Varieties of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century
Of the world's multiple national variations on a basically capitalist system, the paper compares the century's history of four--the British and American, the two "pioneers" whose institutions and economic behaviour patterns most closely confirm to, and those of Germany and Japan whose institutions most significantly deviate from, the prescriptions of neoclassical textbooks. There is no obvious story of a long and steady process of gradual convergence--capitalist rationality slowly washing out the effects of differing cultural traditions. All four societies have changed in key respects; finance and corporate control structures were arguably more similar in the 1920s than later. By the end of the post-war golden age, there were signs of convergence on similar forms of managerial capitalism. The crucial, and for us unpredictable, question is how far the transition to shareholder capitalism in Britain and America over the last two decades will be duplicated in Germany and Japan. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.
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