Business History Special Issue on Varieties of Capitalism

26 05 2021

The UK journal Business History recently published a special issue on Varieties of Capitalism. I’ve finally had a chance to take a close look at this really important special issue, which provides some desperately needed historical contextualisation for the Varieties of Capitalism literature. In reading it, I was reminded to two exchanges at conferences. First, I recall a seminar discussion at the BHC in Denver in which we got discussing the Varieties of Capitalism theory with Veronique Pouillard , Richard R. John  and others. We all agreed that the main variants of capitalism discussed by Hall and Soskice and their many followers are much newer than most researchers think. I also recall being at a conference mostly attended by political scientists, sociologists, etc where I astonished other attendees by repeating what Japanese business historians have told me, namely, that in the 1920s Japan was a Liberal Market Economy. That statement blew their minds as it challenged their assumption that national varieties of capitalism are deeply rooted in national political and cultural histories. Personally, I had never been much convinced by the theory that the variant of capitalism in place in a given country had much to do with what had happened many centuries ago as opposed to developments in since the Second Industrial Revolution.

Anyway, congratulations to the team that produced this Special Issue. The editors are Niall G. MacKenzie (Glasgow) ,Andrew Perchard (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University), Christopher Miller (Glasgow) and Neil Forbes (Coventry). Article contributors were Martin Shanahan and Susanna Fellman, María Fernández-Moya and Núria Puig, and Zoi Pittaki, Pasi Nevalainen and Ville Yliasko, Martin Eriksson, Lena Andersson-Skog and Josefin Sabo, and Beatriz Rodriguez-Satizabal, Julie Bower, and Grietjie Verhoef.


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