ones are even based on dynamic change, as many economists from Marx to Schumpeter have shown. In these two volumes the part-takers in the Roubaix conference explore many cases of Americanisation, and it is striking that so many economic actors in so many different States decided in the development of their preferential choices to look for American patterns instead of indigenous or other ones. It is the amount of these preferential choices which form the trend for an Americanisation. In all societies the amount of items subject to change usually is considerably smaller than those which remain stable. Of course the limits of change are to be reflected, but we insist that all cases of Americanisation at any given time affected only parts the respective economic institutions, while others — the greater part of it — remained stable. However, the focus is on change, not on stability.

6Working with the concept of Americanisation resembles a bit to research on multinational or transnational enterprise (mne). Nearly all such firms still are deeply rooted in their home-country when main issues such as personnel, production, or R&D are considered. In spite of this predominant national character, research concentrates on the specific change, because, seen over a long period, foreign direct investment might entail a change of their national character. Therefore it is the change which attracts attention, in contrast to what remained relatively stable.

7To a certain extent Americanisation is to be compared to technology transfer as well. Transfer of technology used to be embedded in certain everyday-practices and values — in other words: in culture. Americanisation deals with transfer of organisational features, management and financial practices, etc., issues which are even closer interwoven culturally. Since with the international transfer of technology and technologic the issue of culture is well established and so an important and wide-spread question, it is surprising that the corresponding issue, the international transfer of economic institutions and economic culture is far less developed.

DEFINITIONS AND METHODS

  • 3 e.g. in the series “Our National Problems”, Royal Dixon, wrote on “Americanisation” (New York, Macm (...)
  • 4 J. Brittain, “The International Diffusion of Electrical Power Technology, 1870-1920”, in journal of (...)

8The many questions mentioned above indicate the need of a definition. In literature various meanings of Americanisation have been employed. They changed over time, reflecting the necessities of research and the questions asked. At the turn of the last century in the USA itself the term was used in the sense of describing the US as the big “melting pot” for different people, which in the end through a process of Americanisation became Americans.3 The understanding was focused on the identity of people, which expresses itself by the ways of feeling, and thinking, and usually non-reflected everyday-actions. Thus the term was applied for the acculturation of immigrants into the US society, in contrast to their previously different behaviour and feeling. At the same time it was applied to express concern with any possible influence of foreign economic power as well. When before the First Word War the British Marconi Ltd. became so strong in the US that some feared it would dominate the market, concern was raised in the US. RCA, the Radio Corporation of America, was founded not only as an economic counter-weight against Marconi but as a channel to introduce American influence and feeling into the sphere of radio transmission.4 Politicians and businessmen were well aware of both, the political and marketing potentials of this new medium and the issue of culture within it.

9In contrast, in this contribution we raise the question of the impact of America on the rest of the world. Outside the US it started already during the second half of the 19th century that Europeans were impressed by an American approach different from theirs. One of the earliest examples we know of happened in France. The newspaper Le Figaro introduced what they called a totally new way of running the newspaper-business. Up to that time the European approach was to rely on freedance journalists. But in the 1880s Le Figaro hired journalists permanently and sent them out on research, as newspapers did in the US. This was not only revolutionary but extremely expensive; only large newspapers could afford the méthode américain. With a previously unknown high amount of investment Le Figaro professionalised and commercialised by taking over American patterns of behaviour. Such professionalisation and commercialisation can be taken as early indicators in the transfer process of Americanisation. Similar to in this case, we look for traces and the amount of American influence outside the US. More precisely, we concentrate on the American impact on transfer of values, behaviour, institutions, technologies, patterns of organisation, symbols and norms that were widespread in the USA to the economic sphere of life in other States. Any study on Americanisation cannot intend to give a general overview on the transfer of economic culture during the 20th century, it has to leave out other movements such as Japanisation, etc. In this respect it concentrates, like most of the studies on technology transfer, on the predominant trend from the generally more advanced to the less advanced one. The reverse case, studies how American firms learned from their European and Japanese competitors (which they actually did), has to corne later, until the main-stream development is established.

10In dealing with Americanisation a couple of methodological questions have to be observed: How is Americanisation to be evaluated? How do we distinguish Americanisation from modernisation? What is the relationship between qualitative and quantitative data?

  • 5 H.G. Schroter, “Perspektiven der Forschung: Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung als Interpretations (...)

11Any Americanisation cannot be understood as an import from the US as an untouched block, but as a national or even regional digestion of American influence.5 Nobody should expect unchanged imports of behaviour from the US. Such imports have always been adapted to the local needs and customs in the process of transfer. American economic culture was sometimes substantially changed through the process of transfer to other nations. Perception, selection and adaptation to specific needs, traditions and circumstances played a crucial role. Perception could deviate from reality in the US, but as long as actors were convinced about their take-over from the US, we may speak of at least a subjective Americanisation. The same applies to the process of selection. In all reflected cases actors selected what they perceived to be the most suitable and/or the most important for a transfer. It could have been only the most suitable but not the most important part of an issue. With a cultural concept such as Americanisation we have to calculate with a certain subjectivity of actors. In our sector, the economy, this subjectivity might have been smaller than e.g. in arts, music, fashion, etc., since business people used to be down-to-earth persons, and they are controlled to some extent by financial success and by other persons sitting in supervisory boards etc., still perception needs not to mirror exactly the reality in the US.

  • 6 M. Kipping, O. Bjarnar (eds.), The Americanisation of European Business. The Marshall Plan and the (...)

12As Matthias Kipping and Ove Bjarnar have shown, any transfers of values does not take place like the import of a piece of machinery.6 There are specific transfer channels, translations and transformations which are part of this process of adaptation. Furthermore, all transfer of culture requires a certain time, proceeds stepwise, is open for a roll-back, etc. We can speak of an Americanisation if local behaviour, rules, values, organisation, etc. have changed into the direction of how such issues have been treated in the US. However, the impact of the US has to be quite clear. Especially after the Second World War most things in the US were modem compared to the rest of the world. The desire to become more competitive and more modem was felt nearly everywhere, and entrepreneurs, politicians, labour unions, etc. acted to achieve these ends. But a substantial part of modernisation cannot be claimed to represent Americanisation, since it may have emerged out of indigenous sources. Very many cases of Americanisation can be understood as modernisation, but not all modernisation should be claimed to have been an Americanisation. To be sure of an Americanisation, we not only need a move by indigenous actors into the direction of US-American patterns, but information on means and forms of USinfluence. To be sure we need information on the process of transfer.

  • 7 M. Kipping, O. Bjarnar, who used this model in their introduction.

13Americanisation is a transfer of institutions, and we need to apply at least the most simple model for a transfer: we have to identify a sender, a way of conduit, and a receiver.7 That is, the respective institution has to be found in the US first, transferred and later established somewhere else. If we cannot show this, we have to be very careful in claiming a move to be a process of Americanisation.

14During certain phases, such as the 1920s, travelling was a main mean of conduit, while during other times other media (booklets, lectures, etc.) became important. Over time there was a growing importance of radio, films, TV and other electronic means. In addition to such direct transfers, indirect ones played a crucial role. The way managers of American firms behaved gave examples of how to manage in a different way. When this was done by an American firm in a foreign direct investment abroad, indigenous managers could see to what extent the different approach worked in their country. As long as they perceived the American way to be superior there was an incentive to learn from the US multinational firms.

  • 8 H.G. Schröter, “Zur Übertragbarkeit sozialhistorischer Konzepte in die Wirtschaftsgeschichte. Ameri (...)
  • 9 K.H. Jarausch, H. Siegrist, “Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung in Deutschland 1945-1970”, in Id. (...)

15For any transfer of institutions, which is, of course, bound to culture, there are preconditions and limits within economic life: consent and understanding. Comparisons of Americanisation and Sovietisation have revealed very different results for the respective institutional transfer. After 1945 the USA and the Soviet Union both tried to export their institutions first to their satellites and later to States in the Third World. While Americanisation showed lasting effects, Sovietisation vanished very quickly and nearly totally after the political influence of the USSR was removed. While Americanisation became deeply rooted, the attempts of Sovietisation resulted in no more than an organisational cover in the economy. Americanisation, like all successful transfer of culture, is bound to consent.8 The perception of the receiving side has to be positive. Transfer means adaptation and change. People adapt and change in the hope to gain something, such as a better economic performance, a larger consent within their group, etc. This can be carried out consciously or not; but if there is no hope for a gain, there is no incentive for a change. Comparisons of Americanisation and Sovietisations showed, organisational patterns can be exported by force, but without consent they are doomed to break down together with the power, which forced the export.9 Furthermore, some of the value of an institution to be transferred must be understood at the receiving side beforehand. This is a precondition for any transfer. If there would be no traces of it, the meaning of the specific American values could not be decoded and prepared for a transfer. In case the receiver has a totally different System of values, any advantages of transfer are not to be understood. Therefore the precondition of Americanisation is a certain amount of similar values at the receiver's side. In this respect Ralf Dahrendorf (see below) was right for the case of Europe in pointing out that Americanisation is a process where values, which originated earlier from Europe, were developed and processed in the US and finally re-imported back into Europe.

16As mentioned before, any transfers of institutions does not take place like the import of a piece of machinery. There are specific transfer channels, translations and transformations which are part and parcel of the process of adaptation. All this makes the concept on the one hand extremely flexible and potentially powerful, but on the other a transfer of economic culture is to be measured and accounted with quantitative methods only in rare cases.

  • 10 H.G. Schröter, “Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung”, p. 154f.
  • 11 There is little apart from H. Fink, Amerikanisierung in der deutschen Wirtschaft: Sprache, Handel, (...)

17Such cases can be imagined. A quantitative survey could be made on the use of meaningful American expressions in an other language. Bourdieu and others have established that the use of expressions reflects general values and the way of thinking. It has been suggested to use linguistic analysis for evidence and, if possible, for quantification of Americanisation.10 Such expressions have to be representative for a new idea, concept or trend in the US. An analysis to what extent such expressions are used in official communication, e.g. in annual reports or press statements, can provide us with information on Americanisation, especially when the analysis comprehends more than one or two decades. However, very little has been done in this field concerning the economy.11

  • 12 R.R. Locke, The Collapse of the American Management, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996.

18Another quantitative survey could be an evaluation when and how many firms implemented American forms of organisation, for which the socalled M-form for internai organisation could serve as an example. Alfred D. Chandler has shown how the multidivisional form (M-form) became the superior type of organisation in the US from the Interwar period onwards. The M-form was taken over in many large European enterprises during the 1970s. The transfer was usually carried out with the help of one of the well-known American consultant firms and became part of the “American management mystique”.12 A survey on how many firms reorganised in this way could provide measurable information on this case of Americanisation. However, it still needs to be done.

  • 13 The Economist, April 29th, 2000, p. 13.

19A purely quantitative comparison remaining at the surface would be misleading, as the following example shows: In 2000 74% of working-age population in the US had a job, the corresponding figure for the Euro-zone was only 64 per cent13. At the first glance a high percentage of paid work seems to be a characteristic of the US. But figures can mislead, in our case a growing rate as such cannot be claimed as Americanisation, since in that case the former socialist States would be more Americanised than Western Europe and the US themselves. They can claim figures up to 90 per cent, since their high rate of employment was inherited from socialism. Just a comparison of phenomena at the surface would be misleading. In all cases we have to corne up with qualitative evidence first before we look for quantitative data in order to sustain qualitative change by figures.

LITERATURE ON AMERICANISATION

  • 14 The most recent and important books dealing with Americanisation of the economy are: D. Barjot, J. (...)

20Several books have been published on various aspects of economic Americanisation; e.g., when Jonathan Zeitlin and Gary Herrigel edited Americanisation and its Limits, they focused on the 1950s, especially on technology and management.14 Matthias Kipping and Ove Bjarnar explored the change in management éducation in The Americanisation of European Business, and in Americanisation of West German Industry Volker Berghahn concentrated on one European state and to a large extent on heavy industry and politics only. Une Américanisation des entreprises?, edited by Eli Moen and Harm G. Schröter, too, picked out single cases of Americanisation, and the volume edited by Dominique Barjot, John Gillingham and Terushi Hara Catching up mth America: Productivity Missions and the Diffusion of American Economic and Technological Influence after the Second World War concentrates on the impact during the 1950s. The most recent book on the topic, edited by Matthias Kipping, Akira Kudo and Harm G. Schrôter, focus on a comparison of parallel cases of Americanisation in Japan and West Germany. Up to now Marie-Laure Djelic's Exporting the American Mode. The Postwar Transformation of European Business represents the only monography. It provides the most comprehensive view, since Djelic applies in her book several known models, such as national Systems of industrial production and Alfred D. Chandler's comparatives on competitive, personal, and co-operative capitalism.

21Up to today many authors, including those in this volume, revealed important cases of Americanisation, but refrained from putting their findings into a wider context of a general and lasting trend of the Americanisation of the economies during the 20th century as a whole. Therefore it is a further task to use the evidence provided by other authors and integrate it into a single concept in order to provide a deeper insight into these manifold, ever changing and partly contradictory processes, which are summarised as Americanisation. The various cases and steps of Americanisation can be understand not only in themselves but even better in the context of each other. Assembled, they represent stones fitting into a large mosaic. If the many independent transfers are put together like single stones of a mosaic, contours of a larger picture emerge, which can not be seen close up. The picture certainly remains unfinished and rather sketchy in various parts, while others even might remain without substantial information since much more needs to be done in this field. But at the same time such an outline gives us a better understanding of a long-term process in the economy during the last century, which, because of its manifold facets on the one hand, and of its slowness on the other, has seldom been understood in its entity.

COMMON ROOTS SHARED BY AMERICANISATION

22Though Americanisation was most widespread during several waves, such as rationalisation, decartelization, new management methods, deregulation, etc., it was not exhausted by them. The transfer of one of these institutions to several nations represents just a case of Americanisation or a single wave of it, but the end of such a specific wave did not stood for the end of Americanisation. This gives the idea that the different waves were not only connected to each other, but that there are some basic and common roots, which every now and then provide new or newly adjusted but distinct American institutions. The idea is, there might be a certain connectedness of the various cases which has not been dealt with up to now.

  • 15 J. Mcgeade, “Américanisation: Ideology or Process? The Case of the United States Technical Assistan (...)
  • 16 H.G. Schröter, “Kartellierung und Dekartellierung 1890-1990”, in Vierteljahrschrift fiir Sozial-und(...)

23Jacqueline McGlade raised part of this question when she suggested to explore the specific American character of Americanisation during the 1950s. According to her this character was “consensus-style politics” which enabled the thrust of the movement immediately after World War II.15 Unfortunately for us, she did not elaborate on this specific question and provided neither evidence nor examples for it. Consensus style politics or not, nobody suggested the existence of a grand design or a comprehensive masterplan, drawn up by the USgovernment, enterprise, foundations and other institutions in order to transfer American values abroad. Ideas of a hegemonic reform imposed by the US on other States occurred only with occupied nations Austria, Germany and Japan after 1945. There direct rule following US-patterns forced e.g. cartels and keiretsu indeed to dissolve. True, the US forced the British and the French administration in Germany to de-cartelise their zones of occupation as well, which was directly against British and French politics.16 But such interventions were not directed against other nations. And even in the States mentioned, such directly administrated intervention was only part of the change which actually took place.

  • 17 M. Klein, “Corning Full Circle: The Study of Big Business since 1950”, in Enterprise & Society; Vol (...)

24In her essay on the development of business history in the US since 1950, Maury Klein highlighted vvhat she called the most basic change taking place after the Second World War: “Finally, business historians have virtually ignored what may be the broadest and most profound movement of this half-century: the amazing irresistible tendency to transform every aspect of American life first into a business and then into a larger business. No institution, activity or value has escaped this relentless organising into some form of commerce. Some of the most obvious examples include the arts, politics, religion, education, sport, sex, entertainment, the family, childhood, and, of course, history”.17

25We have already established that Americanisation was by no means confined the post-war period. But in any case it is worth while to explore the initial idea, how to define the character of Americanisation itself. In trying to identify the roots which generate such institutional change, we found a couple of basic values, assumptions and beliefs which are largely typical for the US. This means, though there were traces of them to be found elsewhere, they were more important and more wide-spread in the USA than in other nations. They include:

  1. a very basic and positive role allocated to the economy in society as well as in life

  2. a (sometimes naive) believe in the abilities of competition, that advantages for single persons will add up to the best for all members of society

  3. a strong feeling for individualism (in contrast to common values)

  4. a trend towards a commercialisation of human relations (in contrast to non-money-related behaviour)

  5. a trend to exchange the traditionally given social bindings and Controls for a contract-and market based bindings of own and deliberate choice.

  • 18 Investment Company Institute, Federal Reserve, quoted by Die Zeit, no 41, October 5, 2000.

26The importance of these five fields of values varied during the last century. Generally they became stronger towards the end of it. They represent the seed-bed for any Americanisation, as well as the different waves of it into other States. The development in these fields meant that the USA themselves became more American during the 20th century. For example at the beginning of it American trade unions were much stronger, whereas at the end their power was comparatively limited. Unions as a form of collective organisation gave way to more individualism. Another example are old-age pensions. Like in other countries, families were less and less able or willing to care for their old people. Collective pension schemes, was one answer in most of the European and Asian States. Their idea was, that the young and active ones pay nation-wide for the upkeep of the retired, regardless of branch of industry. In contrast, occupational pension schemes were much more widespread in the US. Furthermore over time the importance of collective provision fell while the individual one rose. In 1980 6 per cent of American households participated in investmentfonds and 22 per cent in shares. The dates for the year 2000 were 52 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.18 This was a very profound move, Americans changed gradually from salary-earners to stockholders. Parallel they changed their point of view which is reflected in various ways. Information on financial markets became more and more important. In contrast to the 1960s today all TV-or radio news provide it regularly, and the time spend on it is much larger compared to information on employment or innovation in manufacturing. The American century caused an ongoing Americanisation of “America” itself. This is why the USA was able to teach the rest of the world economy not once or twice, but again and again during a whole century. And in the end this is the reason why the topic of Americanisation is exciting: It is not only exploring “the broadest and most profound movement” (Maury Klein), or “the largest and up to date most significant example of global phenomenon...” (Jonathan Zeitlin) of the last century, but it may reach far into ours.

THEORIES TO SUPPORT THE CONCEPT

  • 19 D.C. North, The Process of Economic Change, ms. Helsinki 1997, p. IV.
  • 20 Ibid., p. 2; see D.C. North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge (...)

27In assembling such a mosaic for a better analysis of the long lasting process of Americanisation, Douglas C. North's theory of institutional change can be made useful, since it provides us with reason for change. He expressed: “The main force underlying dynamic economic change is the continuous interaction between institutions and organisations”.19 North distinguishes between organisations, such as States, universities, companies, churches, etc., and institutions which he understands much more comprehensive than organisations: “Institutions are the rules of the game in a society, composed of the formai rules (constitutions, statute and common law, regulations), the informai constraints (norms, conventions and internally devised codes of conduct), and the enforcement characteristics of each. Together they define the way the game is played”.20 This institutional framework provides the incentive structure for actors, since it allocates reward and punishment for all behaviour. North understands economic change as caused by an interplay of institutions, reality and perception: Institutions shape reality. Reality is perceived by actors, which in their turn stepwise may change the institutions of the respective society. Thus development cornes about through interaction of these three fields. North theory provides a framework for interpretation of the specific institutional change called Americanisation, we am looking for.

28Even given the same incentives the resuit of the change might differ from one case to another. Reality is perceived by men; in other words it is filtered and interpreted by actors. Consequently is perception presented by North to be a mental construct. It is the interpretation of reality by a certain group, which might be different from other groups interpretations. Players in different institutional settings will react differently in various societies because the respective cultural heritage of a given society, which is linked to its institutional framework, will force actors to optimise their decisions according to their specific rules. North underlines a strong path-dependency of all institutional change, a path-dependency which reflects differences determined by the respective cultural heritage. Hence, for example, we expect the answers on Americanisation pressure in Sweden to be different from the Italian case.

  • 21 Citation from J. Zeitijn, Introduction, p. 8.

29Perceptions of reality are mental constructs, and mentality is not to be changed over night. Institutional change takes place when actors think or feel they should change, and such processes take time. Some Americans, involved in the organised transfer-processes connected to the Marshall Plan, hoped for substantial changes in Europe during a short period. They became disappointed: “In the end... Western Europe was only 'half-Americanised'”21 and hopes for a total transfer, or as Jacqueline McGlade put it, for a “hegemonic reform” were blurred. These persons should have known better. Because of the character of the process of cultural transfer any hopes for an instant and fundamental change are nothing but hopelessly unrealistic. But the persons mentioned could not know Douglas North's explanations, of course.

30Differences in the processes of Americanisation are to be expected in both, time and mode. Cultural transfers can be done though open discussion and decision making, e.g. in the case of a new law. Alternatively it can be the resuit of an unreflected feeling for a desirability of new preferences, such as the wish by single actors as well as by groups to present themselves as modem and distinguished. Americanisation did take on both forms, the reflected and the unreflected one. Path-dependency represents barriers to all fundamental change, but it does not exclude it.

  • 22 A.D. Chandler jr., Seule and Scope, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Cambridge, CUP, 1990.
  • 23 A. Chandler, F. Amatori, T. Hikino (eds.), Big Business and the Wealth of Nations, Cambridge, CUP, (...)

31While Douglas North provides us with a general theory on why and how things change, Alfred D. Chandler gave reason why it was the USA which developed a convincing economic model for others. He suggested the American way of running a capitalistic economy was superior compared to other modes.22 In his survey of how large firms were organised, governed and set in society, he suggested his three prototypes of “competitive capitalisai”, “personal capitalism”, and “co-operative capitalisai”. He identified them with the USA, the UK and Germany respectively for the period of high industrialisai between about 1850 to 1970. In doing so he bridged the gap between micro-and macroeconomics, showing how profoundly business Systems influenced the development of the society and vice versa. A survey to what extent these prototypes can be found in other industrial nations of the world showed (apart from a certain critique of the concept) that traces of personal capitalism were to be found in Belgium, while most of the other European nations plus Japan and Korea revealed strong signs of the co-operative prototype.23 Their institutional settings were less competitive and thus distinct from the US-type. Chandler and his school showed that together with the distinct types of organisation, different types of incentives, of learning and of capabilities had emerged. In the end, competitive capitalism showed the best performance, and, according to Chandler, this is one of the main reasons why the USA became the leading nation of the world during the 20th century.

  • 24 J.R. Fear, “Constructing Big Business: The Cultural Concept of the Firm”, in Chandler, Amatori, Hik (...)

32In Chandler's approach the organisational capabilities represent the cote of a nations competitive advantage. In the terminology of North's theory they are to be understood as a substantial part of the respective institutional setting. When understood as institutions, Chandler's main resuit — the ultimate importance of organisational and learning capabilities for an economy — can be understood to be valid not only up to the 1970s but until today, as an extension of Chandler's work. The correspondence between Chandlers organisational capabilities and North's institutions can be used in identifying traces of different capitalist types and their modes.24 Such identification is important since with all changes we have to show the “before” and the “afterwards” in order to give evidence to a process of Americanisation.

33Globalisation is an expression which emerged during the 1990s. Some historians think it is just another expression for internationalisation, which, beginning with the discovery of America, speeded up more and more. Others, such as Paul Kennedy, suggested it to be a qualitatively new phenomenon. We will not enter this discussion here; but Americanisation was in any case part of internationalisation, and today it probably is the most important and most dynamic element of the ongoing globalisation.

  • 25 G. Hofstede, Cultures and Organisations. Software of the Mind, Amsterdam, 1991; F. Trompenaars, C. (...)

34Geert Hofstede and others have suggested theories on the transfer of cultures in organisations, mainly in multinational enterprises. Their approaches focuses on stability, resisting pressure in spite of external impact. Their main purpose is to explain the abundance of difficulties in the cross-national management of mne, as long as it is based on different cultures.25 Usually these theories do not reflect general pressure such as Americanisation, and furthermore they keep nations stricdy apart, even when they are known for their similarities. In contrast, studies of Americanisation look for the change in a more or less stable framework. Therefore North's theory on the character of change is more suitable than those on cultural embeddedness, which, of course, can be used as well in special cases.

SWINGS OVER TIME

  • 26 See Moen, Schröter, 1998, p. 7, and P. Lanthier in the volume 2, p. 243-258.

35Americanisation is the pressure exerted by the USA for to change institutions in other States of the world. Like geographical variation over States and regions, we find variation over time. Generally we can see a trend of an growing pressure over the last century, however with substantial swings and even periods of backlash.26 Before 1914 such pressure was felt only in a couple of branches such as the production of watches or bicycles. Rationalisation was the catch-word of a first massive wave for institutional change according to American patterns in the Interwar period. With the world economic crisis starting in 1929 the US-model lost influence abroad. In the following period of the “New Deal” even in America economists, business-and statesmen looked for a remedy in regulation and planning; issues which were rather related to the co-operative type of capitalist development, in contrast to the American competitive one. During the 1930s a way of thinking spread in the USA which can be understood as an Europeanisation. Thus the transfer of economic institutions was no one-way road during the last century, though the flow from the US was much more important than all others. Being the foremost winner of World War II, the US exerted massive pressure during the 1950s which petered out in the 1960s. In the 1970s and 80s rather European and later Japanese patterns were expanding world wide. But from the mid 1980s onwards, together with the IT-revolution, the broad perception of a new economic paradigm (Chicago-School) and the breakdown of socialism, American institutions again were what the world understood as the valid model for economic growth, wealth and power.

  • 27 N. Dewilda, “My Job in Germany, 1945-1955”, in M. Ermarth, p. 178.
  • 28 W.J. Lederer, E. Burdick, The Ugly American, VictorGollantz.Ldt, London, 1959.
  • 29 R. Dahrendorf, Die angewandte Aufklärung, Gesellschaft und Soziologie in Amerika, Munich, 1963, p. (...)
  • 30 Dahrendorf, 1963, p. 224.

36Parallel with Americanisation we find critique and resistance to it which limited its expansion. The connotation of the expression Americanisation differed widely over time and places. Already before the First World War in some of the smaller European States with an exceptionally close relationship to the USA, mainly based on heavy emigration, the pressure of Americanisation was evident. But generally there was nothing particular negative during the 1920s. However, the more the US was able to dominate spheres of interest, critics raised their voices. The shortest turn-around of values took place in Germany, when, during the Soviet blockade of Berlin 1948/49, especially the Americans became friends after having been enemies during the war. In a couple of weeks, according to an US-witness, the “Americans moved from the status of 'lesser of two evils' to somewhat less than angels”.27 In Europe the Marshall Plan and the USguarantee against communism created a lot of goodwill with people and politicians, which opened the doors to Americanisation of various kind. In contrast, business-leaders where not as easily convinced to give up the way they acted before. Elsewhere, especially in Latin America, the picture of the USA was not so positive. Critique spread and in 1959 William Lederer and Eugene Burdick published their best-seller The Ugly American.28 During the following years the critique of Americanisation became even heavier: “Americanisation is like mass and mass-society, often used as a Symbol for 'bad' or 'unsympathetic'”.29 This caused the prominent sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf to intervene. He pointed out that “Americanisation” was not “the penetration of Europe with 'foreign values'”,30 but a return of further developed European ones. He understood such phenomena as mass-culture and mass-consumption as consequences of European developments, which had taken place in the USA first before they entered Europe, simply because the US was the most advanced economy in the world.

  • 31 K.H. Jarausch, H. Siegrist, Amerikanisierung und Sonjetisierung, Vorüberlegungen zur Konferenz am 2 (...)

37While in the following decades with a low degree of Americanisation pressure the open reflection of it was absent, it stood up again during the 1990s. Like in the 1950s connotation became again positive, using key words such as 'modernisation', 'market-liberalism', 'consumers society', 'democratisation', 'entertainment'.31 In the developed states, Americanisation was usually positively understood; in contrast to esp. large parts of the Muslim world, which expressed its reservation, distaste and protest against the pressure of Americanisation to different degrees. All over the world, conservative quarters criticised the process of adaptation of indigenous institutions, their “hybridisation” (Zeitlin), to an American Leitbild. But the promoters of the respective change always were proud in creating something new, whether they did or did not reflect the original American origin of it.

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Barjot D., Gillingham J., Hara T. (eds.) 2002. Catchingup with America: Productivity Missions and the Diffusion of American Economic and Technological Influence after the Second World War, Paris, Presses Université Paris IV.

Berghahn V. 1986. The Americanisation of West German Industry, 1945-1973, New York, Berg.

Bok E. 1921. The Americanisation of Edward Bok: the Autobiography of a Dutch boy fifty years later, New York.

Brittain J. 1974. “The International Diffusion of Electrical Power Technology, 1870-1920”, in journal of Economic History, Vol. 34, p. 108-121.

Chandler A. D. jr. 1990. Seule and Scope, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Cambridge, Cup.

Chandler A., Amatori E, Hikino T. (eds.) 1997. Big Business and the Wealth of Nations, Cambridge, CUP.

Dahrendorf R. 1963. Die angewandte Aufklärung, Gesellschaft und Soziologie in Amerika, Munich, p. 220.

Djelic M.-L. 1998. Exporting the American Model. The Post-war Transformation of European Business, Oxford, OUP.

Fink H. 1995. Amerikanisierung in der deutschen Wirtschaft: Sprache, Handel, Güter und Dienstleistungen, Frankfurt/M, Peter Lang.

Flanzbaum H. 1999. The Americanisation of the Holocaust, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press.

Granovetter M. 1992. “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness”, in Granovetter M., Swedberg R. (eds.), The Sociology of Economic Life, Boulder, Westview Press, p. 53-83.

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Jarausch K. H., Siegrist H. 1995. Amerikanisierung undSowjetisierung, Vorüberlegungen zur Konferenz am 23.-24. Juni 1995, ms, Berlin.

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Kudo A., Kipping M., Schroter H. G. (eds.) 2002. America as a Rejerence? Japanese and German Industry during the Boom Years, Routledge (forthcoming).

Lederer W. J., Burdick E. 1959. The Ugly American, London, Victor Gollantz Ldt,.

Locke R. R. 1996. The Collapse of the American Management, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Moen E., Schröter H. G. (eds.) 1998. “Une Américanisation des entreprises?”, Special number of Entreprise et Histoire, no 19, Paris.

Nolan M. 1994. Visions of Modernity. American Business and the Modernisation of Germany, New York, Oxford University Press.

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Schröter H. G. 1997. “Zur Übertragbarkeit sozialhistorischer Konzepte in die Wirtschaftsgeschichte. Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung in deutschen Betrieben 1945-1975”; in Jarausch K. H., Siegrist H. (eds.), Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung. Eine vergleichende Fragestellung zur deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichte, Frankfurt and New York, Campus, p. 147-165.

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Wagnleitner R. 2000. “Here, Tbere and Everywhere The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture, Hanover, University Press of New England.

Zeitlin J. 2000. “Introduction: Americanisation and its Limits: Reworking US Technology and Management in post-war Europe and Japan”, in Zhitlin J., Herrigel G. (eds.), Americanisation and its Limits, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Notes

1 J. Zeitlin, “Introduction: Americanisation and its Limits: Reworking US Technology and Management in post-war Europe and Japan”, in J. Zeitlin, G. Herrigel (eds.), Americanisation and its Limits, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 2.

2 e.g. R. Wagnleitner, “Here, There and Everywhere”: The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture, Hanover, University Press of New England, 2000, or H. Flanzbaum, The Americanisation of the Holocaust, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1999.

3 e.g. in the series “Our National Problems”, Royal Dixon, wrote on “Americanisation” (New York, Macmillan, 1916); and Edward Bok’s reminiscent thoughts were printed in the 11th edition in 1921 (E. Bok, The Americanisation of Edward Bok: the Autobiography of a Dutch boy fifty years later, New York, 1921).

4 J. Brittain, “The International Diffusion of Electrical Power Technology, 1870-1920”, in journal of Economic History, Vol. 34, 1974, p. 119.

5 H.G. Schroter, “Perspektiven der Forschung: Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung als Interpretationsmuster der Integration in beiden Teilen Deutschlands”, in E. Schremmer, (ed.), Wirtschaftliche und soziale Integration in historischer Sicht, VSWG-Beiheft no 128, Stuttgart 1996, p. 60f.

6 M. Kipping, O. Bjarnar (eds.), The Americanisation of European Business. The Marshall Plan and the Transfer of US Management Models, (Routledge Studies in International Business no 5) London, New York, Routledge, 1998.

7 M. Kipping, O. Bjarnar, who used this model in their introduction.

8 H.G. Schröter, “Zur Übertragbarkeit sozialhistorischer Konzepte in die Wirtschaftsgeschichte. Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung in deutschen Betrieben 1945-1975”, in K.H. Jarausch, H. Siegrist (eds.), Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung. Eine vergleichende Fragestellung zur deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichte, Frankfurt and New York, Campus, 1997, p. 147-165.

9 K.H. Jarausch, H. Siegrist, “Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung in Deutschland 1945-1970”, in Id. (eds.), p. 11-46; H.G. Schrôtkr, “Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung”.

10 H.G. Schröter, “Amerikanisierung und Sowjetisierung”, p. 154f.

11 There is little apart from H. Fink, Amerikanisierung in der deutschen Wirtschaft: Sprache, Handel, Güter und Dienstleistungen, Frankfurt/M, Peter Lang, 1995.

12 R.R. Locke, The Collapse of the American Management, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996.

13 The Economist, April 29th, 2000, p. 13.

14 The most recent and important books dealing with Americanisation of the economy are: D. Barjot, J. Gillingham, T. Hara (eds.), Catching up mth America: Productivity Missions and the Diffusion of American Economic and Technological Influence after the Second World War; Paris, 2002; V. Berghahn, The Americanisation of West German Industry, 1945-1973, Berg, New York, 1986; M.-L. Djelic, Exporting the American Mode!. The Post-war Transformation of European Business, OUP, Oxford, 1998; Kipping, Bjarnar, 1998; A. Kudo, M. Kipping, H.G. Schröter (eds.), America as a Reference? Japanese and German Industry during the Boom Years, London, Routledge, 2002 (forthcoming); E. Moen, H.G. Schrôter (eds.), Une Américanisation des entreprises?, Special number of Entreprise et Histoire, no 19, Paris, 1998; M. Nolan, Visions of Modernity. American Business and the Modernisation of Germany, Oxford University Press, New York, 1994; Zeitlin and Herrigel provide in the introduction the best evaluation of the various approaches possible.

15 J. Mcgeade, “Américanisation: Ideology or Process? The Case of the United States Technical Assistance and Productivity Programme”, in Zeitlin, Herrigel, 2000, p. 53-75, p. 53.

16 H.G. Schröter, “Kartellierung und Dekartellierung 1890-1990”, in Vierteljahrschrift fiir Sozial-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Bd. 81, H. 4.1994, p. 457-493, p. 484f; id., “Cartelization and Decartelization in Europe, 1870-1995: Rise and Decline of an Economic Institution”, in Journal of European Economic History, Vol. 25, 1996, no 1, p. 129-153, p. 142.

17 M. Klein, “Corning Full Circle: The Study of Big Business since 1950”, in Enterprise & Society; Vol. 2, no 3, Sept. 2001, p. 425-460.

18 Investment Company Institute, Federal Reserve, quoted by Die Zeit, no 41, October 5, 2000.

19 D.C. North, The Process of Economic Change, ms. Helsinki 1997, p. IV.

20 Ibid., p. 2; see D.C. North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge, CUP, 1990, p. 3.

21 Citation from J. Zeitijn, Introduction, p. 8.

22 A.D. Chandler jr., Seule and Scope, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Cambridge, CUP, 1990.

23 A. Chandler, F. Amatori, T. Hikino (eds.), Big Business and the Wealth of Nations, Cambridge, CUP, 1997.

24 J.R. Fear, “Constructing Big Business: The Cultural Concept of the Firm”, in Chandler, Amatori, Hikino, 1997, p. 546-574; H.G. Schröter, “Small European Nations and Cooperative Capitalism in the Twentieth Century”, in ibid., p. 176-204.

25 G. Hofstede, Cultures and Organisations. Software of the Mind, Amsterdam, 1991; F. Trompenaars, C. Hampden-Turner, Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Global Business, New York, McGraw Hill, 1998; M. Granovetter, “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness”, in M. Granovetter, R. Swedberg (eds.), The Sociology of Economic Life, Boulder, Westview Press, 1992, p. 53-83.

26 See Moen, Schröter, 1998, p. 7, and P. Lanthier in the volume 2, p. 243-258.

27 N. Dewilda, “My Job in Germany, 1945-1955”, in M. Ermarth, p. 178.

28 W.J. Lederer, E. Burdick, The Ugly American, VictorGollantz.Ldt, London, 1959.

29 R. Dahrendorf, Die angewandte Aufklärung, Gesellschaft und Soziologie in Amerika, Munich, 1963, p. 220.

30 Dahrendorf, 1963, p. 224.

31 K.H. Jarausch, H. Siegrist, Amerikanisierung und Sonjetisierung, Vorüberlegungen zur Konferenz am 23.-24. Juni 1995, ms, Berlin, 1995 p. 1.

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