Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Guten Tag, Y'all

Guten Tag, Y'all: Globalization and the South Carolina Piedmont, 1950-2000

Marko Maunula
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 176
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Guten Tag, Y'all
    Book Description:

    Nicknamed "Euroville," Spartanburg, South Carolina, is a home away from home for BMW, Michelin, Ciba-Geigy, and numerous other European corporations. Enriching our understanding of what globalization means to millions of small-town, blue-collar Americans, Guten Tag, Y'all looks at Spartanburg as a model of how determined communities can shape and influence globalization to their benefit-and liking. "South Carolinians in general and Spartans in particular do not believe in revolutions or quick fixes of any sort," writes Marko Maunula. Portraying Spartanburg to be a highly organized, hierarchical community, Maunula shows how it retained much of its preexisting culture and many of its institutions as it transformed itself from a mill town to a global business headquarters. As Maunula discusses such topics as global currency flows, cold war politics, federal trade policies, technological advances, and the decline of the American textile industry, he profiles industrialist Roger Milliken, civic booster Richard E. (Dick) Tukey, and others who successfully "sold" their vision for Spartanburg both abroad and on the home front. Maunula also analyzes the complex cultural give-and-take by which multinational corporations are transformed from alien, nationally identifiable foreign business units into localized conglomerates. Guten Tag, Y'all is a multifaceted, engaging case study of international economic survival and success at the local level.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-3609-1
    Subjects: History, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION To the Souths—Both the New and the Latest
    (pp. 1-10)

    The first, vague idea for this book emerged in July 1991 on my first trip to the United States. While working in my native Finland as a young journalist, I had decided to spend my summer vacation touring the American South. The idea behind the trip was unabashedly romantic, shaped by my long-standing fascination with southern history and culture. I visited such storied places as Memphis and Nashville, Columbia and Atlanta, as well as many smaller towns, determined to find a region that would correspond with the idea of the South that I had soaked up as a teenager by...

  5. CHAPTER ONE A New Game in South Carolina
    (pp. 11-32)

    The cartoon dominating the editorial page of the Spartanburg Herald on June 27, 1945, was especially savvy, reeling readers in with a sports theme starring their home town. The cartoonist had converted the Carolina Piedmont into a massive baseball diamond, a symbolic playing field for the postwar economic forces in the region. The artist had designated Columbia as first base, Charlotte as second, and Asheville as third. Greenville formed home plate. The outfield covered most of the Carolina coast and Piedmont, stretching from the seaports of Charleston and Wilmington toward the greater Winston-Salem tobacco, furniture, and textile manufacturing area. In...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Origins of the Latest South
    (pp. 33-56)

    By the mid-1950s the unwavering optimism in South Carolina and Spartanburg was giving way to something resembling a rapidly worsening case of economic personality disorder. The state continued to enjoy the benefits of the postwar boom, with all indicators and public forums touting the growing progress and prosperity. Beneath the surface, however, vague forebodings were emerging around South Carolina. The intensity of change surrounding their lives disconcerted many South Carolinians, Spartans included.

    The newfound prosperity had not arrived with the promise of security. The traditional bulwarks of the state’s economy and culture—foremost among them, textiles, mill villages, agriculture, and...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Roots of International Recruiting
    (pp. 57-75)

    The first foreign corporations came to Spartanburg relatively quietly in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and by the late 1960s their presence had turned into a major force shaping local culture and economy. The first European companies in Spartanburg were highly specialized textile machinery makers that arrived to serve the region’s dominant industry and corporations. As relatively small operations working in a business-to-business sector, their effect on Spartanburg’s economy remained largely hidden from casual observers. Their arrival, however, created the foundation for the town’s future efforts to recruit foreign corporations.

    As the number of foreign companies started to grow,...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Maturing of Foreign Investment in Spartanburg
    (pp. 76-92)

    As Spartanburg’s international recruiting machine matured, the community became more sensitive to changes in international trade and politics. Developments in global markets, shipments of gold across the Atlantic, international trade, and even European election returns began to influence the economy of the South Carolina Piedmont. Throughout its history Spartanburg, like the rest of South Carolina, had been connected to global markets for raw materials and manufactured goods, but now the relationship was growing more complex. Local understanding of foreign economic policy evolved from concentration on import-export issues to include an interest in global investment flows, changes in the balance of...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Change and Continuity in Spartanburg
    (pp. 93-107)

    On Thursday, July 26, 1979, the front page of the Spartanburg Journal signaled a dramatic end of an era for the community. Richard Ellery Tukey, Spartanburg’s leading recruiter and the ceo of its chamber of commerce, was dead at sixty-one. A rapidly advancing prostate cancer had claimed Tukey’s life the previous day. City officials lowered all the flags on Spartanburg’s public buildings. In front of the Greater Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Office Building, a colorful palette of international flags hung at half-mast, in a telling symbol of both Tukey’s life and death.¹

    After a somewhat restless early career, with...

  10. CONCLUSION Persistence of Place
    (pp. 108-120)

    The growth in Spartanburg was a potentially challenging, even dangerous, development for the county’s boosters and employers. Spartanburg’s economic leadership had approached the growth as it had almost every other aspect of the community’s life: by planning and careful presentation. The town had sought development but not at any price. Spartanburg had witnessed its neighbor and rival, Greenville, grow and bypass Spartanburg in size, with no apparent concern. Spartanburg’s leadership had been content with its own pace of growth, demonstrating no desire to risk its carefully constructed and maintained position with a reckless pursuit of expansion. Growth was good, but...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 121-142)
    (pp. 143-156)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 157-162)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 163-163)