Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World

Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World

by Wyatt Wells

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Today antitrust law shapes the policy of almost every large company, no matter where headquartered. But this wasn't always the case. Before World War II, the laws of most industrial countries tolerated and even encouraged cartels, whereas American statutes banned them. In the wake of World War II, the United States devoted considerable resources to building a liberal economic order, which Washington believed was necessary to preserving not only prosperity but also peace after the war. Antitrust was a cornerstone of that policy. This fascinating book shows how the United States sought to impose—and with what results—its antitrust policy on other nations, especially in Europe and Japan.

Wyatt Wells chronicles how the attack on cartels and monopoly abroad affected everything from energy policy and trade negotiations to the occupation of Germany and Japan. He shows how a small group of zealots led by Thurman Arnold, who became head of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in 1938, targeted cartels and large companies throughout the world: IG Farben of Germany, Mitsui and Mitsubishi of Japan, Imperial Chemical Industries of Britain, Philips of the Netherlands, DuPont and General Electric of the United States, and more. Wells brilliantly shows how subsequently, the architects of the postwar economy—notably Lucius Clay, John McCloy, William Clayton, Jean Monnet, and Ludwig Erhard—uncoupled political ideology from antitrust policy, transforming Arnold's effort into a means to promote business efficiency and encourage competition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231502733
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 12/26/2001
Series: Columbia Studies in Contemporary American History
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 16 MB
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About the Author

Wyatt Wells is associate professor of history at Auburn University at Montgomery. He is the author of Economist in an Uncertain World: Arthur F. Burns and the Federal Reserve, 1970-1978.

Table of Contents

1. The Cartel Ideal
2. The Context of Antitrust
3. Reform versus Mobilization
4. Making the World Safe for Competition
5. Among Unbelievers: Antitrust in Germany and Japan
6. The New Order in Practice: The Cases of Oil and Steel
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What People are Saying About This

Donald T. Critchlow

A rich sweeping history of the cartel problem.... A first-rate book that will be of interest to policymakers, scholars, and business leaders as they enter into the global economy in the twenty-first century.

Donald T. Critchlow, editor, Journal of Policy History

Tom Schwartz

This book is essential reading for those interested in how the United States sought to transform the international economy in its own image, a mission whose impact still reverberates in today's world.

Tom Schwartz, Vanderbilt University

Thomas McCraw

With style and verve, Wells sheds much-needed light on a murky, widely misunderstood, but vital subject. With an insight and thoroughness seldom encountered in histories of international cartels, he probes the underlying logic that led to their creation and persistence. This is a book that will become the standard in its field.

Thomas McCraw, Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration

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