Robert E. Gallman is the Kenan Professor of Economics and History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. John Joseph Wallis is associate professor of economics at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The American colonies, however, began their existence as an independent nation in 1781 with no money, no industry, no banks, and deep in debt. The Founding Fathers-particularly Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin-turned to the ideas of Adam Smith to create and jump-start an economic system for America with both immediate and long-sustained results.
This little-known but vital part of U.S. history is now revealed in Roy C. Smith's highly readable new book.
During the past half century, the history of American business became an unusually active and rewarding field of scholarship, partly because of the primacy of postwar American capital, at home and abroad, and the rise of a consumer culture but also because of the theoretical originality of Alfred D. Chandler. In a field long given over to banal company histories and biographies of tycoons, Chandler took the subject seriously enough to ask about the large patterns and causes of corporate success. Chandler and his students found the richest material for theorizing about the course of business history in large companies and their institutional structures and cultures. Meantime, Scranton and others found smaller firms, those specializing in batch work as opposed to mass-produced goods, far closer to the norm and more telling.
Scranton and Fridenson believe that the time has come for a sweeping rethinking of the field, its materials, and the kinds of questions its practitioners should be asking. How can this field develop in an age of global markets, growing information technology, and diminishing resources? A transnational collaboration between two senior scholars, Reimagining Business History offers direction in forty-four short, pithy essays.-- Paul Duguid, University of California, Berkeley
Vividly portraying the struggles, successes, and sacrifices of these unlikely entrepreneurs, From Head Shops to Whole Foods writes a new history of social movements and capitalism by showing how activists embraced small businesses in a way few historians have considered. The book challenges the widespread but mistaken idea that activism and political dissent are inherently antithetical to participation in the marketplace. Joshua Clark Davis uncovers the historical roots of contemporary interest in ethical consumption, social enterprise, buying local, and mission-driven business, while also showing how today’s companies have adopted the language—but not often the mission—of liberation and social change.