antimonopoly, European Common Market, Corporate Governance, Economic and Business History, Planning, Public policy and regulation
I am a historian of political economy and international order in Western Europe’s long twentieth century, from the Great Depression of the 1870s-1890s through to our contemporary neoliberal moment. My work examines how the transnational European economy was organized and governed, through the lens of cartel politics and shifting state-industry relationships. Key topics of interest include comparing the post-1918 and post-1945 reconstruction moments, European integration (especially the common market and competition policy), planning and the post-WW2 Keynesian mixed economy.
My dissertation explores the rise and fall of European “cartel capitalism” in the long transwar moment. I argue that a reckoning with the “cartel question” by wide sectors of society (government officials and politicians, economists, legal scholars and war crimes tribunals, wartime resistance fighters, socialists and labour groups, industry and organized consumers) was central to the transformation of European capitalism and global governance from the 1890s through the end of the 1950s. From the downturn of the 1880s and 1890s through the interwar crisis, cartels proliferated across Europe. Nearly all contemporaries viewed cartels positively as the optimal means of organizing markets and stabilizing an increasingly unstable economy, reducing social conflict, managing growing tensions over free trade and protectionism and providing the scaffolding for a more rationalized and unified European economy. After World War II, cartels would suddenly become delegitimized and illegal across the continent, while the European Coal and Steel Community (1951), followed by the European Economic Community (1957) would be founded on the principle of decartelization. It is this great reversal, and all its implications, which my dissertation seeks to grapple with and ultimately explain.