Abstract: A New Quest for Efficiency: The Postwar Program of the Federation of Swedish Wholesalers
In the mid-1950s the activities of the Federation of Swedish Wholesalers (Sveriges Grossistförbund/SGF) were considered by the Organization for European Economic Cooperation to be among the forerunners in the rationalization of European wholesaling. From the 1940s the SGF developed more systematic policies and activities to promote the rationalization of Swedish wholesaling. One important effort was the formation of the Wholesale Research Institute in 1943. Another was the production and circulation of publications, some aimed at the public, others for internal use, in which measures to promote and implement means to create more efficient and profitable wholesale businesses were discussed. The focus of this essay is an analysis of these publications, which I have labeled "the postwar program" of the SGF. The postwar program will be put into a wider context through a discussion of the general debate on rationalization of the distribution sector and also of the important postwar program of the Swedish Labor Movement, which stressed the need for rationalization of the economy, including arguments for increased government intervention or nationalization in the case of market failures.