The international brokers of the Wealthy II

Multinational companies are central players in the global redistribution of wealth. The business leaders at the head of these companies organized not only on the domestic level, but also internationally, driven by the imperatives of profit maximization and competition. These transnational business networks form a central nexus of global power relations.

The two panels “The international brokers of the Wealthy I and II” aim at investigating the different forms this worldwide business advocacy took in the 20th century. While national business networks have received some attention by historical research in recent years, their transnational counterparts remain a little-known aspect of the global economy. New scholarship is now shedding light on international business associations such as the International Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD or on the way different domestically organized business communities collaborate. Business associations founded either in relation to the process of European integration or within specific industries, such as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations, represent additional facets of these global business interactions.

The different contributors to these panels investigate specific types of business advocacy, such as international business interest associations, family networks, informal clubs as well as networks among boards of directors, and explore their role in the worldwide redistribution of wealth and power. We will address such questions as: What were the dynamics of international business networks? How did competing interests collaborate? What was the impact of specific events, such as wars or revolutions, on these networks? Were these networks centered in the same regions (Europe and North America) or were some more global in scope? What was their contribution to the different waves of globalization during the 20th century? What was the role of specific industries or business sectors, such as the financial sector?

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