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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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The Growth and Role of Employers’ Associations in the UK (1916-1945). Comparisons and Contrasts (Philip Ollerenshaw)


139 The Growth and Role of Employers’ Associations in the UK (1916-1945) Comparisons and Contrasts Philip OLLERENSHAW University of the West of England, Bristol 1. The emergence of peak employers’ organisations in UK “Against the iron pressure of economics and modern conditions, the unit is feeble and ineffectual; the group, the society, and the collective effort are authoritative. British manufacturers must be organised, therefore, if they are to hold their own in the world’s markets of today”1. This rationale for collective action was published by the Federation of British Industries (FBI) in 1922, six years after its formation in 1916. The First World War was profound enough in its effects to alter the relationship between capital and labour and between both of these and the state. In UK, increasing state control of the economy, growing trade union density, size and militancy, and great uncertainty about Britain’s place in the post-war world, presented employers with unprecedented challenges. The scale and nature of the conflict would mean correspondingly severe post-war readjustment. During the First World War, and also during the Second one, British employers’ organisations were at least as concerned with post-war reconstruction as they were with the wars themselves. This paper focuses on the growth and role of two peak employers’ organisations, the FBI and the National Confederation of Employers’ Organisations (NCEO) established in 1919, from their inception through to the end of the Second World War. It also considers aspects of the relationship between these organisations and other employer...

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