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Historical and International Comparison of Business Interest Associations

19th-20th Centuries


Edited By Danièle Fraboulet-Rousselier, Andrea Maria Locatelli and Paolo Tedeschi

This book brings together selected essays on European Business Interest Associations (BIAs) as important components of European social and economic development over the last 150 years. The studies were originally presented at the 2012 World Economic History Congress, organized in association with an international research programme on BIAs in Europe. They adopt a historical research methodology with the aim of updating previous scholarship from within the social sciences; they also look at a number of different European countries, allowing for a comparative approach. They explore the roots and identity of BIAs, analyse their activities and examine their financing sources and strategies. Some essays discuss the decline of the old system of craft guilds and the emergence of new forms of economic organization and representation: new BIAs had to contend with the development of the trade unions and the growth of state economic interventionism and so they progressively increased their activities in order to serve European companies. Other essays present specific national examples of the evolution of BIAs throughout the twentieth century and also look at the development of Eurofederations.


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Preface (Aldo Carera)


9Preface The role of social and economic organisations in contemporary society has been a fundamental issue in the studies promoted by the “Archivio per la storia del movimento sociale cattolico in Italia” since its establish- ment in 1961. During much the same period, the economic historians of the Department of Economic History, Society and Local Sciences “Mario Romani” at the Catholic University of Milan, focused their research on the development of organisations operating in the social and economic system. Mario Romani was a professor of economic history at the Catholic University of Milan and his scientific studies are the cultural references for the work presented here. From the middle of the twentieth century, rather than following the dominant cultural ideologies concerning the Italian economic and social system, Romani in fact criticised the tradi- tional interpretation of Italian economic development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While the mainstream theories of Italian econom- ic development, namely the neoclassical and the Marxist interpretations, were centered on the role of the state, Romani proposed a new theory based on the relationship between social structures and economic factors. So, the analysis of social and economic structures became the key to exploring and defining the relationships between forces in the market economy. For this purpose, Romani identified some relevant research conditions: the existence of a relevant interdependence between the social and the economic factors concerned; the need to consider the social and economic system as a whole; the large amount of time and effort that...

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