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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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Old Believers Communities of the Nineteenth Century as the First Business Interest Associations in Russia (1861-1914) (Valeriy Kerov)


19 Old Believers’ Communities of the Nineteenth Century as the First Business Interest Associations in Russia (1861-1914) Valeriy KEROV Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia - Moscow Introduction It is considered that the active process of foundation of Business Inter- est Associations (hereafter BIAs) in European countries began in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. According to the existing research, the creation of BIAs in significant numbers resulted from the reaction of businessmen to state pressure, the demands of free capitalism and the first workers’ organisa- tions. Facing common difficulties, entrepreneurs banded together to compensate for theit shortcomings1. The Russian situation was different, however. Merchants’ self- management bodies in cities were class organs reduced to philanthropy and class economy. Manufactory and Commercial Councils were no more than state institutions drawing on poor entrepreneurs’ assistance. Coun- cils’ private members were very respectable but deprived of any influence on state economic policy. Any social organisations were prohibited until the First Russian Revolution of 1905-1907. Without the possibility of consolidation or real corporatism, Russian entrepreneurs were unable to resolve their problems in the face of powerful traditional individual corruption. However, BIAs emerged and became highly effective. They carried out the specific functions defined by the religious character of the links between their members. The focus here is on Old Believers’ com- munities. 1 See for example: Bouwens, B., Dankers, J. “Business interest associations: a service to the industry” in Het Bedrijfsleven in Nederland in de...

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