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Business Elites and International Organisations in the Twentieth Century

Research Seminar

Organised by Prof Youssef Cassis and Dr Madeleine Dungy (Max Weber Fellow) 
Registration code: HEC-RS-BUSIN-17
Block Seminar: from 5 to 7 March 2018, Sala Triaria (Villa Schifanoia)

Admin. Assistant: Miriam Curci


Seminar description

This Research Seminar will be in the form of a block seminar taking place over three days. It will reflect on the multifarious relationships between business elites and international organisations (power, influence, expertise) from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. Business elites will be understood as comprising both individuals and groups, including firms, active at national, regional (especially European) and global levels. Discussions will take into consideration a wide range of international organisation, including supra-national governmental organisations such as the League of Nations, or the European Union; international cartels, international pressure groups; international conferences; and others. Particular attention will be paid to three major issues: problems of legitimacy in international economic governance; international responses to major crises; elite culture and international cooperation in different institutional contexts.



5 March 2018

Session 1 (9:30-11:15): Business Elites, Economic Expertise, and International Political Authority

  • Michele d’Alessandro, Global Economic Governance and the Private Sector: The League of Nations’ Experiment in the 1920s,” in Christof Dejung and Niels Petersson (eds.), The Foundations of Worldwide Economic Integration: Power, Institutions, and Global Markets, 1859-1930, Oxford, 2013 (pp. 249-270).

Session 2 (11:30-13:15):  Financial Elites and the Attempts of Monetary Policy Cooperation during the Interwar Years. The Italian Case

Guest Speaker: Giuseppe Telesca

  • Stephen Schuker, ‘Money doctors between the wars. The competition between central banks, private financial advisers, and multilateral agencies 1919-1939’, in Marc Flandreau (ed.), Money Doctors: The Experience of International Financial Advising 1850-2000, London-New York, 2003.
  • Marco Bertilorenzi and Giuseppe Telesca, ‘The changing ideas about valuation mechanisms in the interwar period: Toepliz, Marlio and the “Great Transformation”’, in Gregoire Mallard and Jérôme Sgard (eds.), Contractual Knowledge. One Hundred Years of Legal Experimentation in Global Market, Cambridge, 2016, pp. 249-264.

Session 3 (14:30-16:15): OPEC:  Politics vs. Business in the Evolution of an International Organisation

Guest Speaker: Giuliano Garavini (NYU Abu Dhabi and EUI)

  • Bernard Mommer, Global Oil and the Nation State, Oxford, 2002 (pp. 108-150).


6 March 2018

Session 4 (9:30-11:15): Big Business, Big Personalities and the European Union

Guest Speaker: Grace Ballor (University of California)

  • Berend, Ivan. The History of European Integration: A New Perspective. London, Routledge, 2016. Chapters 4 & 5: (Pp 134-166, 173-199).
  • Green Cowles, Maria. “Setting the Agenda for a New Europe: The ERT and EC 1992,” Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 33, no. 4 (Dec. 1995). Pp. 501-526.

Session 5 (11:30-13:15): Peak-Level Business Organizations and Transnational Business Networks in the context of European Integration

Guest Speakers: Christos Tsakas (Max Weber Fellow, EUI)

  • N. Rollings, British Business in the Formative Years of European integration, Cambridge,2007, (Introduction, pp. 1-13).
  • W. Bührer and L. Warlouzet, "Regulating Markets: Peak Business Associations and the Origins of European Competition Policy", in W. Kaiser, J.-H. Meyer (eds.), Societal Actors in European Integration. Polity-Building and Policy Making 1958-1992, Palgrave Macmillan 2013 (pp. 59-83).
  • S.M. Ramirez Perez, "The European Committee for Economic and Social Progress: Business Networks between Atlantic and European Communities", in W. Kaiser, B. Leucht and M. Gehler (eds.), Transnational Networks in Regional Integration. Governing Europe 1945-83, Palgrave Macmillan 2010 (pp. 61-84).

Session 6 (14:30-16:15): Communism does business: COMECON between cooperation and confrontation

Guest Speakers: Pavel Szobi, Elitza Stanoeva and Maximilian Graf (PanEur1970s Research Associates, EUI)

  • Suvi Kansikas, “Room to manoeuvre: National interests and coalition-building in the CMEA, 1969-74” in Sari Autio-Sarasmo and Katalin Miklóssy eds., Reassessing Cold War Europe (Abingdon: Routledge, 2011), 193-209. 
  • Angela Romano, “Untying Cold War knots: The EEC and Eastern Europe in the long 1970s” Cold War History (May 2013), 153-173
  • David R. Stone, “Council for Mutual Economic Assistance,” in Ruud van Dijk (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Cold War (New York: Routledge, 2008), vol. 1, 200-201. [a short introduction to COMECON]


7 March 2018

Session 7 (9:30-11:15): Business Elites, World War, and International Organization

  • Patricia Clavin, "The Austrian hunger crisis and the genesis of international organization after the First World War," International Affairs (2014)90 (2), pp. 265-278.
  • Charlie Whitham, “The Committee for Economic Development, Foreign Trade and the Rise of American Corporate Liberalism, 1942–8” Journal of Contemporary History, (2013) 48 (4), pp. 845-871.

Session 8 (11:30-13:15): Bankers, financial crises and international cooperation

  • Youssef Cassis, Crises and Opportunities. The Shaping of Modern Finance, Oxford, 2011, pp. 113-130.

Session 9 (14:30-16:15): Business Elites and the Rise of Global Governance

Guest Sepaker: Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (University of Glasgow and Jean Mnnet Fellow, EUI) 

  • Dino Knudsen, The Trilateral Commission and Global Governance: Informal Elite Diplomacy, 1972-1992, Routledge, 2017 (Introduction).
  • Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol “Less than a permanent secretariat, more than an ad-hoc preparatory group: a prosopography of the G7 personal representatives, 1975-1991,” in Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol and Federico Romero (eds.), International Summitry and Global Governance: the Rise of the European Council and the G7 (Abingdon: Routledge), 64-91 (+ introduction and conclusion of the book).

Page last updated on 25 January 2018

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