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The Challenges of Globalization

The Challenges of Globalization: Economy and Politics in Germany, 1860-1914

Cornelius Torp
Translated by Alex Skinner
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 388
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  • Book Info
    The Challenges of Globalization
    Book Description:

    In the mid nineteenth century a process began that appears, from a present-day perspective, to have been the first wave of economic globalization. Within a few decades global economic integration reached a level that equaled, and in some respects surpassed, that of the present day. This book describes the interpenetration of the German economy with an emerging global economy before the First World War, while also demonstrating the huge challenge posed by globalization to the society and politics of the German Empire. The stakes for both the winners and losers of the intensifying world market played a major role in dividing German society into camps with conflicting socio-economic priorities. As foreign trade policy moved into the center stage of political debates, the German government found it increasingly difficult to pursue a successful policy that avoided harming German exports and consumer interests while also seeking to placate a growing protectionist movement.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-503-5
    Subjects: History, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. x-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Today, globalization is commonly regarded as ‘the leitmotif of our age’.¹ Both its emphatic supporters and vehement critics tend to underline its novelty. They see globalization as the symbol of the present era, an ‘invention’ of the late twentieth century. But globalization has a history. Admittedly, when this history began is subject to dispute. Some historians believe they can trace the beginnings of global contacts and networks far back into the pre-Christian era.² A significantly larger group, influenced by Immanuel Wallerstein and Fernand Braudel, date the beginning of globalization to the early sixteenth century. From this perspective, the discovery of...

  7. CHAPTER 1 The German Empire in the World Economy before 1914
    (pp. 13-67)

    On the eve of the First World War liberal economist Paul Arndt summed up the effects of Germany’s integration into the world economy:

    The impact of global trade and commerce extends to the smallest German cottage.Products from almost every country in the world are to be found in the most modest of households. If we take a cursory glance at our everyday surroundings, at every turn we see objects whose origins lie entirely or partly in other countries. Even in the homes of the less well-off we find bread from Russian, Romanian, North American, Argentinian or Indian wheat, eggs...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Foreign Trade Policy in the Free Trade Era
    (pp. 68-88)

    The trade treaty between the U.K. and France named after British free trader Richard Cobden ushered in the age of free trade in Europe. After the signing of this treaty in 1860, almost all European countries concluded treaties with one another within just a few years, transforming Europe into a zone of relative free trade within a breathtakingly short period. One hundred years before the Treaties of Rome, there emerged something like a common European market. What had happened? On the initiative of Cobden and his French counterpart Michel Chevalier, a French economist and member of the Conseil d’Etat, intensive...

  9. CHAPTER 3 The Shift towards Protectionism
    (pp. 89-113)

    By the mid-1870s the winds of trade policy had already begun to blow in a new direction. In 1879, just two years after the abolition of iron tariffs, the Reichstag approved a comprehensive package of industrial and agricultural tariffs, though this was merely the prelude to the increasingly protectionist legislation of the 1880s. The protectionist turn of 1879 has attracted a lot of attention. In political economy, like Peel’s repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, it forms part of the standard repertoire of prominent historical examples repeatedly used to illustrate and empirically verify explanatory theories.¹ For many historians it...

  10. CHAPTER 4 The Caprivi Trade Treaties
    (pp. 114-138)

    Following Bismarck’s departure the approach to trade policy changed once again. New imperial chancellor Leo von Caprivi broke with the autonomous tariff policy and concluded a series of trade treaties that laid down the German Empire’s approach to tariffs over the long term, namely, a twelve-year period. Agreements were reached with Austria-Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium in 1891 and with Serbia, Romania and Russia in 1893/94.¹ Every treaty followed the same principle: the German Empire reduced agricultural tariffs, with tariffs on breadstufs (wheat and rye), for example, falling from 50 to 35 marks per tonne. In return the treaty partners...

  11. CHAPTER 5 The Conflict over the Bülow Tariff: The Genesis of the Customs Tariff Reform of 1902
    (pp. 139-202)

    At the turn of the twentieth century, the political conflict over the question of which tariff and trade policy the German Empire should pursue in response to advancing globalization reached a new peak. No sooner had the Caprivi treaties come into force than the agricultural protectionist groups began to push furiously for their revision, engaging in an unprecedented campaign of agitation to this end. In response, by early 1895, the emperor had already tasked Chlodwig von Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, who had just taken office after the fall of Caprivi, with ‘putting together a programme acceptable to the agrarians’.¹ Though the Caprivi ,...

  12. CHAPTER 6 German Trade Policy after the Turn of the Century: A Two-Country Study
    (pp. 203-251)

    The Bülow tariff of 1902, which came into being amid intense political struggles, merely provided the legal foundation for German trade policy up until the First World War. Only the practice of bilateral trade policy relations could show whether its critics were right to claim that the increased agricultural duties it contained were obstacles to the conclusion of new, long-term, comprehensive tariff treaties and thus to the continuation of Caprivi’s trade treaty policy. The Caprivi treaties, concluded in the early 1890s, expired at the end of 1903. Immediately after the adoption of the new customs tariff, therefore, trade treaty negotiations...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 252-264)

    In the mid-nineteenth century a process began that we might describe, from a modern-day perspective, as the first wave of economic globalization. Facilitated and propelled by the concurrent revolution in transport and communication systems, within just a few decades global economic integration reached a level approaching, and in some cases surpassing, that of the present day. As evident in the convergence of international commodity and factor prices, on the cusp of the twentieth century a functioning world market had come into being, and this was reflected in world trade, the expansion of international capital mobility and the rise of mass...

  14. Appendix
    (pp. 265-274)
  15. Endnotes
    (pp. 275-326)
  16. Sources and Bibliography
    (pp. 327-364)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 365-371)
  18. Name Index
    (pp. 372-375)